Suffolk sees rise in children suspected of crime
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The number of children suspected of being involved in crime has continued to rise in Suffolk – with one local charity looking to curb climbing figures.
Statistics revealed in a Freedom of Information request to Suffolk police showed people under 18 were identified as suspects in 2,953 crimes locally in 2019.
Of those, 398 resulted in a charge.
The figure, up from 2,600 in in 2018, represents 30 different types of crime – including aggravated vehicle taking, burglary, shoplifting and drugs trafficking.
The most prevalent, however, was causing violence without injury, followed by criminal damage.
Inspire Suffolk, a charity which aims to build positive futures for young people in the county, is tackling the issue of youth crime through early intervention and positive engagement schemes.
The charity said rises in youth crime can be linked to increases in youth unemployment.
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Terry Baxter, CEO of Inspire Suffolk, said it is "vitally important" that organisations work with young people to keep them away from harm.
Mr Baxter said: “With more young people facing unemployment than ever before, it is vitally important that we continue our work to keep them out of harm, out of trouble and make a positive contribution to our community.”
Initiatives used by the charity include using sport as a way to improve teamwork, problem solving and communication – as well as offering a range of education programmes to help young people at risk of offending.
One student who has been helped by the charity said they first found out about them via Suffolk's youth offending team.
The student, who is now looking at volunteering with the charity, said: "I decided to do the course to get my confidence up as I had just experienced a pretty major setback.
"One of the most important things about team programme was it kept me busy as I don’t cope well with having nothing to do – my thoughts go to negative places – but it gave me something positive to put my mind to.
"The work experience part of the programme was really beneficial and gave me an insight into the type of things I could do as a career. I’m now self-employed and looking to volunteer with the charity to help other young people.”