The Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner has given assurance that funding for youth offending prevention is safe so long as he remains in office.
Dafydd Llywelyn was speaking to members of the Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Panel, whose role it is to scrutinise the office of the commissioner and hold him to account.
Panel member for Ceredigion, Cllr Keith Evans, questioned Mr Llywelyn after seeing a Ministry of Justice report that claimed the number of young people being found guilty of offences in Ceredigion has reduced by 75 per cent in the last 12 years.
Whilst welcoming the figures, Cllr Evans expressed concern that this may lead to a reduction in funding for schemes that support young people and prevent crime.
But the commissioner said he felt this area of work was vitally important, and that the reduction was down to a number of factors, including school-based work and restorative justice.
“The trend that we’ve seen for a decade or so is consistent across all counties in Dyfed Powys,” he said. “We’ve been very successful in terms of youth organisations that are active.
“It’s a little more complex because in terms of the figure you refer to, that is the people that are guilty of offences. There is a restorative justice process, and the School Beat project has a policy to deal with things specifically in the school.
“In Aberystywth, where there is anti-social behaviour and low-level misbehaviour, they give out of court disposals to these people to ensure that young people don’t go through the justice process and become stigmatised.”
He added: “Reports published by the Ministry of Justice in January this year, talked of a reduction of 85 per cent over the last 10 years. I believe that’s a result of investment that has come from Welsh Government funding, local authorities and my office. In my view now is not the time to reduce that funding or withdraw it – it’s a vitally important investment. There is continued commitment for the funding during my term in office.”
The Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Panel is made up of representatives of the four counties in the force area, plus two independent members.
Members of the public can attend meetings and ask questions to the commissioner via the panel.