THE police and crime commissioner is to take over West Mercia's youth offending service in a bid to save public money.

West Mercia's youth offending service (YOS) is to be transferred to the jurisdiction of the police and crime commissioner next month.

Councils in Worcestershire and Herefordshire have all approved the plans, which are the first of their kind in the UK.

In 2012 the local authorities merged two separate Youth Offending Services into a single West Mercia service, which has 'saved considerable amounts of public money'. This latest step is said to build on that collaborative approach by giving the new, larger service a permanent home.

The office of the police and crime commissioner for West Mercia says the decision should help provide a better, more responsive service to the public across West Mercia, as the YOS will have a more solid platform for future development, and closer ties to relevant parts of the PCC’s portfolio – such as policing and criminal justice.

West Mercia police and crime commissioner Bill Longmore said: “We have already seen a good collaborative approach to youth offending in recent years, but this direct input from the PCC is another very positive step for everyone.

"The councils will achieve better efficiency, the YOS and its staff will have more stability, and the public will see even better results around youth offending."

John Campion, Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet member for Children and Families said: "The county council is committed to supporting young people and helping them break cycle of crime that can often blight their prospects.

"By transferring the service, the county council will be leading the way by working together and will reap the benefits from closer ties with partners, as well as achieving better results for the public and ultimately young people."

The YOS will continue to be funded by a combination of a central government grant and the local authorities.

Councils will still ultimately have legal responsibility to make sure the service is delivered, and they will retain the same level of control they have had up to now.

Other areas have already expressed interest in the model and are looking into copying it, the office of the police and crime commissioner has said.