How can they tell?

Henry Porter is worth reading in yesterday’s Observer. Amongst other things, he says:

We are told that every child in the country will be assessed to see if they are likely to turn to crime. Those that comply to a profile set by some grim determinist working for the government will be ‘actively managed’ by youth justice workers and local social services. This is what Blair meant by being tough on the causes of crime.

In case anyone is curious about how an assessment is made, you can see a sample of the ‘indicators’ that are used to predict criminality. It’s from Ryogens (‘Reducing Youth Offending Generic National Solution’). Although Ryogens has only been taken up by a handful of local authorities, the indicators are derived from other, similar lists.

The idea is that practitioners select a ‘concern’ from the list, and the databases is configured to deliver an ‘alert’ when the number of concerns reaches a certain level. (When we were doing the FIPR report on children’s databases, we found that all local authorities had set their systems to 1.)

Further down the page, Ryogens also provides practitioners with a list of legal provisions that can purportedly be used to override any refusal of consent to share information.

After the FIPR report was published, we couldn’t find the link to the Ryogens lists on their website any more. However, the Wayback Machine had kindly preserved a copy.


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