Fewer Children Arrested in Thames Valley

The number of children arrested by Thames Valley Police has almost halved since 2008.

Figures from the Howard League for Penal Reform show officers arrested children 125 times a week on average last year.

New research by the charity shows officers made 6,539 arrests of boys and girls aged 17 and under during 2011.

But that's a 47 per cent fall from 2008, when 12,288 were recorded.

Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: "It is very pleasing to see that Thames Valley 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."

The charity says only a handful of children are involved in more serious incidents and they usually suffer from neglect, abuse or mental health issues.

They attribute the decrease to the removal of quotas and a focus on public safety rather than targets with the number of child arrests across England and Wales falling by a third since 2008.

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