Young offenders are getting younger all
the time. In the past the average age was
probably seventeen or eighteen but nowadays
we find ourselves dealing with kids of thirteen
and fourteen, and even younger.
The other week we were called to a house
where the burglar alarm had gone off and
we found these kids hiding in the garden
with the things they'd just stolen from
the house and one was fourteen and the other
was only twelve.
So really what they need is sort of stricter
control and rules and I know that lots of
people think we're too tolerant and that
it's our fault and I suppose it's partly
true that we find it difficult to say no
to them sometimes.
It's not easy I mean you want your kids
to have the same as everyone else. I think
the problem is nowadays that children get
bored and that's why they do these things
to get a bit of excitement.
So then I looked at her and said, aren't
you ashamed of yourself trying to rob an
old lady pensioner? I could be your grandmother.
And you know what she did? She spat at me
and then she laughed and then she just ran
off with my handbag. I was so angry.
The trouble is that most of us just feel
helpless - we can't do anything. They're
just not interested and what's worse - they
distract and disrupt the other kids who
do want to learn, and sometimes they insult
us or even get violent. The problem is that
they don't have enough discipline at home.
When I was doing my research I talked to
a lot of young people in schools and I asked
them if they thought a fine would stop them
committing a crime and they said no it wouldn't.
They said that the only thing they were
frightened of was getting sent to prison.
I've also spoken to the police, social workers,
lawyers, and they all agree that fines and
community service just aren't working.