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