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Child arrests in Lincolnshire down 61%

Arrests of children by Lincolnshire Police have fallen by 61% in the last seven years.

Arrests of children by Lincolnshire Police have fallen by 61% in the last seven years Credit: Press Association

That is according to figures published by the Howard League for Penal Reform today.

Research by the charity has found that the force made 745 arrests of children aged 17 and under last year, down from 1,911 in 2011.

745
Arrests of children aged 17 and under by Lincolnshire Police in 2018
1,911
Arrests of children aged 17 and under by Lincolnshire Police in 2011

This is good news. It shows our effective work with partners is making real positive change for the children we deal with and ultimately, giving them a chance for the future.

Our process is now well-practiced and proven to be effective. It means children can take responsibility for bad behaviour without being criminalised. We have a chance to engage young minds and offer people an alternative, which will hopefully lead them towards making good choices rather than entering the system and committing more and more crimes, of escalating severity.

In 2017, the Local Authority and Police launched a joint protocol aimed at reducing criminalisation of children. We have police officers working embedded with the Youth Offending Service, and have seen the successful expansion of the 'Joint Diversionary Panel', which ensures that all children who come into contact with the criminal justice system are dealt with proportionately and, where possible, diverted away from formal criminal justice sanctions. This is entirely right because not only can alternative restorative solutions change behaviours and prevent offending but we also know from feedback from victims that this a positive approach.

This joint protocol has also examined cases involving looked after children, who have traditionally been over-represented as offenders. The protocol gives agencies and care homes alike the tools and guidance to deal with children and provide meaningful positive interventions to ensure that children do not become unnecessarily involved in the Criminal Justice System.

This work has been implemented against a backdrop of well-established and successful partnership arrangements, with the strong leadership of the Lincolnshire Children's Safeguarding Board, Children's Services and Youth Offending Service from Lincolnshire County Council, and Lincolnshire Police.

We will continue this partnership work to ensure that we are always assessing and addressing how we deal with children and reach a resolution that is in the interests of the individuals themselves and the wider public.

– Assistant Chief Constable Kerrin Wilson, Lincolnshire Police