More than 60 criminal charges against under 13s in Suffolk in 2019
PUBLISHED: 19:02 03 August 2019 | UPDATED: 20:32 03 August 2019
More than 60 criminal charges have been laid against children under the age of 13 in Suffolk so far this year, figures have revealed.
Statistics gathered through a Freedom of Information request reveal that a total of 61 criminal charges have been laid against 12-year-old children in Suffolk this year, with one 11 year-old charged with theft.
A further 31 charges relate to 13-year-olds along with 21 involving 14-year-olds - including one 14-year-old charged with a weapons offence.
The majority of the crimes children have been charged with are violence against the person offences, arson and criminal damage and public order offences.
One 12-year-old was charged with burglary.
County Policing Commander Chief Superintendent Tonya Antonis said: "While children under the age of 10 years cannot by law be held criminally responsible or subject to prosecution, we are committed to steering vulnerable youths of all ages away from crime.
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"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.
"Our specialist Schools Liaison Officers and Safer Neighbourhood Team members also play a key role in identifying potential young offenders and will seek to address their behaviour directly before they move on to commit crime.
"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
"The Police Youth Gang Prevention Team also go into schools to raise awareness of how crime does not pay and we regularly engage with young people at events.
"One recent example has seen us recently involved in a successful community football event, Suffolk KickOff@3, and have a new match-funded PCSO with the Raewald Trust that supports education for vulnerable children in Ipswich."
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