Our current practice reflects attitudes to offending and anti-social behaviour by young people that are outdated and do not reflect current understanding of child development. It does not respect the rights of children and young people.
It is based on two erroneous assumptions: 1) that the only way to deal with this behaviour is to criminalise it and 2) that to fail to do so somehow equates to 'letting the young person get away with it'.
It's all about labelling and it's about addressing the causes of problems rather than the symptoms. Our N European neighbours absolutely address this behaviour; they do not ignore it! However, they generally regard it as a manifestation of other underlying problems – family, parenting, education, mental health etc. And they deal with these issues in a rounded, imaginative and holistic way which is ultimately much more successful. This surely is what society wants to achieve.
We do have good prevention and family support projects in UK (e.g. FIPs) which have been shown to be very successful. And lest the sceptics out there suggest that they are a soft option I would add that participation can be very demanding.