Rape, assaulting a police officer and burglary – just some of the crimes Flintshire children have committed due to alcohol
A freedom of information request has revealed 105 alcohol-related crimes have been committed by children in the past two years.
Details of the crimes committed in Flintshire range from rape and assault of a police officer to criminal damage and burglary – were made public following a Freedom of Information request from the Welsh Conservatives.
The data from each of Wales’ four police forces show that children as young as 10 are accessing alcohol and committing violent crime.
In the past two years 375 alcohol-related crimes have been committed by children in North Wales.
Looking at the wider Wales picture, South Wales Police reported 250 incidences; Dyfed Powys Police reported 182; while Gwent Police reported 105 incidences in the last year alone.
Wrexham had the highest number of offenders in North Wales and second highest in the whole of Wales with 113 arrests.
Some of the more disturbing crimes recorded were 11 accounts of rape in North Wales – with one offender aged just 13; five offences of racially or religiously aggravated incidences in South Wales, including actual bodily harm and beatings; 10 offences of drug possession in Dyfed-Powys; and four arrests for drink driving in Gwent.
Angela Burns AM, Welsh Conservative Shadow Secretary for Health, said:
“It’s clear from the data that alcohol is having a ruinous effect on many Welsh youngsters and the communities in which they live.
“As these crimes demonstrate, underage drinking is fuelling some heinous antisocial behaviour at a huge cost to the public purse and to the victims they affect.
“A criminal record also carries a cost; an offender’s life prospects are likely to be significantly diminished, affecting employment opportunities and even car insurance premiums.
“Police forces and health services need to work much more closely with schools to develop an effective programme of education warning children against the dangers of substance misuse.
“The numbers make plain the fact that the Labour-led Welsh Government’s strategy for tackling substance misuse is failing far too many of our most vulnerable members of society.
“More focus should be placed on empowering communities to respond to their problems which are often unique in nature and in scale to their locality.”
Mark Isherwood AM, Shadow Secretary for Social Justice, said:
“The cost to society of alcohol abuse is incalculable and is often a contributory factor in poor health, unwanted pregnancy and, as these figures show, youth crime.
“The deep-rooted causes of underage drinking must be tackled through interventions that are targeted at children and young people most vulnerable to this kind of behaviour – before they take a collision course with the law.
“The Welsh Government needs to work far better with head teachers and the voluntary and independent sectors to find innovative and joined up solutions to this unacceptable antisocial issue.”
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