Covid lockdowns will lead to future surge in violent criminals

Covid lockdowns will lead to future surge in violent criminals

British Covid lockdowns will lead to a future surge in violent criminals, new analysis has warned.

Experts have claimed that thousands more violent offenders have been created after ministers failed to get children back to school.

A generation of so-called “ghost children” could turn to crime after official neglect of their futures.

Calculations suggest up to 9,000 more young offenders, including 2,000 violent criminals, could appear by 2027 due to a rise in school absence.

It has even been claimed an increase in offenders could cost taxpayers £100million.

Campaigners have called on the Government to save money and help turn around the life chances of young people.

Persistent absence has doubled since the pandemic, with 1.7 million school children missing at least 10 per cent of school time.

A total of 125,000 pupils now skip most of their schooling.

Gillian Keegan believes increasing absences are a “really dangerous hangover from the pandemic”, the Education Secretary’s allies have claimed.

Keegan is expected to launch an attendance drive over the summer.

It will look to track down missing pupils and confront the reasons why they have opted to skip class.

It has been reported that mental health problems and staying at home during Covid-curbing restrictions are among the reasons why absence has increased since the UK relaxed measures.

However, children who are skipping lessons tend to be poorer and more vulnerable.

Andy Cook, chief executive at the Centre for Social Justice, claimed: “Alongside stunting academic attainment, children with a history of school absence are around three times more likely to commit an offence than those who routinely attend school.

“For the sake of these children’s future — and for the safety of our streets — Government must stop tinkering around the edges and accelerate the national rollout of attendance mentors, ensuring all children benefit from an education that sets them up for life.”

Data from the Department of Education revealed one-in-four pupils in English schools were persistently absent during the autumn term.

The figure stood at just 10.9 per cent in the autumn term of 2018/2019.

A Government spokeswoman said: “We are working to prevent youth crime through our £200 million Youth Endowment Fund, which aims to give young people most at risk the opportunity to turn away from violence.”