A NEW project will target youngsters likely to get into trouble in a bid to cut down on youth crime.
Kirklees is one of 52 councils in the country to receive £250,000 each for the Challenge and Support project, which aims to deal with ‘at risk’ youngsters who cause trouble.
They will be offered help and support to get back on the right track at an early stage when they begin to misbehave..
Kirklees had to make a bid to the Government for the money and was successful.
Clr Khizar Iqbal, chairman of the Kirklees Safer Stronger Communities Partnership, said: “The vast majority of young people in our communities behave well and make a positive contribution.
“For the small minority who disrupt residents’ quality of life action must be taken.
“We take tough enforcement measures where appropriate. But we also recognise that intervening early to stop problems from escalating is crucial and this funding will help us do that.”
From September young people in Kirklees who commit anti-social behaviour or who are at risk of causing it will have to take part in the early intervention scheme.
Youth workers will be trained to look for danger signs, such as truancy, challenging behaviour in school or getting into trouble with the police.
Those who persistently offend will be offered help, such as drug or alcohol counselling and treatment.
Supervision orders could also be put in place to tackle aggressive behaviour.
By working with schools, police and youth workers the at risk youngsters would have to demonstrate improvements in their behaviour over a period of time.
If they failed to accept the support they could be referred to magistrates’ court for non-compliance.
Bill Swap, co-ordinator for the Kirklees Anti-Social Behaviour Unit, said: “There has always been a strong emphasis in Kirklees on effective preventative and early intervention measures, rather than going straight to the legislative process.
“This project will enable us to build on that existing good work and the strong multi-agency working already under way, including sharing information, training and communication between the unit and all supporting agencies.”
Kirklees chiefs say the project will help to build community confidence, encouraging people to report incidents.
The project will run until 2011.
Beverley Hughes, Minister for Children, Young People and Families, is spearheading the project.
She said: “We know that tough enforcement is important in challenging the bad behaviour of a minority of young people.
“But we also know that should be followed with support to tackle the underlying problems.
“These projects are a real opportunity for local areas to turn around the lives of the most vulnerable young people and, in doing so, make the community safer too.
“Kirklees’ winning bid will mean that agencies will be able to further build on their successes in using parenting orders and other early intervention methods to prevent the bad behaviour of some young people from taking place in the first instance.”