'Fagin's Law' to target crime ringleaders in Australia

British actor Timothy Spall in a scene from the Oliver Twist miniseries
Image caption Actor Timothy Spall as Fagin in the 2007 miniseries Oliver Twist

Adults who groom children into committing crimes will face up to 10 years in jail under proposed new laws in Australia.

The so-called Fagin's Law would target those "procuring young people to commit offences" in the state of Victoria.

The name refers to the fictional ringleader of child pickpockets in Charles Dickens' novel Oliver Twist.

The crackdown comes after a series of crimes committed by young people in the state.

Victoria's Attorney-General Martin Pakula said the legislation would be introduced to state parliament early next year.

It would go further than an existing law of incitement, which requires authorities to prove a specific crime has been procured.

"This is more general, this is about criminals who, for example, just tell young people to steal things and bring them to them for payment," Mr Pakula told the ABC.

"There is a gap in that law at the moment."

It comes as the state announced it would increase its police force by 20% over four years.

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