Our Police Arrest Children Every Day

Police officers are arresting children across Devon and Cornwall 64 times in a week, according to watchdogs.

The Howard League for Penal Reform   has released figures which show officers made 3,363 arrests of boys and girls aged 17 and under during 2011.   

But that's a fall of 39 per cent since 2008 when the charity began a campaign to reduce the number of child arrests. 

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

   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.   

   More than one million child arrests have been made in England and Wales since 2008, but the figures show a downward trend. The number of arrests nationwide fell by a third between 2008 and 2011.   

   Girls account for about a fifth of arrests each year, 207,808 between 2008 and 2011. However, 24,055 fewer girls were arrested in 2011 than in 2008 - a welcome fall of 38 per cent.

  Child arrests for Devon and Cornwall:   

   2008: 5,495

   2009: 4,757

   2010: 4,132

   2011: 3,363