A plan to combat youth offending in the Isle of Man has been highlighted following an increase to youth offences between 2020 and 2023.

Although figures are not yet available for 2023/24, the three-year period between 2020 and 2023 saw a significant rise in the number of offenders and offences.

In the year 2020/21, 224 individuals were referred to the police in relation to 675 offences, of which 275 lead to prosecution. In 2021/22, 467 individuals were referred in relation to 1,073 different offences, with 262 prosecutions. Although the number of prosecutions decreased, there was a significant increase in the number of offenders and offences.

2022/23 saw similar figures to 2021/22, with 481 referrals, 1,020 offences and 216 prosecutions, but this still represents a general increase since 2020.

Jane Poole-Wilson, Minister for Justice and Home Affairs, outlined the work that her department and the Isle of Man Constabulary is doing during Tuesday’s House of Keys sitting.

This work includes the ongoing operation of Police Early Action Team (PEAT), which collaborates with Manx Care and looks to work with young people to ‘deter’ them from re-offending.

Talking about PEAT, Mrs Poole-Wilson said: ‘It is an Isle of Man Constabulary function that works with young people and their parents/carers to deter young people from criminal and antisocial behaviour, therefore helping to meet the department's objectives in relation to youth offending.

‘The policing plan for 2023/24 highlights the aim of reducing and preventing youth offending and reoffending, including anti-social behaviour.

‘It is also worth noting that the “Children and Young Person Act 2001” gives a statutory responsibility to the Department of Health and Social Care and Manx Care to work with young people in the justice system, which is done through PEAT.’

Continuing to discuss how her department looks to combat this, Mrs Poole-Wilson added: ‘The police do play an important part in this through PEAT, but none of this can be addressed by the police alone because we are dealing with a broader societal challenge.

‘Other initiatives are really important, such as the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), which brings together professionals not only from the Constabulary but also from social care, and allows us to tap into youth justice expertise as well so that the appropriate range of skills is available.

‘MASH continue to look at not only individuals who may be caught up in crime, but also those who are vulnerable to exploitation. I think this is one of the most complex and difficult problems we face, but work continues in the meantime to try and safeguard individuals while also trying to deter them from criminal activity.’