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To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on knife-related offences of the reduction in funding for the work of youth offending teams from £145 million in 2010 to £71.5 million in 2019.
Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) play an important role in preventing offending and reoffending by children. The funding for YOTs provided through the Youth Justice Board’s annual grant has reduced by around a half since 2009/10 from £145m to £71.6m in 2018/19. Alongside this, the numbers of first time entrants (FTEs) into the youth justice system has decreased by 77% between 2009/10 and 2017/18 and 86% in the last decade, and while FTEs declined by 14% between 2016/17 and 2017/18 the YOT grant was maintained at the same level as the previous year. The YOT grant on average makes up just less than a third of the funding YOTs receive, with the majority coming from local authorities and partner agencies based on their local assessment of the needs of their area.
Where a young person has been convicted of a knife crime YOTs will assess their needs and put in place a plan to prevent further offending. However, it is key for all agencies to work together to tackle knife crime. Last week the Chancellor announced that further funding of £100 million would be immediately available to police forces to address knife and violent crime in the worst affected areas in England and Wales. This new funding will enable police forces to have more officers available build capacity to prevent and respond to knife crime or patrol in communities. This is addition to the £200 million Youth Endowment Fund announced by the Home Secretary last October which will be delivered over the next 10 years, targeting those children most at risk of becoming involved in serious violence and focussing on early intervention and prevention.