We Must Turn These Young Tearaways into Solid Citizens, Say Child Experts; Statistics Reveal an Unacceptable and Growing Trend in Juvenile Crime
Byline: Gareth Evans
SOCIETY has a responsibility to turn tearaway teens into law-abiding citizens, leading youth experts said last night.
The comments came after figures revealed that 7,521 children aged 15 and under were arrested in 2009 by the country's four police forces.
Crimes including arson, theft and criminal damage were reported in data gathered using the Freedom of Information Act by our sister paper, Wales on Sunday.
A nine-year-old child was detained for carrying a firearm or imitation with intent to cause fear of violence, and there were five children aged under-12 detained for sex offences.
Geraint Davies, policy officer for teaching union NASUWT in Wales, said the statistics were "unacceptable" and served to highlight a growth in juvenile crime.
"Maybe in this day and age, they don't shock as they should shock," said Mr Davies.
"As a society in general, we need to take a long, hard look at these statistics. They are not figures that should be accepted by a modern Welsh society."
Mr Davies said education providers had the same responsibility as everyone else in nurturing future generations.
"There will be those who point a finger at schools, but that should not be the case," he said.
"Schools, as part of their day-to-day education, will endeavour to turn their students into law-abiding citizens. But without the support and the input from other sections of society, especially the home and parents, there is a danger that the efforts of schools will fall on stoney ground.
"We need to embrace the role, not just of schools, but also of parents and the home in tackling these figures."
Figures released by Welsh police forces come after renewed public concern at child crime in wake of the recent re-arrest of Jamie Bulger killer Jon Venables.
South Wales Police arrested 2,932 children last year, with 122 of those aged under-12. The force arrested 762 children aged 15 or under for violent crime alone, including 32 younger than 12. …