Schools to call in retired Army instructors

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The Independent Online

Retired army instructors are to be drafted in to steer unruly teenagers away from crime, the Government announced yesterday.

Retired army instructors are to be drafted in to steer unruly teenagers away from crime, the Government announced yesterday.

Under the £600,000 Treasury scheme, former soldiers will be hired to work in schools in Manchester, Merseyside, Leicester, Bristol, the West Midlands and London. The expanded scheme comes after successful trials in Newcastle and Norfolk.

The "Skill Force" project is based on a scheme piloted in the United States and hailed for cutting youth crime and truancy rates by giving teenage boys a sense of responsibility and discipline. It is also aimed at improving their results at school and boosting their employment prospects.

It was among a raft of initiatives to boost public services announced by Andrew Smith, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, in a Commons written answer yesterday. In all, he approved more than 120 projects costing £60m - backed by £15m of private money - under the "Invest to save" programme, involving central government, local authorities, police and health authorities.

Other projects include "Police Direct", a £3.9m scheme to help police and criminal justice organisations to provide more services on-line.

A further £1.1m will go on setting up video links between teams handling youth-offending and custodial units to reduce the amount of time spent travelling to and from secure establishments.

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