New Zealand
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New Zealand's young ram-raid offenders to face more accountability

WELLINGTON, July 19 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand has created a new offence for ram raiding, enabling youngsters alleged to have committed the crime to be charged in the Youth Court.

Young offenders will face more accountability for their crimes as the New Zealand government continues to ramp up its approach to law and order, while also adding further intensive support to break the cycle of crime, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said on Wednesday.

A new criminal offence specifically addressing ram raid offending would be in place, with a maximum sentence of 10 years, Hipkins said.

"Ram raids are destructive and cause considerable harm to their victims," he said, adding that this new offence sends a strong signal that the significant harm caused by ram-raids will not be tolerated.

Additional tools and interventions are provided to respond to those involved in ram-raids, and stronger deterrence and consequences are required, Hipkins said.

To combat the crime, 12- and 13-year-olds who carry out ram-raids can be charged in the Youth Court, which provides the police and the courts more tools to stop repeat young offenders from getting back on the street, he said.

Justice Minister Kiri Allan said the government must increase the accountability of young offenders, while continuing to break the cycle of crime and get these young people back into school, training and work.

Intervening early and intensively is the best way to break the cycle and prevent further victimization, Allan said.