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7 August 2017, 11:50
Official figures show the number children arrested by Kent Police has fallen dramatically in the last six years.
Research by the Howard League for Penal Reform has found its dropped 61% - going from 7,505 arrests of under 17s in 2010 to 2,900 last year.
Across England and Wales, the total number of arrests has fallen by 64 per cent in six years - from almost 250,000 in 2010 to 87,525 in 2016.
The statistics underline the success of a major Howard League programme, which involves working with police forces to keep as many boys and girls as possible out of the criminal justice system.
The total number of arrests has fallen every year since the Howard League campaign began in 2010, and the impact can be seen in every police force area in the country.
Keeping children out of the criminal justice system helps prevent crime. Academic research has shown that the more contact a child has with the system, the more entrenched they are likely to become, which increases reoffending rates.
Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, 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.
"Kent 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."
Every police force in England and Wales made fewer child arrests in 2016 than in 2010. All but four forces brought down their number of arrests by more than half.
Nationwide, there were 703 arrests of primary-age children (10- and 11-year-olds) in 2016, a reduction of 18 per cent from the previous year.
The briefing states that the positive trend across police forces has been led at a national level, most notably by the National Police Chiefs' Council, which has prioritised improvements in the policing of children.
The Howard League regularly meets and corresponds with forces and shares examples of good practice in local areas.