The Cabinet Secretary for Justice visited West Lothian Council's headquarters this week to hear about the council's approach with young people who offend.
Humza Yousaf MSP was joined by the Leader of West Lothian Council, Lawrence Fitzpatrick to learn about the council's work and meet with staff from Criminal Youth Justice.
The council's 'whole system approach', is heralded as one of the best in Scotland. The approach involves partners from across education, social work, policing and the third sector, working together to intervene early in order to prevent offending and help reduce the number of victims. This approach in Scotland to youth justice has contributed to an 82% reduction in children being referred to the Reporter on offence grounds since 2006-7, and a 78% fall in the number of under 18-year-olds being prosecuted in courts during the same period. Success in West Lothian has been through the council's commitment to the implementation of 'Preventing Offending', Scotland's national strategy for young people involved in, or at risk of offending.
The Leader of West Lothian Council, Lawrence Fitzpatrick, said: "West Lothian Council's approach to Criminal Youth Justice works very well and we were delighted that the Justice Secretary requested a visit to hear about the team's work in this area.
"Youth Justice is an extremely complex issue and one that we are committed to tackling along with our community partners. Our approach has delivered excellent results over recent years including reducing numbers of young people receiving custodial sentences and reducing numbers in need of secure care or residential school as a result of offending."