The worst teenage criminals should face tougher prison sentences to deter other youngsters from turning to crime in the first place, Britain's top police officer has suggested.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick told prison reform campaigners to consider "harsher and more effective" jail terms for teenage thugs when other approaches do not work, the Daily Mail reported.
The head of the UK's largest police force warned that trying to avoid sending young people to prison had left "an increasing number" of teenagers "simply not fearful of how the state will respond to their actions".
In a speech to the Howard League for Penal Reform she is reported to have said: "They don't see imprisonment as particularly likely or a serious threat and it does not in any sense deter them from criminal activity.
Tougher sentences for repeat criminals? Good heavens what will they think of next? We'll have to be careful. The last thing we want is these young people thinking that they don't have the human right to shoplift, vandalise,burgle other people's homes, assault their neighburs and deal in drugs with impunity. They won't understand.
After all, we've spent years teaching them they will only get a slap on the wrist for committing numerous offences.