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Child arrests down by more than half in Merseyside

Campaign to decriminalise kids paying off, prison charity claims

Published on May 27th 2014.


Child arrests down by more than half in Merseyside
 

ARRESTS of children on Merseyside have fallen by more than half in five years, new figures reveal today. 

Research by the Howard League for Penal Reform shows that the number of arrests by the region's police force dropped by 55 per cent - 11,330 in 2008 to 5,066 in 2013. 

Nationally, the number of child arrests since 2008 has reduced by almost two thirds (59 per cent). 

The Howard League took some of the credit for the drop, saying that following its campaigning work most UK police forces have developed strategies for resolving issues quickly and keeping children who had simply been involved in "childish misdemeanours", out of the criminal justice system. 

But nevertheless, it's far from job done, says the charity. A child was arrested every four minutes in England and Wales in 2013, or 129,274 arrests of children aged 17 and under. These included 1,107 arrests of children who were aged 10 or 11, meaning that on average three primary school-age children were arrested every day. 

According to figures based on freedom of information data from 43 police service areas and the British Transport Police in England and Wales, more than 1.3million juvenile arrests were made between January 2008 and December 2013.   

Children in England and Wales can be arrested by police from the age of 10 – the lowest age of criminal responsibility in Western Europe. 

A Howard League wants that age raised to 14, in line with the European average, saying that the consequences for children arrested and charged inappropriately can suffer long term consequences.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has stated that an age of criminal responsibility below 12 is unacceptable. 

Child arrest figures for Merseyside 

2008: 11,330

2009: 11,001

2010: 10,197

2011: 8,421

2012: 6,213

2013: 5,066

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