22nd Oct, 2017

Charity welcomes drop in child arrests

Coventry Editorial 4th Jun, 2014 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

CHILD arrests in the West Midlands have fallen by 69 per cent in five years, figures have revealed.

The were down 23,105 to 7,213 between 2008 and 2013, according to The Howard League for Penal Reform.

It claimed the drop was a positive move and would help free up police officers to deal with more serious crime.

The charity has campaigned to keep children out of the criminal justice system and said child arrests were still too common.

In neighbouring Warwickshire 623 children aged 17 and under were arrested last year while across England and Wales that figure was 129,274 – an arrest every four minutes – including more than 1,000 aged ten or 11.

The Howard League has also used the release of figures to reiterate its claim the age of criminal responsibility should be raised from ten – the lowest in Western Europe – to 14.

Chief executive Frances Crook said: “It is encouraging to see that West Midlands Police are making significantly fewer arrests of children than they were in 2008, thanks in part to our effective campaigning.

“Most police services in England and Wales have developed successful local initiatives that resolve issues quickly and cheaply, involve victims in the justice process and, crucially, avoid criminalising boys and girls.

“A sharp fall in the number of children entering the justice system is good news for everyone striving to reduce crime and saves the taxpayer untold millions.

“The challenge for police now is to maintain this trend. At a time of austerity, further reducing the number of children arrested would free up more officer time to deal with serious crimes.”

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