Arrests of children fall across West Mercia

Monday 03 December 2012 Updated: 04/12 08:52

THE NUMBER of children arrested across West Mercia has more than halved in four years.

A total of 66 arrests of youngsters aged 17 or under were made each week on average in 2011, amounting to 3,442 throughout the year.

But a report released by charity The Howard League for Penal Reform on Friday (November 30) shows in 2008 there had been 7,580 detainments, dropping to 6,458 in 2009 and 5,491 the following year.

This amounts to a fall of 55 per cent in the four years figures are available for.

The trend is also reflected in the national totals, with numbers dropping from 315,923 across the UK in 2008 to 209,450 last year.

Charity chief executive Frances Crook said: "It is very pleasing to see that West Mercia Police is arresting fewer children than it has in the past. I hope this trend continues.

"Children who get in to trouble are more often than not just being challenging teenagers and how we respond to this nuisance behaviour could make a different for the rest of their lives. An arrest can blight a life and lead to a criminal record for just being naughty. The positive change in policing children will release resources to deal with real crimes."

She added only a handful of children were involved in more serious incidents and they usually suffered from neglect, abuse or mental health issues so a commitment to public safety meant treating them as vulnerable and making sure they got the help they needed.

A spokeswoman for West Mercia Police said the fall could be due to a number of reasons, including the introduction of community resolutions in 2009.

This means rather than an offender being automatically arrested, the victim of their crime has a say in how the matter should be dealt with.

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