More than a dozen thefts committed by children in North Yorkshire, new figures say

There were more than a dozen thefts committed by children in North Yorkshire last year, new figures show.
Prison Guards make last minute checks to the Woman's wing.Prison Guards make last minute checks to the Woman's wing.
Prison Guards make last minute checks to the Woman's wing.

The latest Youth Justice Statistics show 14 theft offences recorded by North Yorkshire Police were committed by children aged 10 to 17 in the year to March 2023 – up slightly from 11 the year before.

It follows trends across England and Wales where the number of theft and handling stolen goods offences committed by young people jumped 23% from 2,200 in 2021-22 to 2,700 crimes last year.

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However, Dr Tim Bateman, chair of the National Association for Youth Justice, said it was important to highlight offences of theft and handling stolen goods are "towards the lower end of seriousness".

"While we should not be complacent about any rise, it is encouraging that more serious offences, such as robbery and violence have continued to fall over the past year," he added.

Overall, young people committed 430 crimes in North Yorkshire last year. It marked a 65% decline in offences by the cohort over the past decade.

The highest proportion of recorded crimes last year were categorised as violence against the person (37%) – which ranges from minor offences such as harassment to serious offences like murder.

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A spokesperson for the Youth Justice Board said: "The earlier we intervene to support children who are vulnerable, the more likely they will go on to live constructive lives.

"This will result in less crime, fewer victims, and safer communities."

In North Yorkshire, a total of 150 children were cautioned or sentenced in 2022-23.

Dr Bateman called for greater transparency in the decision-making process as to which children are cautioned or prosecuted, and which are not.

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A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said the number of children entering the criminal justice system has fallen by 72% since 2012 with an even greater reduction in those receiving a caution or sentence.