Num­ber of chil­dren ar­rested by GMP hits a six-year low

Rochdale Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

THE num­ber of chil­dren ar­rested by po­lice in Greater Manch­ester has fallen to a six-year low.

Po­lice chiefs wel­comed the ‘pos­i­tive’ fig­ures re­leased by a na­tional char­ity cam­paign­ing for less crime, safer com­mu­ni­ties and fewer people in prison.

GMP said it had worked hard to ‘avoid chil­dren and young people un­nec­es­sar­ily en­ter­ing the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem’ and stressed crim­i­nal jus­tice agen­cies now recog­nise many chil­dren who are ar­rested turn out to be vic­tims.

The fig­ures show that in 2011, 10,903 ar­rests of chil­dren aged un­der 17 were made by the force. Last year the fig­ure stood at 3,197.

The Howard League for Pe­nal Reform said its re­search found child ar­rests across Eng­land and Wales has fallen by 68 per cent in seven years, from al­most 250,000 in 2010 to 79,012 last year.

The char­ity said it had urged po­lice forces to con­sider and act on the ‘crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion’ of chil­dren in res­i­den­tial care and young­sters be­ing ex­ploited by ‘county lines’ as well as a ‘dis­pro­por­tion­ate lev­els of crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion’ of chil­dren from black, Asian and mi­nor­ity eth­nic back­grounds.

Frances Crook, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Howard League for Pe­nal Reform, said keep­ing chil­dren out of the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem helped pre­vent crime as re­search has shown the more con­tact a child has with the sys­tem, the more en­trenched they are likely to be­come, in­creas­ing of­fend­ing rates.

Sta­tis­tics also re­veal the num­ber of chil­dren in prison in Eng­land and Wales has fallen by more than 60pc be­tween 2010 and 2017.

She said: “This is the sev­enth year in a row that we have seen a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in the num­ber of child ar­rests across Eng­land and Wales, and Greater Manch­ester Po­lice’s pos­i­tive approach has con­trib­uted to that trans­for­ma­tion.

“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.”

Ar­rests of girls has fallen at a faster rate than ar­rests of boys since 2010, with ar­rests of pri­mary school-age chil­dren also fall­ing.

Greater Manch­ester Po­lice As­sis­tant Chief Con­sta­ble Rob Potts said: “These fig­ures are pos­i­tive news for Greater Manch­ester.

“Our of­fi­cers have worked closely with a range of or­gan­i­sa­tions and in­di­vid­u­als across the county to avoid chil­dren and young people un­nec­es­sar­ily en­ter­ing the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem.”

●●GMP As­sis­tant Chief Con­sta­ble Rob Potts hailed the fig­ures as ‘pos­i­tive news’

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