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I read in the news today that 3,000 crimes were committed in England and Wales last year by children. As these kids were all under ten and therefore below the age of criminal responsibility, the little thugs cannot be held accountable and basically get off with a warning; the crime is recorded by the police however (yeah, big deal!).
What I find even more worrying is the fact that the well known charity The Children's Society would quite happily see age of criminal responsibility raised to fourteen! Well, are they blind or something? Do they somehow think that such a bold move would suddenly reduce the amount crime committed by youngsters, or 'teenagers' as would then be the case.
I'm sure some of the figures would show a drop in crime, but in the long run it would be a slap on the wrists (or not), and then back out on the streets to vandalise someones car or terrorise some old biddy.
In Scotland the age of criminal responsibility is eight, although parents would deal with all but the most serious crimes until the age of sixteen, however the law can (and will) punish little hooligans if need be.
The parents should be held accountable
Personally I wouldn't want to see the current age of criminal responsibility reduced any further in England, but I think that it certainly should not be raised to fourteen. Furthermore, I think up until the age of ten the parents should be held accountable as if they committed the crime themselves and if anything, the penalty should be more severe.
I believe the behaviour of these children is a direct result of their upbringing. Of course this might all be a symptom of the way society is changing. After all, parents aren't exactly encouraged to discipline their kids any more and school teachers are equally impotent when it comes to correcting the behaviour of unruly pupils. Perhaps that is another gripe though.