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Police called to Kent children's homes 2,600 times in three years

PUBLISHED: 06:00 30 March 2016

Police station maidstone

Police station maidstone

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The figures were announced today (Wednesday)

Children’s homes in Kent have been attended by Kent police more than 2,600 times since 2013, it was revealed today.

The Howard League for Penal Reform revealed children living in homes are being criminalised at a much higher rate compared to others their age.

Among 13 to 15-year-olds, children living in homes are almost six times as likely to be criminalised as looked after children in other placements and almost 20 times more likely than a child not in care.

The charity suggests there is a problem with the current care system in England and Wales, leading to staff calling the police over minor incidents.

Findings have been published a report from charity, Criminal Care: Children’s homes and criminalising children.

The report states: “Levels of criminalisation of children in children’s homes increase dramatically between the ages of 13 and 15.

“The children who are being criminalised whilst teenagers are the same children who, when younger, were sympathetically viewed as vulnerable, innocent and highly deserving of society’s help and protection.

“There appears to be a ‘tipping point’ around the age of 13, at which time these children lose society’s sympathy and, rather than being helped, they are pushed into the criminal justice system.”

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “These children have been taken into care because they are in dire need and their parents cannot, or will not, look after them.

“They are wonderful young people who have had a really bad start in life. They deserve every chance to flourish.

“Private companies, charities and local authorities that are paid a fortune by the taxpayer should give these children what they need and deserve.”

The number of children going into care is at its highest point in 30 years.

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