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Police ‘applauded’ for 79 per cent reduction in child arrest figures

PUBLISHED: 11:58 12 September 2017

Child arrests have fallen for a sixth successive year.

Child arrests have fallen for a sixth successive year.

Archant

The number of children arrested in Avon and Somerset has dropped for the sixth consecutive year – a trend welcomed by penal campaigners.

National figures show the number of people aged 17 and under arrested has fallen every year since 2010, resulting in a 65 per cent reduction overall.

However, the drop has been even more stark in the Avon and Somerset Constabulary area, with the 7,255 arrests reported in 2010 falling to just 1,533 in 2016 – a 79 per cent reduction.

Campaign group the Howard League For Penal Reform has welcomed the reduction, which it says will lead to long-term improvement in overall crime figures.

The body cites academic evidence that shows keeping children out of the criminal justice can see crime levels fall; it says the more contact a child has with the system, the more entrenched criminal behaviour becomes and the more likely they are to re-offend.

That is why the group has played an active role working with police forces to try to keep juveniles out of police custody.

Howard League chief executive Frances Crook said: “For the sixth year running, we have seen a significant reduction in child arrests across the country.

“This is a tremendous achievement, and we will continue to support police forces to develop their good practice and reduce the number to an absolute minimum.

“Avon and Somerset police should be applauded for their positive approach, and the Howard League is proud to have played its part in a transformation that will make our communities safer.

“By working together, we are ensuring that tens of thousands of children will have a brighter future and not be dragged into a downward spiral of crime and custody.”

The impact of the Howard League’s campaigning can be seen all over the country, as every police force in England and Wales reported less child arrests in 2016 than 2010.

Indeed, all but four brought down their arrest numbers by more than half – though few boast a reduction as significant as Avon and Somerset.

Data also shows numbers of girls arrested is falling faster than boys, with a 69pc drop.

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