Young criminals need attention

YOUNG criminals have been a problem for society for generations.Charles Dickens recognised that when he wrote Oliver Twist, and today there is a new generation of pre-teen tearaways causing problems for society.

YOUNG criminals have been a problem for society for generations.

Charles Dickens recognised that when he wrote Oliver Twist, and today there is a new generation of pre-teen tearaways causing problems for society.

Today's shocking figures show that dozens of offences in east Suffolk last year were committed by young children that the law says are not old enough to be involved in criminal activity.

This poses a huge problem for society - how should we deal with youngsters who the law says are too young to understand the difference between right and wrong but could turn into the problem criminals of the future?

Of course many of those who are troublesome in their earliest years may sort themselves out once they grow up - but others will need support of authorities to help keep them on the straight and narrow.

It is especially frightening that several of these very young children were involved in crimes of violence and of a sexual nature.

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It is right that they should not be subject to harsh punishment at such a tender age, but society has a right to expect that the authorities will help to ensure that these young children are taught how to behave properly.

And it is certainly right that the authorities should look at the family circumstances of children who are habitual irritants to society and see what help and support they can offer to their parents.

In all these circumstances the interests of the children must be paramount - but we also have to ensure that society as a whole is confident that we are not preparing a new generation of criminals to clog up the courts over the decades to come.

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