Fewer Children Arrested in Thames Valley

3 December 2012, 06:00

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.