Essex: 16 Child Arrests Every Day In County

New research from a charity's found children in Essex were arrested more than 110 times a week on average last year.

But the Howard League for Penal Reform says the number of boys and girls being questioned here has fallen from 10,763 in 2008 to 5,870 in 2011.

Chief Executive Frances Crook said: "It is very pleasing to see that Essex Police is arresting fewer children than it has in the past. I hope this trend continues.

"Children who get into trouble are more often than not just being challenging teenagers and how we respond to this nuisance behaviour could make a difference 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.

"Only a handful of children are involved in more serious incidents and they usually suffer from neglect, abuse or mental health issues. A commitment to public safety means treating them as vulnerable children and making sure they get the help they need to mature into law-abiding citizens.

"Under the last government, police success was measured by the number of arrests and children proved a seductive way to make up the numbers. The fact that the number of child arrests across England and Wales has fallen by a third since 2008 is a testament to a change of culture, more focused on public safety than targets."

Across England and Wales, police made more than 209,000 arrests of boys and girls aged 17 and under last year. This number includes 2,117 arrests of children who were aged 10 or 11, meaning that on average six primary school children were arrested every day.

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