Child arrests in Devon and Cornwall have dropped by 76%

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THE number of children arrested in North Yorkshire and Humberside has fallen by more than 70 per cent in five years, new figures have shown.

Surrey Police made 889 arrests in 2016, according to data obtained by the Howard League for Penal Reform under Freedom of Information Act - down from 1,955 in 2010.

A Dyfed Powys Police spokesman said: "There is much more emphasis on early engagement with partner agencies, including youth offending and prevention services, with a view to intervene and prevent children coming through the criminal justice system, diverting them from criminal behaviour and challenging the root cause".

Frances Crook, is the Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, and explains why the numbers have reduced and what it means for policing in the future. "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".

At Gwent Police, temporary deputy chief constable Pam Kelly said: "Whilst it's our duty to investigate all allegations of crime, regardless of the age of the suspects, we are conscious of ensuring that we are proportionate and fair when dealing with children".

There were 87,525 child arrests in England and Wales a year ago, down from 245,763 in 2010 - a reduction of 64 per cent between 2010 and 2016.

Total arrests of children in the United Kingdom during the six year period saw a decrease of 64 per cent.

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Keeping children out of the criminal justice system helps prevent crime.

From 2010 to past year, arrests in the Northumbria force area fell from 11 thousand to just under 3 thousand.

Research by the charity has found that all the region's forces made fewer arrests of young people aged 17 and under since 2010.

The force has given training to all custody and frontline staff, focusing on the need to reduce the number of children arrested.

In its report today, the Howard League said: "The rate of reduction in arrests and custody shows a clear relationship - if we reduce entrants to the system we stem the flow into custody".

She went on to say: "It is a whole community's responsibility to be really shaping young people".

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