ARRESTS of children have plummeted by nearly 80 per cent in the last three years, new data has revealed.
Research by the Howard League for Penal Reform has revealed that arrests of children aged 17 and under by Greater Manchester Police have fallen from 10,903 in 2011 to 2,517 in 2014.
The charity says figures confirm the continued success of its long-running programme of work to keep as many children as possible out of the criminal justice system.
In Greater Manchester, the number of children arrested dropped to 7,807 in 2012, 6,144 in 2013 before plummeting to 2,517 in 2014.
Every police service in England and Wales made fewer arrests in 2014 than in 2010, with some constabularies reducing their numbers by more than 70 per cent.
Several police services have reviewed their arrest procedures and policies as a result of the Howard League’s engagement with them.
That number has fallen every year since 2010 when 245,763 children aged 17 and under were arrested.
In 2014, there were 112,037 arrests, of which boys accounted for 83 per cent and girls accounted for 17 per cent.
The sharp reduction in arrests has led to a significant fall in the number of children in prison – down by 56 per cent since January 2010.
Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said:“The Howard League has worked closely with police forces around the country to stem the flow of children being sucked into the criminal justice system.
“The fantastic success of our programme of work and the police improvement to their practices means that thousands of children have not had their life chances blighted.
“It is for parents and schools to deal with normal childish challenging behaviour, not the police.
“It is to the credit of the police that they have introduced restorative approaches and given front line officers discretion to make professional decisions.”
Greater Manchester Police arrested the more children in 2011 than any other police force area apart from the Metropolitan Police but showed one of the biggest decreases in the three years to 2014.