Record numbers of Scotland's young people turn to anti-crime service
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A charity youth service has revealed that record numbers of young people visited its website during 2021 to find out more about crime and to speak up anonymously.
Fearless, the youth service of independent charity Crimestoppers, responded to school and youth service closures in the first half of the year by delivering 12 Scotland-wide campaigns raising awareness among young people of "high harm crimes".
As a result, the charity’s website Fearless.org was visited over 90,000 times by young people from across the country – representing a 120 per cent increase compared with 2020.
In one example, a hard-hitting youth violence campaign resulted in a number of weapons being found in the possession of an individual who was not known to the police and posed a danger to others.
In another case, Fearless information led to a significant amount of drugs being seized from a property along with a number of weapons including knuckledusters, baseball bats and knives.
A further example saw information relating to child harm and neglect being received and acted upon.
Lyndsay McDade, national youth projects co-ordinator for Crimestoppers Scotland, said: “From violence and weapon possession to child harm and neglect, the information we receive from young people is crucial in making Scotland safer for everyone.
"Fearless.org is an absolute safety net for young people. For those uncomfortable about contacting the police directly, our independence and guarantee of anonymity gives them a crucial and much-needed alternative.
"We take what they know and pass it on while keeping them completely anonymous.
“The past year was full of highlights for Fearless and it has been a real privilege to witness and be part of our remarkable growth. I want to thank each and every young person who has trusted our charity and chosen to do the right thing by speaking up anonymously.
"As we start this year, I would ask young people to continue to trust us with what you know or suspect – you will remain 100 per cent anonymous always. Through Fearless.org you have a tangible, safe way to make your community a better, safer place to live.”
Scotland's community safety minister Ash Regan said: “I would like to thank Fearless for its continued support to young people by providing information and advice about these very serious issues and how they can report anything they know or suspect about crime 100 per cent anonymously at Fearless.org.
“The figures show this information has already proven vital in helping police tackle crime and prevent harm.
“I encourage any young person who witnesses or has any information about crime to report it and help keep their communities safe and resilient."
Police Scotland's Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie (partnerships, prevention and community wellbeing) said: "Having a trusted, secure and reliable crime prevention resource like Fearless available to Scotland's children and young people is invaluable.
"The organisation is a valued and trusted partner for Police Scotland, and its contribution to helping to keep the people and neighbourhoods of our country safe is highly significant.
"These examples show the extent of criminality that an anonymous tip-off can intercept, and the level of harm the perpetrators could have inflicted on individuals and communities may well have been substantial."
Local or regional statistics are not made available.