Herts Police and Crime Commissioner calls for devolution of Youth Justice to PCCs
David Lloyd, Hertfordshire’s first Police and Crime Commissioner welcomed the Justice Committee report on youth justice and proposed that local commissioners could provide the key to cracking down on crime and turning around the lives of young people.

The Justice Select Committee will publish its report on the youth justice system on Thursday, claiming the youth justice system is failing vulnerable young people, particularly those in care. It also notes that the huge £246m youth custody bill could be better spent if it were subject to local control.

Mr Lloyd’s contention is that local Police and Crime Commissioners would be better placed to manage youth justice services which are currently overseen, far from the action, by the central Youth Justice Board. Many of the committee’s recommendations are for local action; the Commissioner suggests that leadership should be localised as well.

Mr Lloyd said “the Youth Justice Board’s role was vital in the early days of multi-agency work on youth crime. Now that youth offending teams are firmly established, the time is right to loosen the grip that central government exerts over local leaders. With the advent of Police and Crime Commissioners we have a new opportunity to cut through the bureaucracy and put the public in the driving seat”.

Police and Crime Commissioners and their Criminal Justice partners, including those involved in youth crime, are subject to duties to cooperate. Home Office and Ministry of Justice Ministers have long said that wider justice responsibilities could be delegated to Police and Crime Commissioners, once the roles were established in local areas.

Mr Lloyd is impatient to see the potential of the new local leadership role realised. He said “I don’t want to see a loss of nerve or of the momentum around the localisation of control and commissioning which was signalled by the move to localise victim support services by 2014. It is all part of devolving power and decision making to the most local level possible.”
  1. The Justice Committee’s recommendations include:
  2. Devolving the custody budget to enable investment in effective alternatives
  3. More action to reduce the number of young people who breach community sentences.
  4. Developing strategies to tackle low level incidents in children’s homes, proportionately
  5. More and better co-ordinated support for looked after children and care leavers in custody