Children as young as nine arrested – but police chief says it’s ‘normal’

Barking and Dagenham borough commander SultanTaylor.

Barking and Dagenham borough commander SultanTaylor. - Credit: Archant

Children as young as nine are getting arrested in Barking and Dagenham but the borough’s policing chief has described this as “normal”.

Stephen Addison, founder of Box Up Crime

Stephen Addison, founder of Box Up Crime - Credit: Archant

A host of crimes including theft, robbery, arson and GBH led to the detention of children aged 11 and under between 2010 and 2014.

The figures, revealed following a Freedom of Information request by the Post, resulted in a range of outcomes including charge, caution and bail.

But borough commander Sultan Taylor insists there is nothing to worry about.

“From my experience with other boroughs, Barking and Dagenham is no different,” he said. “This is a normal age distribution of crimes over age ranges.

“We make sure that our Safer Neighbourhood teams help raise awareness of criminal activity and work with schools to ensure children understand right and wrong behaviour.

“All we can do is try and improve the quality of life for everyone that lives, works and plays in the borough.”

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But not everyone is satisfied that enough is being done.

Stephen Addison, 24, of Levine Gardens, Barking, launched his own boxing academy, Box Fit,in a bid to keep young people away from crime.

“A lot of people seem to think that the young won’t get involved in crime because they’re innocent kids, but they don’t realise when you’re surrounded by it and there’s nothing else to do, it starts to become attractive,” he said.

“There needs to be more positive alternatives for children to get involved with.”

The Post can also reveal the oldest person to be arrested in the borough over the past five years was 88.

Elderly offenders aged 77 and over were arrested for crimes including common assault, criminal damage, affray and sexual offences.