08 July 2014

Written reply to Parliamentary Question on Statistics on Youth Criminal Offences

Question

Assoc Prof Tan Kheng Boon Eugene asked the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs (a) what is the number of male and female youth arrests for criminal offences in the last five years; (b) whether there is an over-representation of youths in crimes in recent years; (c) whether the police will consider re-introducing Boys’ Clubs; and (d) what is being done to ensure that the youth crime rate is kept as low as possible

Written Reply by Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs:
 
               In the last five years (2009 – 2013), the number of male youths arrested has steadily decreased from 3,175 in 2009 to 2,347 in 2013. Over the same period, the number of female youths arrested was also on a downward trend, dropping from 1,096 in 2009 to 673 in 2013.

               The proportion of youth offenders relative to the total number of persons arrested has decreased from 22.8% in 2009 to 18.2% in 2013. However, it is still slightly higher than the proportion of youth in our population, which was about 14% in the last five years.

               Youth crime is a complex issue that requires a multi-agency approach to tackle. While measures are put in place to ensure that youth offenders are given chances to rehabilitate and reintegrate, those who still choose to resort to violence and gang activity will be taken to task.

               The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has worked closely with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and other relevant stakeholders to develop and implement programmes to deter and manage youth crime. The Central Youth Guidance Office in MSF was formed in July 2010 to co-ordinate inter-agency intervention strategies to prevent at-risk youths from committing crime.

              In 2012, Police established a Youth Offenders Unit to oversee programmes to prevent youth crime and coordinate public education and outreach efforts to youths. It recently organised the seventh season of the Delta (Football) League in June 2014 with the National Crime Prevention Council, which aims to keep youths meaningfully occupied during the school holidays.

               Police regularly patrols popular youth congregation areas to prevent youth crime. In addition, under the Youth Hanging Out Late initiative, Police will inform parents if their children are found loitering in public after 11pm.

             The People’s Association has taken over the Boys’ Club from Police in 1996 and has transformed them into activity centres for youths, now known as Teens Network (T-Net) Club. There are currently eight such clubs island-wide.