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Police data sheds light on juvenile crime

The Royal Gibraltar Police has arrested juveniles on around 600 separate occasions over the past three years, mostly in connection with thefts and burglaries.

Of those overall arrests, some individual juveniles have been detained multiple times in connection with separate offences.

The statistics were released to the Chronicle following a recent spike in juvenile crime that has placed a spotlight on how Gibraltar deal’s with young offenders.

Last week, Childline said its Appropriate Adult service had attended more call-outs in the past six weeks than it usually does in an entire year.

Over the past three years theft has been the most common offence for which juveniles have been arrested, ranging from petty shoplifting to stealing vehicles.

Second to this in 2015 came drug offences, mostly for small amounts.

In 2016 “offences against the person” such as common assaults, actual bodily harm and intentional harassment were common.

This year, due to the recent spate of juvenile crime, breaches of bail have become a common offence for youngsters.

Since April this year the Royal Gibraltar Police has arrested juveniles on 54 occasions, with a total of 16 youngsters committing offences.

As in previous years, the overall number of arrests is pushed north by repeat offenders.

This year two juveniles have each been arrested on nine occasions and a further two have been arrested five times.

But despite the recent spate of arrests, the RGP’s historical data suggests the number of juvenile offences this year is actually down on previous years.

Between April 2016 and March 2017 there were 284 instances of juveniles being arrested, with a total of 101 individuals detained. Of these 101 juveniles, six were arrested 10 or more times with one individual arrested 20 times within a year.

In the previous year between April 2015 and March 2016 there were 269 occasions where juveniles were arrested.

A total of 104 juveniles were arrested with five arrested 10 times or more. One juvenile was arrested 22 times that year.

The arrests have been predominantly for burglaries, with theft and burglary remaining the most common juvenile offences over the past three years.

There are currently three juveniles aged between 13 and 17 remanded in HM Windmill Hill Prison on charges of burglary.

The juveniles admitted to the offences and were remanded due to breaches of bail.

An RGP spokesman told the Chronicle crimes tend to peak around Christmas time when more burglaries are reported. However, this year there have been several instances of burglary in August.

Childline Gibraltar said the charity’s volunteer Appropriate Adults had been called out 26 times within the space of six weeks, although multiple juveniles were often the subject of a single call-out.

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