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Last Updated: Friday September 22 2006 07:06 GMT

Crime age for kids 'should go up'

Police car

Kids who are accused of committing a crime can be sent to court at the age of 10 in England and Wales - but some people say this is too young.

It's known as the age of "criminal responsibility" - meaning the age when children know right from wrong.

Experts are calling for the age to go up from 10 to 14 in a report that says too many young kids are going to court.

They want the government to focus on educating these kids and giving them help and support instead.

The report was prepared for the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies in London.

Unhappy

The man who wrote it, Rob Allen, told the BBC that many children who turn to crime come from unhappy backgrounds and have often not been to school.

"I don't think they have reached the point of development that you could safely say they do know right from wrong," he said.

Responsibility

The government says it has no plans to make any changes at this stage.

A spokesman said the current rules "help young people develop a sense of personal responsibility for their misbehaviour".



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