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Most Youth Retail Offenders Not Engaged In School

Data obtained by National shows that a staggering number of youth offenders committing retail crime are not engaged in school or even enrolled, National’s Police spokesperson Mark Mitchell says.

“Of the 959 kids that have been caught offending at retail premises so far this year, just 11 per cent are ‘well engaged’ in school. Most of the remaining kids are reported to have some issues, have irregular attendance, or aren’t enrolled at all.

“This is a complete failure from Chris Hipkins on two fronts. Firstly, school attendance has fallen off a cliff under his leadership as Education Minister. In Term 2 of this year, less than 40 per cent of children attended school regularly.

“Secondly, his soft-on-crime approach as Police Minister has created a permissive environment where young people feel emboldened to go out and commit crime because they know there will not be consequences.

“These are tragic circumstances. Because they are not in school, more children are becoming engaged in youth gangs and are far more likely to continue on to more serious offending in adult gangs as a result.

“Rather than turning a blind eye to the rampant crime wave, Labour needs to ensure that youth offenders face consequences proportionate to the harm they inflict, as well as implement support to help these young offenders on a better pathway.

“National will bring back tougher consequences, both to slow down the wave of youth crime but also to rescue vulnerable kids before it is too late."

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