Persistent teen criminals on the rise

NUMBERS of troublesome youngsters who repeatedly flout the law in Suffolk have more than trebled in a decade, it emerged today.

NUMBERS of troublesome youngsters who repeatedly flout the law in Suffolk have more than trebled in a decade, it emerged today.

In 1997, the county's constabulary listed just 74 persistent young offenders, but by 2007, that figure had leapt to 230 - an increase of 210 per cent.

A persistent young offender is classed as a person aged between ten and 17 who has been found guilty of a criminal offence on three or more occasions.

The huge jump in Suffolk dwarfs an overall national increase, from 9,868 to 16,512 - the equivalent to a rise of 67pc.


You may also want to watch:


Meanwhile, the number of offences carried out by persistent young offenders in the county has increased from 116 in 1997 to 435 in 2007, a near four-fold rise.

The Audit Commission estimates that people under 18 years commit more than seven million offences a year against individuals, retailers and manufacturers, with public services spending in excess of £1billion a year dealing with such crime.

Most Read

Suffolk police, and other forces across England and Wales, have actively targeted a small hard core of youngsters after Home Office research found that about 3pc of offenders committed 22pc of youth crime.

In 1996, the government pledged to halve the average time from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders from 142 days to 71 days.

The latest figures released for Suffolk in April 2008 showed that the average time from arrest to sentence was 43 days, compared to the national average of 57 days.

Earlier this year, detectives leading the war on drugs in Suffolk told The Evening Star how they were being forced to contend with an army of teenage dealers.

Figures showed that in the last three years alone, 159 youngsters were convicted of drugs offences in the county.

Meanwhile, of the 289 arrests made under Operation Academy - a major crackdown on hard drugs in Suffolk - 38 per cent were of dealers aged under 21.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said the force and its partner agencies were committed to reducing crime and disorder across the county and to bringing those who break the law to court as quickly as possible.

How can police clamp down on youth crime? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Persistent young offenders in Suffolk:

97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07

74 81 99 121 148 174 176 216 239 213 230

Persistent young offender offences in Suffolk:

97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07

116 116 191 213 285 363 391 447 491 423 435

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter