Knife crime is continually hitting the news headlines, as we are seeing a significant rise in the number of knife crime offences committed. In England and Wales, there were 43,516 knife crime offences in the 12 months ending March 2019. This is an 80% increase from the year ending March 2014, and the prevalence of this type of crime is not showing any sign of reducing.
One of the key groups of people impacted by knife crime are the under-18s, with one in five people cautioned, reprimanded or convicted for carrying a knife in England and Wales being under the age of 18.
However, violent crime is not the only type of crime where youth offending is apparently on the rise. Under-18s are increasingly being used as drug runners in ‘County Lines’ operations, where they are being groomed and exploited in order to traffic drugs to suburban locations.
These two examples of criminal behaviour raise questions around the age of criminal responsibility and what factors need to be taken into account when considering prosecution of young people. This masterclass will explore these issues with reference to actual case studies involving young offenders, and students will debate questions such as whether the age of criminal responsibility should be raised and whether harsher sentences for specific crimes impacting young people have the desired effect.
Careers in the justice system can include roles focused on the prediction, prevention and investigation of offences, in addition to the reduction of reoffending, the rehabilitation of offenders and support services for victims. We can close the visit with a talk outlining what careers paths are available with a Criminology degree, how students can enter different careers and where opportunities are likely to develop in the future.