Troubled young people who have had a brush with the law are being helped to get back on track by a specialist Glasgow team.
Youngsters referred to the voluntary Glasgow City Council programme are given advice and support in a bid to stop them entering a life of crime.
The Early and Effective Intervention (EEI) team receives around 70 referrals a month from Police Scotland. Their programme encourages young people who have committed an offence or been charged by the police to learn from their mistakes. They are encouraged to change their behaviour and taught strategies for coping with issues, like bullying, bereavement and mental health problems, which may have contributed to their offending.
Now a short film, funded by Community Justice Glasgow, has been launched to explain the work of the team which also takes referrals for children under the age of 12 (the age of criminal responsibility) who have come into contact with the police and are displaying risky or concerning behaviour.
Created by Street Cones, the video features young actors from the North United Communities Drama Group who bring to life anonymised case studies of children and young people referred to the programme. It is designed to help children, young people and their families understand what the EEI programme can offer and highlights the importance of engaging with the team as an alternative to the criminal justice system.
Intervention Worker, Lorraine Gardiner, said: "EEI is a second chance. It's an opportunity for young people to learn from their mistakes, make more positive choices and stop offending. It's a chance for us to try to steer them away from the criminal justice system."
Problems like poverty, underage drinking, anger management, grief, peer pressure and anxiety often surface when the team begins working with young people aged 8 - 17 years.
Lorraine added: "My role is about providing support for the individual - about having conversations with them to find out how and why they are in the position they are in, and how they can make better choices to desist from criminal behaviour. I engage with them, their families and their school."
A multi-agency team including Police Scotland, assess the young person's offence and speak with other agencies including education services and Glasgow's Health & Social Care Partnership. The young person's views, opinions and concerns are central to the programme and at the heart of any decision-making about their referral. They consider the reasons for their behaviour, the consequences of their actions, how they can make amends and what might happen if they break the law again. Young people are also sign-posted to sources of help with any underlying issues.
Jamie Callaghan, Manager of Glasgow's Early and Effective Intervention Team (EEIT), said: "This voluntary programme gives young people time to reflect on the incident and enables us to look at their well-being, how they are, how their home life is and how they are doing in school to see if there is anything we can do to support them."
Sergeant Michael Fletcher of the One Glasgow Reducing Offending team - Greater Glasgow Division, said: "The Early and Effective Intervention (EEI) team work to identify the root causes of offending behaviour and support the young person to achieve a better outcome. This vital multi- agency work is making a difference to the lives of young people, as we work with them to avoid becoming involved in further criminality as they get older.
"Police Scotland is delighted to work with our partners at Glasgow City Council to support this intervention service, and for PC Sarah Deary to explain why the EEI process is so important to her role."
Councillor Ruairi Kelly, Glasgow City Council's Convener for Neighbourhood Services and Assets, said: "Early and Effective Intervention is crucial to prevent young people sleep-walking into a life of crime which can destroy their own futures and also have an detrimental effect on our communities.
"The programme aims to nip any problems in the bud before they spiral out of control and to help young people tackle any issues in their lives which are preventing them from fulfilling their true potential. The work of the EEI team and their partners benefits not only individual young people but wider society as a whole. And I think the new film demonstrates the value of the programme very effectively."