The Magistrate, Ian Le Marquand, says that despite good progress made following the Kathie Bull Report on children with emotional and behavioural problems, more needs to be done to ensure that youth crime can be dealt with properly.He said that while offenders under 15 could be fined, bound over or placed on probation, the lack of custodial options meant that as soon as they were sentenced, the youths were free to commit more crimes.’This is not just an issue of protecting the public, although I have to say that this is my primary concern,’ said Mr Le Marquand.’You cannot do effective and continuous work with them because they constantly move about.
They are likely to be charged, remanded at Greenfields for a time – and then when we sentence them we let them out.’It is not just a negative thing.
The longer youngsters go on in this cycle of wrongdoing the harder it is for them to break free of that cycle.’We have been struggling with this inadequate situation for more than two years,’ said Mr Le Marquand.
‘We spent a whole year waiting for the Kathie Bull Report to come out and a year for implementation, and at this stage I am still waiting for a response from the three committees as to what they are going to do about it.’There is an issue about what is needed in the short term and the position I am maintaining is that in addition to the long term arrangements which will include newly constructed buildings we have got a short term need.
We cannot simply stay as we are for the next two years or however long it will take.’