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Youth Justice Board and police commissioners share data tool

13/09/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Youth Justice Board (YJB) and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) have reached an agreement on sharing data on the ethnicity of children in the youth justice system.

Police officers with schoolgirl

The YJB has given APCC access to its ‘summary disproportionality tool’, an Excel spreadsheet with the relevant information, to enable police and crime commissioners (PCCs) to analyse cohorts of children in their areas and look for disparities.

The board said this will help commissioners better understand local issues and concerns, saying the tool could be used to target funding initiatives and support the work of crime reduction boards.

Norfolk PCC Giles Orpen-Smellie said: “Ensuring that all children are treated fairly by the criminal justice system must without question be a priority for all agencies who work in this area. My team has been able to use the disproportionality tool and data to produce a report on ethnic disproportionality in the youth justice system in Norfolk and shared this report with our local youth offending team (YOT).

“In turn, the YOT have used this data to make a series of recommendations for the future, including upskilling staff in identifying and eliminating bias, the establishment of a multi-agency group responsible for developing a local joint disparity protocol and continuing to collect and analyse data to understand where disparity is occurring.

“My office will also continue to use the tool and similar data sources when designing future youth interventions.”

Audit findings

The JYB said the agreement has come partly in response to the Young Review audit of police and crime plans that noted how many made no explicit reference to race equality and improving outcomes for ethnic minorities.

Merseyside PCC Emily Spurrell said: “Understanding disparities in the criminal justice system is crucial if we are to ensure we have fair and efficient processes and to help restore confidence and faith in the system. Historically this has been hard to do due to inconsistent recording across all the agencies.

“The Youth Justice Board’s disproportionality tool is a helpful and effective way to review the data specifically in relation to young people who become involved in our criminal justice system. It will enable us to identify potential issues and ensure we can take action if there are any concerns that young people from specific communities are over-represented.”

Representatives from PCCs attended a training session on the summary tool in April.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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