New Government crime announcement: Serious repeat offenders aged between 10 and 13 to get 'fast-tracked intervention'

The Government says it's taking further steps to tackle growing youth crime, announcing a "circuit-breaker" to crack down on young repeat offenders. 

Children aged between 10 and 13 who repeatedly engaged in serious offending would have a fast-track intervention introduced within 24 to 48 hours of crimes being committed.

Funding of $2 million would also be spread across four regions - Auckland, Waikato, Northland and Bay of Plenty - to fund locally-led solutions to reduce youth crime.

The announcement was an extension of the Government's $53 million "Better Pathways" package announced in September. 

"While the youth justice system can act as a circuit-breaker for young people aged 14 to 17, there is a small number of children aged 10-13 who continue to re-offend at a high rate," Children's Minister Kelvin Davis said. "The new response will mean when a child is identified or apprehended by police for offending behaviour, information will be shared with Oranga Tamariki within 24 hours, with an agreed plan on how to deal with and support the young person confirmed in 48 hours."

The "circuit-breaker" was intended to break the cycle of offending and continue reducing ram-raids, Police Minister Chris Hipkins said.

"Approaches like this work," he said in a statement. 

"They are already used in various parts of the country, sometimes led by community organisations, and often in partnership with police."

The Government's measures "are proven to be effective at reducing crime", Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni added.

"We're doing what works, unlike National's boot camps that have a record of failure," she said.

"The data shows that many of the children and young people who have engaged in offending behaviours are experiencing complex difficulties in their lives, including violence in the home and disengagement from education. This funding… allows us to deal with and respond to the needs of children and young people who are doing the offending, as well as their families to help change the environment they are living in."

In the first six months of 2022, there were 254 ram raids - a 518 percent increase from the same months in 2018. 

A police report found 76 percent of ram raids were committed by youths under 17 years old, with 17 percent being under 13.