Number of Doncaster children entering the criminal system for the first time is 'falling'

HMP & YOI Marshgate in Doncaster. Picture: Marie Caley
HMP & YOI Marshgate in Doncaster. Picture: Marie Caley

Doncaster has one of the fastest falling rates of children coming through the courts and prison systems for the first time, documents show.

The number of 'First Time Entrants' (FTEs) coming through the judicial system has reduced by more than half in four years, according to data released by Doncaster Children's Services Trust.

During 2013/2014, there were 674 children who ended up in court charged with a criminal offence for the first time. But latest figures for 2016/2017 show a decrease to 307.

The news has been welcomed by children's bosses as Doncaster had the fifth highest FTE rate in England back in 2015/2016.

Across the country, Surrey had the lowest number of FTEs at 100 while data from Lambeth Council in London shows they had 690 children entering the judicial system for the first time.

The report, which will be discussed at a Overview & Scrutiny Management meeting on Thursday, shows the number of Doncaster's 10-17 year-olds in custody has fallen sharply.

Stats show Doncaster had 0.38 children per 1,000 in prison in 2016 which fell to 0.18 a year later.

The Trust had contributions totalling £1.8 million in 2017/2018 including £833,541 from Doncaster Council.

Andy Hood senior head of targeted youth support services at DCST, said: "In the past year fewer children than ever before have entered the criminal justice system. Those that have entered the criminal justice system have re-offended less frequently than comparative areas and fewer children than ever have received custodial sentences.

"Whilst according to the latest data the number of First Time Entrants has reduced by 45 per cent compared to the same period the previous year, Doncaster’s rate can still improve further.

"Preventing offending and criminalisation is integral to our shared vision of Doncaster becoming the best place to grow up in Yorkshire. Doncaster Children’s Services Trust and its partners are keen to ensure that Doncaster becomes and remains a positive place to live, a place where young people are safe, nurtured, healthy, achieving, active, respected, responsible and included."