Cambridgeshire Police carried out more than 2,000 child arrests in 2011 but number has fallen since 2008

THE number of child arrests carried out by Cambridgeshire police has almost halved in three years.

Figures compiled by penal reform charity The Howard League for Penal Reform revealed 2,099 child arrests took place in 2011.

This number represented a fall of 48 per cent since 2008, when 4,054 arrests of boys and girls aged 17 and under took place.

The falling number of arrests has been attributed in part to the introduction of restorative justice and the retraining of officers to help them “consider more objectively whether there was a need to arrest”.

Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, expressed satisfaction with the figures.

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He said: “It is very pleasing to see that Cambridgeshire Police is arresting fewer children than it has in the past and I hope this trend continues.

Mr Crook believes, when dealing with children, compassionate policing is the way forward.

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“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.”

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.

The Howard League’s Policing and Children Conference will take place in Birmingham on December 6.

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