One in five teenagers admits committing crime

Click to follow
The Independent Online

More than a fifth of teenagers and young adults have admitted committing a crime in the past year, while nearly a third of primary school-age children in Bristol are displaying "problem behaviour" such as fighting, arson, drinking or stealing.

The Home Office snap-shot of offending among young people emerged as the Government set out sweeping plans to tackle youth crime. Families will be given specialist advice on controlling delinquent youngsters; after-school police patrols will be stepped up and more youth centres will open at evenings and weekends. Ministers will also press courts to "name and shame" more repeat offenders aged under 18.

A Home Office report yesterday disclosed that 22 per cent of people aged between 10 and 25 admitted committing a crime over the previous year. Ten per cent confessed to serious offences, including mugging, burglary, car theft, serious assault or selling class A drugs. Three per cent said they had carried a knife.

Separate Home Office research among 6,000 children aged eight to 10 in Bristol found that 30 per cent owned up to "problem behaviours".

The Government has set a target of cutting the number of youngsters caught up in the criminal justice system from 100,000 to 80,000 by 2020. Its youth crime action plan emphasised early intervention with 20,000 families whose children are considered most likely to offend. They will be required to undergo a scheme designed to improve behaviour, with the possibility of eviction from council property if they refuse to co-operate.

Ministers would be asking judges to consider widening the number of cases in which 16 and 17-year-old offenders could be publicly named. But the Children's Society said the move could turn convictions into a "badge of honour".

Dominic Grieve, the shadow Home Secretary, said antisocial behaviour was increasing, despite a decade of "endless initiatives".