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Last Updated: Sunday September 02 2007 12:46 GMT

Under 10s commit loads of crimes


Almost 3,000 crimes were committed last year in England and Wales by kids too young to be taken to court.

About half of these were cases of criminal damage, like vandalism, and arson, which is deliberately setting fire to something.

But the children can't be punished in the courts, because they're under 10 years old.

Although it seems like a large number, there were actually 5.5million crimes committed over the same time.

The figures are from a BBC report which got information from 32 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales.

And if you're under 10, although you can't be tried at court, there are other ways of making sure it doesn't happen again, such as putting you under a special supervision order.

Criminal responsibility

The age which you can be sent to court varies from country to country. In Scotland it is eight, in Northern Ireland it is 10, in some American states it is six and in France it is 13.

The age when you can be sent to court is known as the age of "criminal responsibility" - meaning the age when children should know right from wrong.

Experts have been campaigning for the age in the UK to go up to 14.

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