Cambs child arrests reduced by 82 per cent since 2010
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Arrests of children by Cambridgeshire Police have been reduced by 82 per cent since 2010, when the Howard League for Penal Reform began a campaign to keep boys and girls out of the criminal justice system.
Cambridgeshire Police made 636 arrests of children in 2019. This compares to the 3,440 arrests recorded by the force back in 2010, when the Howard League campaign began.
For the last decade, the Howard League has been working with police forces across England and Wales to reduce arrests of children.
The charity’s latest research briefing, Child arrests in England and Wales 2019, shows that there has been a 71 per cent reduction nationwide in the number of arrests of children aged 17 and under - from 245,763 in 2010 to 71,885 in 2019.
Every police force in England and Wales has achieved a reduction in arrests over this period, with all but three reducing their arrest rate by more than half.
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Now, the Howard League is encouraging police forces to focus on areas where even more could be done to prevent children being arrested unnecessarily.
These include focusing on particularly black children and children from minority ethnic backgrounds, victims of child criminal exploitation, and children living in residential care.
Seven police forces recorded reductions of 10 per cent or more in 2019, including Cambridgeshire (11 per cent).
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The data reveals continued inequalities for black children and children from minority ethnic backgrounds.
Government figures show that black children are more than four times as likely as white children to be arrested.
The proportion of white children arrested has fallen by 13 per cent over the last 10 years, while the proportion of black children arrested has doubled to 16 per cent.
The Howard League asked police forces to break down their child arrest figures by age, gender and ethnicity.
Data recording was inconsistent and there were huge gaps as a result of failure to record ethnicity for large numbers of children who had been arrested.
In 2019, there was no record of ethnicity for more than 5,000 child arrests.
Child arrest figures for Cambridgeshire Police