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Latest figures from the Ministry of Justice released this week reveal that the number of first-time young offenders has continued to fall, according to data drawn from 2014.

2014 saw a 10.7 per cent drop in the number of recorded first-time offenders at 21,016 compared to 23,537 for 2013. 

It also suggests that the downward trend throughout 2014 was continuous as the figures were significantly less than the official Youth Justice Board statistics released earlier this year showing there were 22,393 young first time offenders. 

The number of first time under-18 offenders signifies a reported fall across all of the 12 crime categories accounted for by the MoJ, which is an encouraging trend, especially for those working in youth offending roles

As recorded in Children & Young People Now, the only two categories that saw a rise were the offences of possession of weapons and motoring offences. To put this into context, during 2014 the number of those under 18 convicted for a first offence for possession of weapons rose from 959 in 2013 to 1,195. 

Of course, there are no dramatic surprises here, although it’s still very pleasing to see – the past few years have seen a considerable reduction in the number of young offenders being prosecuted. In 2004 there were 140,920 prosecutions of under 18s; a figure that remarkably dropped to 45,904 in 2014. 

It was particularly pleasing to see that the sharpest falls since 2004 has been amongst prosecutions of 10-11 year olds; in 2004 there were 1,317 prosecutions in this age group, which fell to just 137 in 2014. 

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