Children as young as six years old have committed racially and religiously aggravated crimes in Northamptonshire since 2012, according to shock new statistics.
A Freedom of Information request by the Chron asked the Northamptonshire Police to provide information on all crimes committed by under-11’s in the county over the past five years.
Eight of the offences were found to be racially or religiously aggravated including incidents of verbal abuse, vandalism and physical assault.
A spokesman for the children's charity, the NSPCC, said: “It is important that adults do not turn a blind eye to children displaying racist behaviour and explain why what they’re doing is harmful and wrong.
“Over the last three years Childline received 2,500 calls about racial and faith based bullying with spikes in counselling sessions with victimised children following terror attacks.
“It’s vital that child victims of hate crimes and bullying are fully supported and young people can call Childline on 0800 1111 or visit www.childline.org.uk for help and advice.”
There were a total of three racially and religiously aggravated crimes in 2017, an increase on the two committed in 2016 and 2015.
One crime was recorded in 2014, but there were none in 2013 and 2012.
The most startling crimes were assaults committed by a six-year-old in 2017 and a seven-year-old in 2015.
The age of those committing the crimes has significantly dropped since the single incident of racially and religiously aggravated assault committed by an 11-year-old in 2014, with three nine-year-olds, an eight year old, a seven year old and a six year old committing similar offences since.
A Northamptonshire Police spokeswoman said: “The safety and protection of children is a high priority for the force and the circumstances of all reported incidents are fully investigated.
“We work closely with partner agencies, including schools, social services and the Youth Offending Service, in a bid to divert young people away from offending behaviour and to ensure appropriate safeguarding measures are put in place where necessary.”
Further figures have revealed other shocking criminal acts committed by under-elevens including blackmail by an 11-year-old and possession of an article with a blade or point by a seven-year-old.
The statistics showed the youngest offenders were aged just four and had committed acts of sexual assault, theft and common assault.