NSW Police have detailed how offenders as young as 11 years old are among 150 individuals charged as part of a state-wide operation targeting crime in regional areas.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, NSW Police Assistant Commissioner and Western Region commander, Rod Smith, said 153 people – including 109 juveniles – have been charged with more than 1400 offences as part of Operation Regional Mongoose. The ongoing high-visibility operation started in September and is focused on serious property-related crime predominately committed by young offenders.

Of the 1400 offences committed, almost 200 were for breach of bail including a 19-year-old man who was arrested at a home in Gunnedah on Sunday night. He was taken to Gunnedah Police Station and charged with breach of bail and was due to appear at Tamworth Local Court on Monday.

Assistant Commissioner Rod Smith said the statistics show individuals are continuing to re-offend as 71 per cent of offenders charged as part of this operation were under the age of 18 and 67 per cent were on bail at the time of committing further offences.

The youngest offender in the Western region was believed to be just 11 years old.

It was not only the age of offenders that was worrying for police but the increasingly violent manner in which some crimes were being committed.

“The concerning factor is the elevated level of violence that’s being used, particularly targeting the elderly and vulnerable people,” Mr Smith said.

The commissioner said authorities were working to “enhance” police resources both for the prosecution and prevention of crime.

“We are working a number of government agencies to enhance the diversionary strategies that can help us deal with [the re-offending],” he said.

The difficulty, he added, was also negotiating the influence of social media on the offending.

“These young kids that are looking for notoriety, and almost daring each other as to what they’re doing, it’s a challenging one but we’re more than determined to deal with,” he said.

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