The police chief says providing opportunities for young people is an investment in future crime prevention, adding: “It’s shameful that North East children have access to half as many youth clubs as rich kids in the South”.
Ms McGuinness’ comments came after a report by the National Youth Agency found that young people in England’s 10% most deprived areas have half as much access to youth services as those in the 10% of the most affluent postcodes.
The Police and Crime Commissioner said: “It really shouldn’t matter where you live but it clearly does. It beggars belief that the areas that need youth services the most are being deprived of them.
“There will be consequences to ignoring this in the future. We don’t want kids hanging around on the Metro causing antisocial behaviour or setting bins on fires – so let’s give them places to hang out, things to do.”
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The Commissioner continued: “We have some shameful levels of poverty in our area and a shameful lack of youth services to match. Fewer youth services means young people in deprived areas are far more likely to get caught up in crime and preyed upon by criminals who draw them into crime.
“Tackling all of these issues has to start with children and young people and it begins with investing in prevention.
"We have to fight poverty to fight crime.”