Re-offending project to be taken out of council hands
A PROJECT aimed at reducing re-offending amongst 18-25 year olds in Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil will be taken out of council hands next year.
The Divert 18-25 project will no longer be co-ordinated by the council after March next year following the South Wales police and crime commissioner decision to transfer it to either the third sector or private sector.
The project is fully funded by the commissioner but currently managed by RCT’s community safety team across the Cwm Taf area.
It was launched in April 2016 with two RCT council employed co-ordinators working across Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil focusing on first time offenders.
Members of RCT council’s public services delivery, communities and prosperity crime and disorder committee heard that there is strong evidence nationally that 1825 year olds are responsible a disproportionate amount of crime.
But Gary Black, the community safety manager at Rhondda Cynon Taf council, told the comittee that from April next year the service will be provided across the South Wales and Gwent force areas by a third sector or private company.
Councillor Steven Bradwick, the chairman of the committee, suggested that they write to the police and crime commissioner about the decision.
Cabinet member for stronger communities, well-being and cultural services Councillor Rhys Lewis was in attendance at the meeting and offered to write to Alun Michael urging him to rethink the move adding that he suspected the decision was a financial one.
Research for the project back in 2014 into the 29 per cent of all detected offences committed were committed by the 18-25 age group.
The scheme is open to those aged 18-25, resident of RCT or Merthyr, on a first or low level offence who’ve admitted guilt or with no previous referral to Divert.
There is a voluntary referral at the point of custody and, after assessment, the young person takes part in workshops to educate them about the consequences of crime.
If they successfully complete this, they get an “out of court disposal” for their offences.
During the first two years of implementation 2016/17 and 2017/18, 194 young adults were accepted onto the project at the point of assessment, with 36 workshops being held.