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Youth Crime: Young Criminals "Can Change" - UK PM

Prime Minister Gordon Brown: Young criminals "can change"

Gordon Brown has visited a project where young offenders who have received community sentences can learn new skills, and turn their lives around.

The Prime Minister chatted with teenagers at the Reparation Project, an adventure playground in Brockley, south London, where they come to perform community service tasks and learn skills such as woodwork.

Mr Brown said that the project shows that young people have skills and can make the most of their talents. But he warned that young people must stop offending and get off the streets.

"No knives, no guns, no gangs: that's the way forward", he said.

He asked the five teenagers how knife crime affected them and what could be done to reduce the number of knives being carried on the streets.

At his regular press conference yesterday, Mr Brown said that Knife crime would be dealt with by a combination of "enforcement, prevention and prosecution".

The Government's £100m Youth Crime Action Plan is being unveiled today. The PM explained that if young people commit crime, they should know that they risk being sent to prison, a young offenders' institute or performing community service.

"But we also want to prevent crime, we want to get people off the streets, we want to give them things to do.

"We want to say where there is a problem in a family with anti-social behaviour we will intervene quickly through family intervention partnerships where we say to a family you change your lives and we will help you."

The teenagers spoke of wanting to go to college, get a job and start their own businesses.

ENDS

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