The number of recorded offences by children under 10 has shown a huge increase since 2012, figures from West Yorkshire Police reveal.
According to koodakpress، There were 181 such crimes recorded in 2012 but this had risen to 1,002 in 2016 – the last year with full figures.
Children under 10 cannot be legally responsible for a crime but the police do record them in statistics.
The most common offence was violent crime with 540 instances recorded in 2016.
This was an increase of about 750% on the 63 offences by under 10s recorded in 2014.
Tony Thompson, a crime expert and writer, said: “Kids are being introduced to this [crime] at a much younger age. You also have a situation where kids in gangs have got younger siblings.
“They’re not only getting involved because they’re seeing the money being made but are also being used by some of the older kids because they can’t be charged with the offence themselves and can’t go to prison.”
Mr Thompson said young children were even being used to transport drugs and weapons and could often start a young as seven or eight years old.
The figures are contained in a FOI request to West Yorkshire Police released this month.
If a child was under the age of criminal responsibility “we would not necessarily arrest or detain them”, the force said.
“If it is decided to arrest and bring a young person into custody, the length of time that they are detained is kept to the minimum possible.
“All decisions to arrest are fully documented and ensure that policies and procedures relating to children in custody are followed,” it added.
Crime classifications were based on Home Office counting rules for recorded crime, said the force.