A 12-year-old was one of three lawless youngsters to spark a late-night pursuit in downtown Whangārei after the trio hit a cop car with their vehicle.
The chase began when a car driven by one of the youths - who included a 13- and 14-year-old - sideswiped a police car by Pak'n Save Whangārei on Walton St around midnight yesterday .
While the officers were fortunately unharmed, their vehicle suffered damage and would require some panel beating to repair its front.
Police didn't disclose which of the youths was behind the driver's wheel as the youngsters ignored police signals to pull over.
However, Senior Sergeant Brian Swann, of Northland police, did confirm that the driver was unlicensed - a person has to be 16 before they can apply for a learner's licence in New Zealand - and was known to police.
Following their failure to stop, a low-speed pursuit then unfolded.
Police kept on the heels of the young motorists as their trail led from downtown Whangārei through a few of the suburban streets of Ōtangarei.
"They managed to avoid one set of spikes," Swann said.
They were soon hampered by a second set deployed in Ōtangarei that deflated their tyres, bringing them to a stop.
Swann said the trio were referred to Youth Aid and Te Hau Āwhiowhio ō Ōtangarei.
The issue of youth crime has saturated headlines around the country recently with attention-grabbing ram raids in Auckland and elsewhere nationwide.
The Advocate previously reported Northland's lack of immunity to the far-reaching problem.
Police Association president Chris Cahill earlier told the Advocate that many youths were able to turn their lives around but repeat young offenders were the most stubborn to reform.
"It can be really frustrating. It's the few prolific recidivist youth offenders that are the difficult ones to deal with," he said.
In the 12 months leading up to March this year, 73 youths nationwide, aged 10 to 14, have had 10 or more proceedings against their name - the majority of which were male.
Most of the 73 offenders were linked to proceedings for aggravated robbery, followed by dangerous or negligent driving, and common assault.
Teens aged 15 to 19 had a lower rate of offending, with 10 or more proceedings against them than their younger counterparts.
Cahill said there needed to be more opportunities for youth offenders to meet people that they can relate to.
"...and actually demonstrate that there are different options for them in life rather than this.
"If they don't take the time and effort to try and turn around their life, they're only going to continue to offend and create more victims anyway."