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Can youth groups help cut crime?

Ten million pounds is being spent to bring youth groups, like the Scouts, to areas hit by last summer's riots- with the hope of cutting crime.

Hackney and Tottenham are among the places which have been ear-marked but critics say there are better ways of spending the money.

Government to support youth groups

Scouts, guides, police cadets and other youth clubs are to be set up in deprived areas as part of a £10 million scheme to improve life chances and cut crime.

The groups are usually found in leafy suburbs and shire counties, but ministers want to bring them into inner cities.

A joint initiative between the Government and Youth United - an umbrella organisation for uniformed bodies - is to see some 2,700 volunteers trained to lead 400 groups in locations across England such as Hackney, Birmingham, Manchester, Bradford and Middlesbrough.

The intention is to provide 10,000 more places for youths, including offenders, disruptive schoolchildren, children in care, and the unemployed.

According to The Times, Communities Minister Andrew Stunell is due to announce details of the initiative in Tottenham, where riots started last summer.

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Lack of youth services

Damilola Taylor

Gary Trowsdale, the charity's chief executive, said youngsters hang around on the streets due to the lack of other options as schemes are cut back.

Mr Trowsdale, who helped set up the trust, was speaking as he launched this year's Spirit of London Awards (Sola).

Damilola was killed in Peckham, south-east London in 2000, aged 10.

"The lack of youth services is putting at risk the innocent children who don't have any choice but to be on the streets in their communities," Mr Trowsdale said.

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