§ Mr. Michael
It is not possible to give an estimate of how many persistent young offenders in Bolton, West will be affected by the Government's commitment to halving the time between arrest and sentence for persistent young offenders. We are taking early action to encourage all youth agencies to deal with cases more speedily and will be monitoring progress in achieving this aim.
We also believe that certainty and speed of outcome will send a clear message which will help deter some youngsters from offending. We are also encouraging the police and local authorities together to assess accurately the level of crime and disorder affecting the public in their area as a basis for a strategic partnership. It is hoped that this will provide a more accurate assessment of youth crime than basing a local estimate on an extrapolation from national averages.
§ Mr. Rendel
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to expand the number of non-custodial schemes to divert convicted youths from further crime. 
§ Mr. Michael
[holding answer 7 July 1997]: It is the Government's policy to "nip things in the bud" with young offenders. For example, we have signalled an intention that offenders will be punished by ending the practice of repeat police cautions, introducing a new Final Warning which will trigger effective intervention by the new locally based Youth Offender Teams.467W
We will require the police and local authorities to identify local problems of crime and disorder and to develop a strategy to tackle local problems. This will build on best practice in preventing crime and diverting young offenders from further offending.
We will also introduce reparation orders and a new action plan order and will introduce Youth Offender Teams to plan and supervise community sentences aimed at changing offending behaviour.