Offences carried out by under-10s hits record high

Offences carried out by under-10s hits record high as gang leaders recruit children too young to be prosecuted to carry out violent attacks

  • New figures show record numbers of offences being carried out by children who are too young to be prosecuted 
  • Freedom of Information request showed, last year, children under 10 years old were linked to more than 2,604 offences – a 38 per cent increase on 2016’s 1,891
  • The under-10s are carrying out knife attacks, threatening to kill and assaulting 

Gang leaders are recruiting children to carry out violent attacks in a move that campaigners have called ‘deeply worrying’.

New figures show record numbers of offences being carried out by children who are too young to be prosecuted.

A Freedom of Information request showed that, last year, children under 10 years old were linked to more than 2,604 offences – a 38 per cent increase on 2016’s 1,891 figure.

The under-10s are carrying out knife attacks, threatening to kill, assaulting and robbing people, the Sun newspaper reported

The under-10s are carrying out knife attacks, threatening to kill, assaulting and robbing people, the Sun newspaper reported.

Now experts have warned that children are being deliberately targeted by organised criminals who know that if the children are caught they will not be taken to court.

Retired Metropolitan Police detective chief inspector Mick Neville said: ’Older teenagers and gang leaders think nothing of using children to carry drugs or stolen goods, knowing a child under 10 can’t be prosecuted.

‘These older gang members will also encourage younger boys to commit robberies and violent crime as gang initiation ceremonies.’

In reality, the number of children involved in gang-related serious crime may be much higher as 17 out of 43 police forces failed to respond to the freedom of information request.

The worst affected areas included Merseyside and Durham – where offences doubled.

There was an almost 100 per cent increase in South Yorkshire and Kent.

Increased instances of violent crime carried out by children also occurred in the West Midlands, Cheshire, Warwickshire, Hampshire and Northumbria.

In Dorset and Leicester, police questioned five-year-olds over knife crime.

Child safety campaigners have said the rocketing number of children involved in violent offences was deeply worrying

Child safety campaigners have said the rocketing number of children involved in violent offences was deeply worrying.

Theresa Cave, who works to prevent knife crime, said she has had to lower her target age group to start at 10-year-olds.

Theresa, whose 17-year-old son Chris was stabbed to death in Cleveland in 2003, said she also knew of seven-year-olds who took knives to school.

She told The Sun: ‘A lot of this is also down to older gang members getting younger children to commit serious crimes.

‘Seven, eight, nine-year-olds are stabbing each other on the streets over drugs rackets.’

Under the current law, under-10s cannot be prosecuted but can be given a curfew, a child safety order or taken into care. 

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