Eye on Crime: Helping young people in North Devon

PC Mark Robarts.

PC Mark Robarts. - Credit: Archant

This week meet PC Mark Robarts works with some 25 young people each month to help and support them.

I am PC Mark Robarts, the Youth Intervention Officer for North Devon, Taw and Torridge. I work with young people under the age of 18, to help prevent or reduce their offending.

On average I receive 25 young person referrals a month, 90 per cent of which have committed an offence, such as damage, assault and anti social behaviour. In some of these cases alcohol is either directly or indirectly involved.

In April the method in which the police deal with young offenders moved towards more out of court disposals. This change is aimed at providing them with more support in an attempt to prevent further offending.

It also reduces the impact of ‘criminalising’ a young person by giving the Youth Intervention Officers and Youth Offending Team the opportunity to work with the young person and their family.

I have found many young people feel uncomfortable in talking to their parents about difficult issues and welcome the opportunity to openly discuss them with someone who can either work directly with them or make the relevant referral to an appropriate support agency.

In the past few months I have been working with a young person who was a regular cannabis user. This not only had an effect on their health and wellbeing, but family relationships and college work, which placed them at significant risk of offending.

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After an initial reluctance to engage with the process I was able to persuade them of the positive benefits of making some changes to their lifestyle.

I am happy to say the person has gone on to complete their college course and is now working. They have much more self confidence and this has had a positive effect on their personal and family relationships.

If you are a young person or a parent/carer and you think I might be able to offer support, please contact me via 101 or force web pages.

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