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Child arrest numbers down in the Thames Valley

Research shows that a successful campaign has helped reduce the numbers.

Published by Scarlett Bawden-Gaul at 11:54am 12th December 2019. (Updated at 11:58am 12th December 2019) 3-minute read.

Child arrest numbers down in the Thames Valley

A national campaign has helped Thames Valley Police reduce child arrest numbers. 

In 2010 over 8,000 boys and girls under the age of 17 were arrested in the area. 

Last year, 2018, that number was down to 2,525.

Research shows that each contact a child has with the criminal justice system, the more likely they are to return.

The Howard League are an organisation focused on reducing crime, making neighborhood safer and reducing prisoner numbers. 

Andrew Neilson is the Campaigns officer, explained why it is so dangerous:

The trauma of being arrested, going to a police station, potentially spending time in a police custody suite, is no place for a child. It's not a good experience and should be avoided wherever possible, and its also problematic for the parents. 

It also the long term impact, even a caution is recorded and an arrest is recorded and these are things that can be divulged by the police in criminal record checks if people go for jobs or college courses.

After seeing the national figures in 2010, The Howard League launched a campaign and worked with police forces to combat the issue. 

Previously, police forces were assessed by performance targets. 

This meant forces were seen to be more successful the more arrests they made. 

The Howard League along with new systems helped to change this as it lead to a "arrest first ask question later"  attitude. 

Andrew stressed that the decrease in arrests is not 

Wherever possible they are trying to keep children out of the criminal justice system. In the end if a child commits a serious crime, they will be arrested.

Tens of thousands of children were being arrested needlessly 9 years ago, tens of thousands were potentially having their life chances blighted by that, and that's no longer happening. Which is a good thing.

Thames Valley Police has seen a slight increase in the past two years though. 

From 2017-2018 the numbers of arrests rose by 43, and the year before saw a rise of 36.

Andrew along with his team have contacted the force and will be discussing why this is but how they can help bring these numbers down again. 

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