Gang-related knife crime is on the increase in Thurrock, a youth service has said

GANG-related knife crime is on the increase in Thurrock, a youth service has said.

The Corringham-based Youth Offending Service gave a report on its work over the last year to Thurrock’s corporate parenting committee.

Committee chairman Abbie Akinbohun asked Clare Moore, strategic lead for the Youth Offending Service, if knife crime normally associated with London boroughs was becoming a problem in Thurrock.

Ms Moore said: “It’s not at the extent of the London boroughs but we do have an increasing cohort of young people that are becoming involved in knife related crimes and gang related violence.”

Georgette Polley, Conservative councillor for Belhus ward, asked if young people on remand for county lines offences were from the borough.

Ms Moore, said: “They are all Thurrock residents. I’m not saying they have all been here a long length of time. We do have some of the London Boroughs moving families into Thurrock where there are issues around gang-related violence and they tend to be moved here for their own safety.

“However, they then get drawn back into that way of life and tend to also go back to the boroughs they came from to commit the crimes there.

“We do have some that have committed crimes in Thurrock but more often than not they are committed outside of Thurrock but they are Thurrock young people.”

A report to the committee said delays in the court system, where there is an estimated 117 per cent backlog in cases overall thanks to Covid-19, had affected the service, with the number of first-time offenders going through the courts remaining static.

Nevertheless it had performed well against national figures with reoffending in Thurrock at 25 per cent against 37 per cent nationally during 2019/20.

The Out Of Court Disposal panel, which aims to divert children from future involvement in the criminal justice system, will make decisions in respect of children who have admitted committing low level offences and who are not serious or prolific offenders

During 2020-21, the panel dealt with 43 offences relating to 33 children. The most common offences where those under the Offences Against the Person Act.

Of those dealt with by the panel 44 per cent of the children were open to children’s social care at the time of the offence.

Of those children who went through the court system in 2019/20, 20 per cent were looked after children.

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