By Ronan McGreevy
A new scheme to manage hardened young offenders has seen a near two-thirds drop in reoffending levels, a senior Garda has said.
Around 100 teenagers over the age of 12 have participated in the scheme in Dublin's north-inner city.
Since its introduction 18 months ago, the level of recidivism has dropped by 63 per cent, according to Chief Superintendent Pat Leahy who is based in the inner-city.
The case management scheme involves assigning individual garda to young recidivists who might have been 20 and 200 convictions.
The garda then becomes involved with the parents, the schools and the justice system.
Chief Supt Leahy said the measure, which was introduced 18 months ago, had shown some "pretty serious results" and may be replicated in Limerick and also among some adults and sex offenders.
"It is all done with a view to engineering them out of the criminal justice system. It is not the juvenile liaison officer (JLO) scheme, it is down and dirty policing, in your face and dealing with problems that exist," he said.
Chief Supt Leahy told a seminar on violence in Irish society that the scheme may have contributed to a drop in crime in the first half of the year in Dublin city centre by 18 per cent which included 14 per cent for violent assaults.
The conference was organised by the Irish Commission for Justice and Social Affairs (ICJSA) to discuss a Church document called Violence in Irish Society: Towards an Ecology of Peace which is aimed at addressing the causes of violence.