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'Nearly all children' have been victims of crime

Pretty arresting, as headlines go. So I investigated, and lo and indeed behold, it is my old mate Frances Crook and the Howard League engaging in shock tactics.

And what do they mean by crime? Erm, name calling, fighting, damage to property and the like. The press release does not give sourcing or data beyond headline figures, but notes "As part of the Citizenship and Crime project, an educational programme that ran in primary and secondary schools between 1997 and 2006, the Howard League for Penal Reform surveyed more than 3,000 children across the country over a period of seven years". So, no indication as to whether this is a socio-economic, ethnic, age, or geographically balanced set of 3000 children the HLPR quizzed, whether they were self-selecting etc etc, or whether in common with small people everywhere, they were giving the pursed-lipped clipboard holders the answers that they wanted. Leading questions too, maybe?

Anyway, the League is horrified by all of this youthful 'criminality', although perhaps its being appalled that children do not go the police to report that they have had their hair pulled, been called smelly or whatever should be tempered by this part of the law: The age of criminal responsibility in England is 10.

There is an element of recognition that it has set up the straw man to end all straw men:

"Although the incidents reported in the survey need to be taken seriously, they also need to be kept in context. Children are by very definition immature. Bullying or racist name-calling are to some extent simply children behaving as children and need to be dealt with proportionately and sensitively".

Well indeed. And what does the HLPR suggest?:

"The Howard League for Penal Reform believes that better solutions on dealing with child victimisation and crime can be found in expanding and developing conflict resolution and mediation-based techniques into educational programmes for schools".

I imagine they have a team of consultants ready to launch themselves on an unsuspecting populace, at very reasonable per diems, even as I type.

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Anonymous nomad said... 2:48 pm

As a 10 year old I was an arch-criminal! Yup, I got shouted at by a cop for riding my bike on the pavement early one Sunday morning (whilst doing my paper round) and also broke the 100 yards sprint record with a farmer after me having been caught scrumping an apple or two. Pass the handcuffs.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 2:57 pm

I too was quite the Napoleon of Crime. If I am prepared to turn myself in, do you suppose Frances will keep the 'conflict resolution and mediation' down to just a couple of days?  

Blogger Mountjoy said... 3:00 pm

I think there should be more bobbies on the beat, not the nutter who scared the life out of a kid for having a toy gun, but sensible ones who can deal with the dangerous, psychotic teenagers who are stalking our streets.  

Blogger Newmania said... 3:30 pm

Good one ....and I like the OZ post  

Blogger flashgordonnz said... 12:29 am

As a six year old, stuck a pipe out through the front hedge and shouted "boo" as people walked by. Don't think any of my victims were children, though.  

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