Deputy News Editor
A crime prevention scheme which has been running in Glasgow since 2013 is being introduced into Edinburgh, Newcastle, and Cardiff.
Action for Children is running the scheme as part of their Serious Organised Crime Early Intervention service. This service has been working with young Glaswegians to help them turn away from a life of crime to one of education, training, and employment.
The scheme has been seen as a major success in helping vulnerable young people avoid becoming involved in serious crime by employing peer mentors, including previous offenders, to help young people relate to their experiences.
Out of the 49 candidates in the latest group, 45 of them have been prevented from re-offending.
Speaking to the BBC Action for Children’s Scotland director, Paul Carberry described the young people in the programme as “young people who may be violent, entrepreneurial thieves, they can keep their mouths shut, running drugs, theft to order, violence and intimidation on behalf of groups.”
Carberry said most young people in the programme come from criminal families and are trained not to trust people in authority, including police and social work.
Humza Yousaf, Justice Secretary for the Scottish government, praised the programme: “The role of the peer mentors cannot be underestimated. By working with these young people and their families, the service has shown the positive opportunities that are available to the young people that can allow them to prosper.”
The charity has received £4.6m from the National Lottery Community Fund, which will allow them to try this programme in more cities.