The number of youth offenders in the East Riding of Yorkshire entering the justice system for the first time has dropped dramatically over the last decade, new figures reveal.
The Criminal Bar Association says that young people accused of serious crimes are “leaping at the offer” of informal resolutions for their offences.
Ministry of Justice Data shows that 56 under-18 first-time offenders were convicted in the East Riding in 2018-19.
A decade before, the figure was 487 – meaning a drop of 89%.
The Criminal Bar Association said that a major reason for the sharp fall in youth prosecutions is the increased use of police community resolution orders.
The association’s chairman, Chris Henley QC, said: “It’s unsurprising offenders arrested for serious crime leap at the offer of an informal community resolution order.
“Sadly, this is all about a lack of resources. The number of community resolution orders issued in serious cases has increased significantly as funding has fallen dramatically.”
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said efforts to rehabilitate low-risk young offenders in the community had caused a 70% drop in the number of children in custody.
He added: “But this Government is serious about sending people to prison who need to be there to punish them for their actions and protect the public.
“That is why we are urgently taking action to improve and modernise our Victorian jails.”