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Youth crime busters to get national reach

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Youth crime busters to get national reach
16:40 CET+01:00
Sweden announced on Thursday that pilot projects helping young people stay out of crime had reaped such success that they would be rolled out nationwide.

Sweden's Justice Minister Beatrice Ask spent Thursday morning speaking with children enrolled in a programme where several different state agencies cooperate to help them (social insatsgrupper).

"One of the most important things when working with these young people is making an individual action plan, which often involves friends, family, and neighbours," Ask told The Local.

In the youth programme in Botkyrka municipality, just south of Stockholm, local police list the area's young offenders who they think are the most likely to reoffend. The greater risk being that the teenagers get stuck with a criminal lifestyle.

Using the list, social services, the police, the schools and even Sweden's Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen) work together with the youngsters in order to help them stay crime-free.

Botkyrka has two youth groups, one with members between ten and 18-years old and the other with young adults aged 18 to 25.

The success in Botkyrka was instrumental in rolling out the programme nationwide, said Ask, who also underlined there are benefits not only to the young people but to the entire neighbourhood.

"The intention is to get the young people to put a stop to their criminality and substance abuse and to make a better and calmer situation for neighbourhood," Ask told The Local.

"We often try to involve several people depending on the situation, and we find that a lot of people are actually willing to contribute to a better neighbourhood."

The Swedish government announced that over the next month, its representatives will be meeting with authorities including The Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) and the National Health Board (Socialstyrelsen) to further discuss the expansion.

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

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