Youths committing more violent crime

YOUNG people in Suffolk are committing more violent offences, despite an overall drop in the level of youth crime, it has emerged.More than 900 “violence against the person” offences were committed by children aged 10 to 17 in the county between April 2005 and March this year - an increase of 4%.

By Danielle Nuttall

YOUNG people in Suffolk are committing more violent offences, despite an overall drop in the level of youth crime, it has emerged.

More than 900 “violence against the person” offences were committed by children aged 10 to 17 in the county between April 2005 and March this year - an increase of 4%.

These crimes include offences such as common assault, wounding, assaulting a police officer, threats of violence and grievous bodily harm.


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While all violent crime in Suffolk - including offences committed by adults - fell by 2.4% last year, that committed by youths actually rose and was the second highest category of offence committed by children in the county.

But youth crime as a whole dropped 7.6% in 2005-6, according to figures released by Suffolk County Council and the Youth Offending Service.

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The total number of crimes committed by children fell from 4,716 in 2004-5 to 4,359 last year.

Jeremy Pembroke, leader of Suffolk County Council, said: “I am very pleased at the reduction in crimes committed by young people this year. All the agencies, including the police and the Youth Offending Service, are making progress and will continue to work hard to keep making Suffolk a safer place.

“Robberies, burglaries, drugs offences and the number of young people breaching orders are all very much down. Motoring and public order offences are significantly reduced, but there is some concern over a rise in violence against the person.

“The Youth Offending Service will continue to prioritise efforts against those crimes which are not being reduced, using approaches including getting disaffected young people involved in positive activity, and working to help them understand and move away from crime at an early stage.

Mr Pembroke added: “More victims are welcoming the opportunity to participate in 'restorative justice' schemes. Restorative justice enables victims of crime to contribute to the discussion about what work the young person must carry out to repair the harm done, either directly to the victim or to the wider community.

“The figures are encouraging, but there is very much more work to do.”

Theft and handling accounted for most youth crime committed in Suffolk during 2005-6 and rose by 2% from 945 in 2004-5 to 965.

The number of sexual offences committed by youths rose 16% from 25 to 29 however many other areas of criminality fell including robbery (-36.6%), racially aggravated offences (-64%), motoring offences (-13%), domestic burglaries (-21.1%) and public order offences (-13.7%).

In addition, the number of youths who breached statutory orders or bail fell from 366 to 271 during the last year, which is a drop of 26%.

Chief Inspector Martin Ransome, of Suffolk police, said: “We welcome any fall in crime and are encouraged to see a decrease in the number of offences committed by young people in Suffolk.

“The decrease reflects our continuing work with other agencies to reduce youth offending. However the rise in violence against the person is a contrast in the dip in overall violent crime, which decreased by 2.4% in the year April 2005 and March 2006.

“Reducing violent crime is a priority of Suffolk Constabulary and we will work closely with other agencies to ensure the number of incidents continues to fall and that Suffolk remains one of the safest counties in the country.”

danielle.nuttall@eadt.co.uk

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