Cambs police report 2-year-old

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Children as young as two have been reported to police for shoplifting it has been revealed.

A little girl aged two was reported to detectives last year on suspicion of theft.

The Freedom of Information Request to Cambridgeshire police revealed youngsters aged under 10 had been reported for dozens of crimes since 2009 to Cambridgeshire officers, including sexual, violent and dishonesty offences.

Police were unable to provide details of where the alleged offences happened, but revealed a five-year-old had been reported for rape in 2009, and a four-year-old for fraud by false representation in 2011.

One five year old was reported for inflicting grievous bodily harm in 2009, and children as young as six were reported for arson endangering life.

In total 214 offences had been called in to officers in the six years covered by the statistics.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire police said officers would speak to youngsters accused of committing crimes to prevent them from re-offending.

He said: “In most cases, we do not believe custody is a place for children because there are more effective methods which actually reduce the chances of re-offending.

“Restorative justice, which is often used when dealing with young first-time offenders, gives an officer the opportunity to resolve a situation successfully, with the approval of the victim, without arresting and criminalising the person responsible.

“The process gives victims the chance to tell offenders the real impact of their crime, to get answers to questions and an apology, while offenders are given the chance to take responsibility for what they’ve done and make amends but not acquire the stigma of a criminal record.”

The Freedom of Information Request also stated a six year old had been reported for murder last year - however a police spokesman said this was not the case, and had only appeared in the statistics because of an anomaly in the way it was recorded. He said the incident did not take place in 2014, was not a murder, and did not involve a child.