Since 2011 detectives have investigated 95 rapes and 214 sexual offences involving child suspects, with no action taken in around half of all cases
- By Josh Layton
The alarming extent of child crime, showing thousands as young as 10 are being arrested for rape and other violent offences, is today revealed by a Daily Mirror investigation.
And only a fraction of these offenders, barely over the age of criminal responsibility, appear in youth courts over sex crimes, kidnap, drug dealing and firearms.
Police in England and Wales made 8,511 arrests of youngsters aged 10 to 12 over the past two years, figures released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal.
Community worker Pat Reid, who runs children’s projects in South London, said: “This is shocking. Families are suffering benefits cuts while youth clubs and children’s services have been decimated.”
Since 2011 detectives have investigated 95 rapes and 214 sexual offences involving child suspects, with no action taken in around half of all cases. More than a quarter were dealt with outside court through warnings, reprimands and cautions. Police also made 2,000 arrests for violence, 480 for robbery and nine for firearms offences.
The disturbing statistics come in the wake of a Children’s Commissioner report last month showing more than 2,400 children, some as young as 11, are victims of sexual exploitation by similar-aged gangs.
Mr Reid, who runs social enterprise projects to steer youngsters away from crime, added: “There’s been an abandonment of this age group by the Government and the lifestyles of young children need to be looked at holistically rather than just through exams.”
The Met Police investigated the most rapes with 37 cases – of which 14 were discontinued and one was dealt with by a final warning.
Two suspects were aged 10, with no further action taken in one case and the other still awaiting a decision. Only one of the arrests resulted in a charge. Detectives in Northants arrested two 12-year-olds for manslaughter and an 11-year-old for threats to kill. No details were given on the outcomes but none was charged. Officers in South Yorkshire issued a reprimand for a sex assault and gave another child a warning for the same offence.
In North Wales a 10-year-old was arrested for rape, with no further action taken. And in South Wales police made an arrest for drug trafficking in another discontinued case.
But the overall figures are likely to be higher as West Midlands and Gwent police failed to provide figures.
Children under the criminal responsibility age of 10 in England and Wales cannot be arrested or charged.
Following the Office of the Children’s Commissioner report, inquiry head Sue Berelowitz warned sexual violence was being seen as “normal and inevitable” by a disturbingly large number of young children, and offences were being fuelled by teenage boys having easy access to pornography.
She said: “Girls feel it’s an inevitable part of growing up in their neighbourhood and there’s no point in telling anybody because nothing will change. It’s an extremely serious situation.”
Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said: “It is a sad indictment on society that young children are becoming involved in serious crimes of this nature.
“Parents must take a lead but the government must also play its part.
“That is why the coalition government is using the expertise of our gangs and youth violence frontline team, to change attitudes and to stop children from getting drawn into a life of crime.”
A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers said: “We recognise young people may become victims or offenders, sometimes both. Where they are offenders we seek to ensure a range of intervention options are available.
“The priority is to take the most appropriate action based on circumstances and risk so as not to unnecessarily criminalise young people.”
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Boy, 10, on bail after OAP is killed in street bust-up
A boy aged 10 was arrested over the death of a pensioner described as the “grandad of his community”.
Victor Hepworth, 79, collapsed and died after an alleged row with three youths just yards from his front door.
A woman claimed she saw them trying to pull a plastic bag from the churchgoer’s hands.
Moments later he was found unconscious with blood pouring from a gash over his left eye, possibly after falling to the floor. He is believed to have suffered a heart attack.
Abul Hasam, 28, who tended to his neighbour as an ambulance rushed to the scene in Harehills, Leeds, in October said: “He was blue, there was blood everywhere. I checked his pulse, his heart – nothing. He was gone.”
Another local, Thomina Begum, 27, said: “He was the community grandad.”
A postmortem revealed Mr Hepworth, who is believed to have had a heart condition, did not die from his head injury. Tests are still ongoing.
West Yorkshire Police said yesterday that the suspect is on bail as the investigation continues.
Brother copied porn as he abused sister
A boy of 12 raped his little sister as he copied acts he had watched in hard-core porn films downloaded online.
The lad abused the girl for a year when they were at a relative’s home where they shared a bedroom.
He had become addicted to porn he downloaded with a friend at school.
The boy was given a three-year rehabilitation order after admitting three counts of rape.
He will be registered as a sex offender for two and a half years.
The boy has not been separated from his parents, who attended his hearing at Newport crown court last month. Judge Thomas Crowther QC said: “The internet is not a benign babysitter.”