More than 40 children nine-years-old and under investigated for offences in 2020

Kent Police officers Photo Frank Leppard

By Local Democracy Reporter Katie May Nelson

Forty-four children aged nine and under were investigated by police in Thanet in 2020.

Kent Police recorded the incidents for suspects under 10-years-old, which is the age of criminal responsibility in England.

Anyone under that age cannot be arrested or charged with a crime.

Medway had the highest number of investigations in 2020 at 70 with Dover second highest with 50. And while Medway also topped the list for the average annual number of investigations since 2017, Thanet was second.

The figures were revealed after the Local Democracy Reporting Service asked Kent Police for a breakdown of how many crimes were investigated when the suspect was under 10.

The force provided numbers relating to suspects who were aged nine or younger at the time of recording the incident.

Average number of criminal investigations where the suspect was under 10 each year since 2017:

Medway – 84

Thanet – 59

Dover – 55

Swale – 54

Maidstone – 40

Folkestone and Hythe – 36

Canterbury – 35

Ashford – 33

Dartford – 26

Sevenoaks – 24

Gravesham – 23

Tonbridge and Malling – 20

Tunbridge Wells – 13

The most frequent offence reportedly carried out by under 10s was violence against the person.

Top five offence types for criminal investigations carried out between 2017 and 2020 where the suspect was under 10:

Violence against the person – 1,217

Sexual offences – 337

Arson and criminal damage – 189

Theft – 97

Public order offences – 82

Other crimes included robbery, burglary, possession of weapons and drugs and vehicle offences.

While children under 10 cannot be arrested or charged, there are alternative methods of dealing with them which include restorative justice.

This is when offenders are encouraged to reach an agreement with their victims, which could be done through writing a letter of apology or repairing any damage caused.

Supt Pete Steenhuis, head of partnerships at Kent Police said: “We at Kent Police recognise that the vast majority of young children are not naturally drawn to crime, and that there are often underlying reasons such as abuse, neglect or trauma that lead some to behave in ways most others do not.

“It is therefore important that these children receive the appropriate level of support and guidance, which the police service is not always best placed to provide.

“In many cases, a child will benefit more from intervention by social services or youth offending teams to understand the reasons behind their behaviour, rather than through engagement with the criminal justice system at such a young age.

“We are however committed to safeguarding all children regardless of whether they are above or below the age of criminal responsibility, and are creating a dedicated team of schools officers who will seek to identify and disrupt criminal activity, protect vulnerable children, be a positive influence and reduce fear of crime.

“For those aged under 10, the Youth Justice Team provide guidance and support to officers in respect of appropriate early intervention routes to enable those children to access the right support services.”

Under 10s can also be made the subject of a Local Child Curfew which bans the child from being in public between 9pm and 6am unless they are with an adult.

They could also be handed a Child Safety Order where they are placed under the supervision of a youth offending team. If the rules aren’t adhered to, a court can consider whether the child ought to be taken into care.

Mr Steenhuis added: “It is hoped that by early 2022, most secondary schools, pupil referral units and independent specialist schools in Kent will each have a dedicated officer who will support students, teachers and parents, and we will also continue to work with and support our primary schools.

“Our dedicated Youth Justice Team ensure young people aged 10-18 who have committed an offence receive a proportionate outcome in partnership with local authorities.

“In addition to this, we are also continuing to work closely with the Medway Integrated Prevention Service and Kent’s Youth Inclusion Support Programme, which can help to identify a young person’s likelihood of offending and attempt to address any needs they may have.”

Dedicated Kent Police ‘schools officers’ to be in place in Thanet as part of county-wide programme


  1. The clue is in the name, children. It’s the parents / guardians who should be investigated. All too often children are allowed to do as they please and get into mischief and dangerous antics. The older children in so-called care homes are allowed to get involved in criminally. Just so long as the staff have an easy shift.

  2. One wonders how these figures compare to when parents could punish their children for serious offences, without retribution.
    We are slipping (quite rapidly) into an age of moronic individuals allowed to do what they want, without fear, and a bunch of soft Judges unable to make punishment to fit a crime.
    Time to emigrate.

    • The world is passing through troublous times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behaviour and dress.”
      (From a sermon preached by Peter the Hermit in A.D. 1274)

    • Well said Robster, there is no longer a deterrent. . The bleeding heart liberal brigade have handed the power to the criminals and the feral kids. I am unfortunate enough to know a lot of these feral kids and they openly admit that there is no punishment anymore and that’s why they act out. They are fully aware of the harm and hurt they cause but they simply don’t care. I also know a few policemen and they are sick of arresting the same people time and time again only for pathetically liberal judges to give them another chance to reoffend without consequence.
      Liberal judges and left wing social workers are eroding the boundaries that criminals once feared. The perpetrators are now classed as the victims and the rest of us, the law abiding part of society are now left to live with utter scum roaming the streets with impunity.
      Until liberal judges and left leaning social workers are held to account for their part in the breakdown of society they will continue to push their progressive agenda and the rest of us will suffer the consequences.
      Parents of these feral kids and young offenders also need to be held accountable for their failures as parents.

      • Interesting view. Especially as the last 42 years have had 28 of them under Conservative right wing control. Is it not the case that the prevailing government set the laws?
        Is it not the case that outcomes for sentencing are guided by the sentencing council which is chaired by Lord Justice Holroyde who was appointed in 2018 under a conservative government and is it not the case that membership of the council is set by Robert Buckland, who is the Conservative Secretary of State for Justice?

        Is it not a fact that the Children and social work act came statute in 2017 under a conservative right wing government?

        Is it not a fact that there are over 30,000 children and young people in Thanet? I doubt that you have interacted with one thousandth of that number.

        What you have done is published a your own warped world view not based upon either research or fact and for that I pity you.

  3. Roster and Concerned, couldn’t agree more but we now have feral kids producing more feral kids because what little intelligence they have, they have figured out the system benefits them.

  4. I am one of 10 kids brought up in the 50s 60s mum and dad never had a telly for entertainment. 🙂
    My parents run a busy North London Pub. None of us were punished as being smacked. All of us have had long marriages and none have had a divorce. We knew from a very young age what was right and what was wrong none had any and dealings with the police except 3 of us did join the police force for long careers . The others all had good jobs in the NHS and newspapers and science. My parents brought a house in Ramsgate in 1955 that they used as a holiday home which we still own today.

  5. Ben C. The Tories might be in power but it’s the lefties and minorities who hold the real power. The vast majority of people are now afraid to voice an opinion in fear of being classified as racist or bigoted. The minority controls the narrative because they shout louder. The Government panders to the minority and the extreme left who excel in making the majority suppress their feelings.
    Every time the government tries to bring in laws the extremists on the left accuse them of being racist or picking in the poor and immediately the government caves in to the vocal minority.
    The real bigots are the left who oppose all debate and suppress the opinions of the majority and are intolerant to any viewpoints other than their own.
    The vast majority of kids are decent kids and nowhere did I put that they are all bad. Stop making things up and take a step into the real world. Rose tinted glasses are fine but one day you have to take them off.

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