Tough on the causes of crime?

October 01, 1994


Greater investment in youth projects would reduce crime and save money, according to a report carried out by Coopers & Lybrand for The Prince’s Trust and ITV Telethon. Young People and Crime says that youth crime now accounts for 45% of total crime in the UK, costing over £7 billion per year and that while society loses £2,300 every time a youth crime is committed, public investment in youth work projects is only £30 per young person. The report calls for a greater exploration of the link between youth work and crime reduction, citing one example where if just nine of the 430 participants in a Youth Action Scheme in Manchester were diverted away from crime the scheme would be cost effective. Contact Tom Shebbeare, Prince’s Trust, on 0171 430 0524


The loss to business from crime could be between £5 billion and £10 billion, according to a Crime Concern/Thames Valley Partnership report published on September 5. The Cost of Crime points out the hidden costs of crime beyond the direct losses incurred and suggests that they are borne not only by the private sector, the criminal justice system and local statutory agencies but by society as a whole, via higher taxes and prices. The report argues that the enormous costs of crime make a convincing case for more investment in its prevention, although it warns that investment may only be seen as being “cost effective” if the indirect gains of less crime are taken into account. Contact Crime Concern on 01793 514596


The winner of the first ever Livewire Export Challenge was announced on August 23. Funded by Bass and co-ordinated by Livewire, the national youth enterprise scheme supported by Shell UK, the programme gives young businesses the chance to export for the first time. It provides specialist training and advice, culminating in a “trade mission” to Europe with free accommodation at Holiday Inn hotels. The second Export Challenge was also launched, with over 40 business competing for a place on the next trade mission. Contact Paul Sampson, Livewire, on 0191 261 5584


HRH The Prince of Wales visited the PYBT Trade Fair on September 14 to present awards to young people running businesses supported by PYBT. Supported by Trade Promotion Services, 195 PYBT firms exhibited at the fair, part of the International Autumn Fair attended by international giftware buyers. Last year PYBT firms at the fair did over £500,000 of business, one quarter of which was export. Contact Imogen Skeggs, PYBT, on 0171 321 6527


Fifteen undergraduates have completed vacation job placements in the voluntary sector via Shell UK’s pilot STEP into the Community programme. The scheme is modelled on the STEP programme, established in 1986, which placed 1,000 students in small and medium sized enterprises this year. All 13 charities taking part had demonstrated a specific need for help and were selected by Action: Employees in the Community and Shell. The students were paid £100 per week plus expenses over an eight week period, half by Shell and half by the host charities, which included BACUP, Centrepoint and Brixton Information Technology Centre. The student with the most successful project was awarded £750 for the host charity at a ceremony on September 14. London was the testing ground for the project, which is likely to be expanded next year. Contact Susan Saloom, Shell UK, on 0171 257 3425


Now that party conference season is upon us again, the headlines are full of politicians’ promises of more tough action on crime. The cost to companies and individuals certainly justifies action. But treating the symptoms will not cure the patient – indeed treatment like sending young people to prison appears to make the problem worse, if reoffending figures are true.

The first thing companies can do is examine whether crime prevention projects in the CCI programme are radical enough, tackling the root causes of the problem, not just the effects. Second, and more wider, companies and society as a whole need to look at work opportunities for young people. There really can be no doubt that the economic failure and consequent high levels of youth unemployment is a factor in rocketing crime rates. Youth enterprise projects like those reported above are to be commended. Otherwise the cost to business profits in not addressing the issue will go on rising.

Corporate Citizenship Briefing, issue no: 18 – October, 1994