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  1. ITV Report

Fall in child arrests across all Welsh police forces

Credit: PA

Arrests of children by Welsh police forces have fallen, new research by the Howard League show.

Such arrest by South Wales Police have been reduced by 68 per cent in the last seven years.

There has been a 85% fall in child arrests by Dyfed Powys Police.

Gwent Police and North Wales Police both saw child arrests fall by 70%.

Across Wales and England, the total number of child arrests has been reduced by 68 per cent – from almost 250,000 in 2010 to 79,012 last year.

The figures were compiled from responses to Freedom of Information requests.

68%
fall in the number of child arrests made by South Wales Police
85%
fall in the number of child arrests made by Dyfed-Powys Police

The Howard League for Penal Reform have been working with police forces to keep as many boys and girls as possible out of the criminal justice system.

The total number of arrests has been reduced every year since the campaign began in 2010.

The charity’s research says keeping children out of the criminal justice system helps prevent crime. Academic research has shown that the more contact a child has with the system, the more entrenched they are likely to become, which increases offending rates.

The number of children in prison in Wales and England was reduced by more than 60 per cent between 2010 and 2017, as fewer boys and girls were drawn into the penal system.

Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, says there is still work to be done:

It is a phenomenal achievement by the police and the Howard League, and it means that tens of thousands of children will have a brighter future without their life chances being blighted by unnecessary police contact and criminal records.

We have come a long way, but there is still more work to do. The Howard League has launched a programme to end the criminalisation of children in residential care, and our research also highlights the need for better understanding of child criminal exploitation. Children who have been trafficked to commit crime should be seen as victims first and foremost.”

– Frances Crook, Howard League