Youth crime statistics revealed after shocking car jacking incident
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Youth crime statistics in Suffolk have been revealed in the wake of a shocking car jacking by two boys thought to be as young as 12 and seven years old.
Children have been charged with more than 1,700 criminal offences in Suffolk during the past three years, police figures have shown following a Freedom of Information request.
A total of 310 charges - which include arson, violence against the person and drug crime - have been brought against children between the ages of 11 and 17 up to July 18 this year.
In 2017, 710 charges were brought against children in the county while last year saw 695 offences.
MORE: Boys thought to be 12 and 7 steal car at knifepoint from woman in IpswichThe statistics provide a picture of youth crime in the county following the car jacking incident in Ipswich last weekend.
The attack took place at around 6.25pm on Saturday, September 21 in Westbury Road, Ipswich.
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The victim, a woman in her 60s, had been reversing her car onto a driveway in the road when the two boys approached her car.
One of them opened the door and demanded she get out, threatening her with a knife.
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The victim was left shaken but physically unharmed. The car was later recovered.
The incident has raised concerns in the community and Suffolk police says it is "committed" to working with partner agencies and organisations to deter young people from crime.
MORE: 'It's incredibly rare' - Officer left shocked as woman car jacked at knifepoint by schoolboysA Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said: "We are committed to steering youths of all ages away from crime. We do take a robust stance against crime and will always take appropriate and proportionate action.
"To this end, we work very closely with partner organisations to identify and engage with those children to prevent an escalation of or further offending."
The force said it works to avoid the "criminalisation" of children and explores the issues behind youth offending.
The spokesman added: "Police officers work with partners in youth offending teams and social services to determine the needs of the child and to provide the appropriate levels of support
"Where appropriate, the 'criminalisation' of children is avoided, and rather the issues surrounding the offence are explored, including their potential vulnerabilities and home life, and work to reduce further offending is carried out."
Police and crime commissioner comment
Suffolk's police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said he is "totally committed" to working with partners to steer young people away from crime.
Mr Passmore said: "It truly saddens me to hear reports of young people being caught up in crime. We do need to join forces to help our young people have a purpose in life; we know the difficulties they face if we don't, so I fully support the constabulary's continued engagement work with young people.
"Along with the constabulary, I am totally committed to working with partners to do all I can to steer young people away from crime. No one agency can solve these problems on their own, we need to pool resources and focus our attention to make a real impact.
"A key part of my role is to commission services that support crime reduction. My office has funded many initiatives for young people including Positive Futures, the Porch Project and KickOff@3 and I've seen at first-hand the very positive impact these projects have had on young people across the county.
"I do believe diverting young people at risk of getting involved in crime, and showing them how to make positive life choices, will help them become good citizens. It won't work for everyone but we need to do all we can to help those at risk to become more confident and principled adults and stay on the right side of the law."