ARRESTS of children by Dyfed Powys Police have been reduced by 85 per cent in the last seven years, figures published by the Howard League for Penal Reform have revealed today, September 10.

Research by the charity has found that the police force made 341 arrests of children aged 17 and under last year, down from 2,307 in 2010.

The number of arrests, in the figures obtained by the charity were: 2010, 2,307; 2011, 1,643; 2012, 1,584; 2013, 1,165; 2014, 687; 2015, 625; 2016, 501; and 2017, 341.

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 statistics, compiled from responses to Freedom of Information requests, show the continued success of a major Howard League programme, which involves 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 Howard League campaign began in 2010, and the impact can be seen in every police force area in the country.

The charity’s research briefing, Child arrests in England and Wales 2017, explores some of the changes that police forces have made to reduce arrest numbers, while also shining new light on areas where further progress can be achieved.

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, said: “This is the seventh year in a row that we have seen a significant reduction in the number of child arrests across Wales and England, and Dyfed Powys 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.

“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.”