Daily Mail: The child crimewave; how robberies, sex attacks and drug offences have soared

Tuesday, 17 March, 2009

ROBBERY, drug offences and sex attacks by children have rocketed since Labour came to power, alarming figures reveal today.

An analysis of the types of crime being committed by ten to 17-year-olds show rises of up to 140 per cent in some categories since 1997.

Tory police spokesman David Ruffley, who uncovered the research, said it was yet more depressing evidence that the Government had presided over a 'decade of yobbery'.

Mr Ruffley's analysis shows that, between 1997 and 2007, the number of children being sentenced by the courts for robbery increased by 76 per cent - from 2,343 to 4,115.

Drugs offences surged by 142 per cent, despite Labour's selfstyled 'war on drugs'. There were 4,460 sentences handed down in 2007, up from 1,845 a decade previously.

Criminal damage was up by 61 per cent, from 2,255 cases in 1997 to 3,623 in 2007, despite being the target of Tony Blair's now abandoned 'respect agenda'.

And, alarmingly, children were also sentenced for an increased number of sex offences. There were 532 children sentenced, up 14 per cent.

Motoring offences by children not even able to drive legally have also risen by 12 per cent, from 10,760 to 12,076.

Mr Ruffley said: 'The new Parliamentary figures that I have unearthed show a huge increase in the last ten years in the number of ten to 17-year- olds sentenced for serious offences - including violence against the person, robbery, illegal driving, drugs offences, criminal damage and sex offences.

'Labour has presided over a depressing decade of yobbery.'

It follows equally worrying statistics earlier this month showing that, over the past three years, crime among teenagers has been surging.

The figures from the Youth Justice Board - which cover all types of punishment given to children, rather than just the sentences given in court - showed cases of robbery surging by 29 per cent between 2005 and last year to 6,669.

There were more than 30 robberies by children aged just ten. Violence against the person surged by a fifth from 44,988 to 53,930 offences, while drug crime and criminal damage were both up by 12 per cent.

The total number of offences by ten to 17-year-olds in 2007/08 was 277,986 - or more than one every two minutes.

Mr Ruffley's figures build on the Youth Justice Board's report by showing that the increases can be charted at least as far as 1997.

They also provide an insight into the fact that the most serious incidents of robbery and violence have been increasing.

While the YJB's statistics include warnings and other 'out of court disposals', Mr Ruffley's relate to only those criminals who got to court, and were therefore deemed to have considered the gravest offences.

The YJB's figures also revealed yet more evidence of a 'ladette' crimewave.

In 2004/05 young girls accounted for 18.4 per cent of all offences committed - in 2007/08 this figure increased to 20.9 per cent.

The number of offences by females resulting in a punishment increased by 10 per cent from 52,838 to 57,962. Girls were responsible for 15,400 violent attacks and 885 muggings.

The most common offences the women were responsible for were theft and handling stolen goods, violence and public order crimes such as drunkenness.

However the YJB insists that, overall, the number of offences committed by children in recent years is falling.

Frances Done, the YJB's chairman, said the majority of children are law abiding and know right from wrong'.

She said the small minority responsible for criminal behaviour was being targeted by youth offending teams, workers in children's services and the police across the country.