In the Police and Crime Plan for 2013-2017 the Police and Crime Commissioner identified young adults as a priority group based on the evidence that they are involved in a disproportionately high amount of crime. This long-standing issue was a concern shared by partners. In response, the Young Adults Project (YAP!) was established by the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Reducing Reoffending Board in October 2013, and funded through the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
The first phase of the Young Adults Project was an exploratory phase aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of the offending and needs of 16-24 year olds locally and examining the evidence for effective systems, approaches and interventions in reducing their offending and reoffending. In July 2014, the YAP! reported its findings and made a series of recommendations for local system-wide changes to the way agencies work with young adult offenders. Eighteen recommendations were made to the Strategic Partnership Board, all of which the Board endorsed. Further details of phase one are available below.
Evidence from the first phase of the YAP! highlighted that young adults are over-represented in our local Criminal Justice System, have different offending profiles, and higher and different experiences of need. In addition, the offending and needs of young adults are underpinned by issues of maturity and the challenges associated with making the transition to adulthood. Implementation of the recommendations from phase one requires a recognition that young adults represent a distinct group that necessitates a bespoke, evidence-based approach in order to impact positively on their offending and reoffending rates. Therefore, the Young Adults Project is now in its second phase, the implementation phase, and the multiagency YAP! Delivery Group has been established to deliver on all eighteen of the recommendations through a joint partnership approach by all relevant agencies across and beyond the Criminal Justice System.
The work of the YAP! is making a difference locally. In June 2015, the multiagency engAge Team was established to support young adults (aged 18-24) living in Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland. The engAge Team works to ensure that young adult offenders comply with their Conditional Cautions and receive the interventions they need to avoid future offending, by providing support across a whole range of issues which these young adults often experience.