By Tom Whitehead
Robberies committed by young girls increased by a quarter, public order offences were up a third and the numbers responsible for racially aggravated offences more than doubled, Ministry of Justice figures show.
Overall, almost 58,000 crimes were carried out by girls aged ten to 18 last year, up 22 per cent in five years and the equivalent of around 159 offences every day.
The report found there is a “degree of convergence between the sexes” for certain offences.
Shadow Justice Secretary, Dominic Grieve said: “This is a damning indictment of broken Britain under a Labour Government. Ministers must get a grip of this shocking trend.”
The study found 15,413 girls aged ten to 18 committed violent offences in 2007/08, up 48 per cent on 2003/04.
Public order offences by them were up 37 per cent to 5,852, robbery up 26 per cent to 885, criminal damage up 23 per cent to 5,509 and racially aggravated offences increased 113 per cent to 748.
The rise of the so-called “ladette” culture was highlighted last summer when figures showed 239 women and girls are arrested every day for suspected violent attacks.
The latest MoJ study found women, of all ages, were arrested for 251,000 offences in total in 2006/07, up 18 per cent on 2002/03.
It also showed some 17 per cent of females aged 25 or under admitted to committing a crime in 2006, compared to just 11 per cent in 1998/99, while men stayed the same at around 26 per cent.
Half of all violent offences are linked with alcohol, fuelling further concerns that the “ladette” culture of binge drinking is now turning more and more violent.
The rise in crimes committed by young girls also coincided with a drop of nine per cent – or around 20,000 offences – for boys over the same five year period.
Figures from the Youth Justice Board last year said teenage girls carrying out more than 40 violent attacks a day – a picture reflected again in the latest statistics – and said offences by girls have soared by 25 per cent in three years.
The MoJ study said: “It is possible that girls’ willingness to admit offences has increased in tandem with society’s expectations about their behaviour.”
A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: “The Government recognises the importance of identifying the specific needs of women in the criminal justice system to better inform policy. Women and men experience the criminal justice system differently, whether they are victims, suspects, defendants or offenders.
“The Government is also committed to diverting vulnerable women, who are not serious or dangerous offenders, from custody.
“We will not successfully reduce women’s offending unless we address the particular factors which lead them to offend. To help support a more community-based response, we have established new initiatives to tackle women’s offending in the community. ”