West Mercia Police child arrests drop by 88 per cent
The number of children arrested in the West Mercia region since 2010 has reduced by almost 90 per cent, the highest across a single police force in England and Wales.
Figures released this week by The Howard League for Penal Reform show there were 655 child arrests in communities served by West Mercia Police last year, compared with 5,491 in 2010 – an 88 per cent reduction.
Since 2010, West Mercia Police has changed the way it responds to incidents involving children, including the response to allegations and an understanding that the police should not seek to criminalise young people unnecessarily.
The force said the continued effective use of restorative justice has placed an emphasis on working with both victims and offenders to find alternative solutions, allowing the police to work with those affected by crime in order to repair the harm and look to find a positive way forward.
Assistant Chief Constable Martin Evans said: "It is encouraging to see the positive work of our force, which aims to provide the best outcomes for the young people in the community who come to the attention of the police, being reflected within these figures.
"It is always imperative to create the perfect balance of the right outcome for the victim and ensuring that the young person has an opportunity to learn from their mistakes, have an opportunity to show remorse and with support, be able to move forward in a constructive way.
"Although the number of arrests of young people in West Mercia Police has halved since 2016, decisions are still made on a case by case basis, therefore there will still be occasions when it is absolutely necessary and appropriate to make arrests."
West Mercia Police said it would continue to encourage officers to use professional judgement to see past the obvious when responding to an incident or crime involving a child or young person.
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