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Children's robbery and drug crimes up.

THE numbers of robbery, public order and drug-related offences committed by children have risen for the first time in years, official figures show.

Increases in the three categories were at odds with reductions seen across much of the youth justice system.

Under-18s were convicted or cautioned in relation to a total of 70,349 crimes in Wales and England in 2017/18.

This tally has fallen by threequarters in a decade, and dipped by 4% compared with the previous 12 months.

Year-on-year decreases were recorded across all offence groups except: | Robbery, which increased by 15% to 2,355 offences, having fallen in each of the previous three years; | Public order offences, which had previously seen falls in each of the last 10 years, but increased by 9% to 5,248; and | Drugs offences, which rose by 2% to nearly 6,000, after having previously seen long-term falls.

The figures are detailed in a report published by the Ministry of Justice, which also showed that "violence against the person" offences now account for more than a quarter of crimes committed by children.

There were 20,111 offences in this category, which was down slightly year on year.

But as a proportion of the total number of crimes it has increased to 29%, compared with 19% a decade earlier.

The paper said: "Whilst the number of violence against the person offences has fluctuated, they have been steadily increasing as a proportion of all offences over the last ten years."

It comes amid mounting concern over knife crime.

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 2, 2019
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