From today's Telegraph. Scary statistics. Come on B Liar - tough on crime and all that. These are just kids and not those nasty terrorists.
Millions of young people 'on wrong side of the law'
By Philip Johnston, Home Affairs Editor
Almost three million young people aged between 10 and 25 have been involved in crime or anti-social behaviour in the past year, according to Home Office figures published yesterday.Half were classified as serious or frequent offenders and about 22 per cent admitted to using drugs - even trying them when they were as young as eight. The figures emerged from the Offending, Crime and Justice Survey designed to establish the true level of juvenile crime. The conventional British Crime Survey does not include offences committed by children under 16.Researchers sought the views of a sample of 5,000 young people and asked whether they had committed any of 20 specific crimes, including burglary, thefts, robberies, assaults and drug dealing. A quarter had committed at least one of the offences in the past year. From this, they extrapolated that, across the country, about 1.6 million had committed a property crime and 1.7 million a violent offence. Half a million had committed at least one or more serious offence. The survey group was also asked about anti-social behaviour such as graffiti - admitted to by three per cent - or being "noisy or rude in a public place", which was conceded by 16 per cent.The most common offences were assault (16 per cent) and theft (12 per cent). However, of the sample, only small proportions had been arrested or sentenced in the courts.
Richard Garside, the director of the Crime and Society Foundation, said: "It's hardly a shock to find that many children and young people commit some crime. But on the Home Office's own definitions one young person in every eight is a serious offender, and one in every 12 is a prolific offender. Does this not call into question the point of such definitions?" David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said: "This report demonstrates the extent of the problem there now exists with crime among young people. We need root and branch reform." Separate research showed that almost half of prolific young offenders on a flagship community sentence breached their conditions or were thrown off the programme.