Gloucestershire Echo: Child yobs cause chaos in the county

Tuesday, 19 May, 2009

Child yobs as young as 10, known by police for their persistent offending, are causing havoc in the city, towns, and villages across Gloucestershire.

New figures have led to claims that Labour has failed to protect the region after a "decade of yobbery" and the party has failed to live up to its promise of tackling the causes of crime.

The statistics on the number of children repeatedly convicted for offences has more than doubled since Labour came to power 12 years ago.

A persistent young offender is a juvenile aged between 10 and 17 found guilty in court on three or more separate occasions for one or more recordable offence, and who is arrested again within three years of their last sentence.

Official Ministry of Justice figures show there were 543 in the South West when Labour came to power in 1997.

The number had more than doubled to 1,147 last year. There were 164 recorded in Gloucestershire.

Nationally, the number of persistent young offenders rose 60 per cent from 9,868 in 1997 to 15,819 last year.

Shadow Police Minister David Ruffley said: "These new figures show that Labour Ministers have presided over a decade of yobbery, fuelled by massive increases in the number of repeat young offenders.

"These figures make a mockery of Labour's promises to tackle youth crime - there have been 46 Labour strategies since 1997 to try and tackle youth crime and it's now clear they have failed."

Justice Minister David Hanson said: "Young offenders are now being dealt with twice as quickly as they were prior to 1997, which means there are much shorter intervals between sentencing occasions for those youths who repeatedly offend."