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64 Children a Week Arrested in Cornwall and Devon

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7:06am 3rd December 2012
(Updated 7:06am 3rd December 2012)

Pirate FM has learnt sixty-four children a week are being arrested in Cornwall and Devon.

But the Howard League for Penal Reform says that has actually plummeted 39% since 2008.

Now it is warning there is proof being arrested as a child can make you more likely to get caught up in crime.

The charity shows officers in the southwest made 3,363 arrests of boys and girls aged 17 and under during 2011.

Chief Executive Frances Crook said: “It is very pleasing to see that Devon and Cornwall Police is arresting fewer children than it has in the past. I hope this trend continues.

“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.

“Only a handful of children are involved in more serious incidents and they usually suffer from neglect, abuse or mental health issues.  A commitment to public safety means treating them as vulnerable children and making sure they get the help they need to mature into law-abiding citizens.

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.

Pirate FM requested an interview with Devon and Cornwall Police, but the force chose to issue a statement. It said: "Making an arrest is an important decision which police officers do not take lightly, particularly when they are dealing with young people. There are instances where it may be necessary to arrest a younger person to prevent or investigate crime or to stop an individual putting themselves or other members of the public at risk of harm.

"All police forces use out-of-court disposals to deal with offences where appropriate and these figures do show a declining trend in the number of young people being arrested and brought into the criminal justice system. However, in certain circumstances, for example when someone is under the influence of drink or drugs or otherwise incapable or when we cannot locate a young person's parents or appropriate carer then taking them into custody may be the only option available."


Number of Children Being Arrested in Cornwall and Devon

2008: 5,495

2009: 4,757

2010: 4,132

2011: 3,363

7:06am 3rd December 2012

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