Campaigners welcome decrease in number of children arrested by Northumbria Police

The number of children arrested by Northumbria Police has dropped 84 per cent in the last decade, figures reveal.

Monday, 23rd August 2021, 6:00 am
Arrests of children by Northumbria Police have been reduced by 84 per cent over the last decade, new figures reveal.

And campaigners say the figures, released on August 23, are another major step forward for a successful Howard League for Penal Reform campaign.

Since 2010, the Howard League has been working with police forces across England and Wales to reduce child arrests, helping to ensure that hundreds of thousands of boys and girls do not have their lives blighted by a criminal record.

Data provided by police forces show that arrests of children aged 17 and under were reduced by 13 per cent last year – from 72,475 in 2019 to 63,272 in 2020.

Northumbria Police made 1,833 child arrests in 2020, compared to 2,092 the year before and 11,407 in 2010, the year the Howard League campaign began.

Academic research has shown that each contact a child has with the criminal justice system drags them deeper into it, leading to more crime.

Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “Every child deserves the chance to grow and fulfil their potential, and we must do all we can to ensure that they are not held back by a criminal record.

“A decade of success for the Howard League’s programme to reduce child arrests has given hundreds of thousands of children a brighter future.

"Northumbria Police has made giant strides, diverting resources to tackling serious crime instead of arresting children unnecessarily, and this approach will help to make our communities safer.

“As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, and as police forces recruit thousands more officers, the challenge now is to build on this success and reduce arrests still further. Keeping up the momentum will enable even more children to thrive.”

The largest force, the Metropolitan Police, made 13,599 child arrests in 2020 – a four per cent reduction on the previous year and a 70 per cent reduction on 2010, when 46,079 arrests were recorded.

Police forces achieved a significant reduction in arrests of primary school-aged children – boys and girls aged 11 and under – from 392 in 2019 to 261 in 2020.