The number of children arrested in Kent has plummeted by almost two thirds in just five years, figures published today show.
In 2010, Kent police made a staggering 7,505 arrests of under 17-year-olds, which dropped by 60% to just 2,976 last year.
This comes after efforts by police and the Howard League for Penal Reform to keep as many children as possible out of the criminal justice system.
The national charity is working for fewer crimes, less people in prisons and safer communities.
With the involvement of the Howard League, many police forces around the country reviewed their arrest procedures and policies.
Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, Frances Cook, said “I applaud Kent Police for their success in reducing child arrests. The Howard League is proud to have played its part in a significant change to the policing and life chances of children.”
National statistics from across England and Wales show a drop from 245,763 arrests in 2010 to 102,666 in 2015 – a 58% reduction.
The drastic fall in child arrests has been attributed to, among others, improved staff training and better use of resources to solve problems.
The figures published today show that although Kent police made less than half the amount of child arrests in 2015 than in 2010, Kent’s figures are still high in comparison with other regions.
Out of more than 40 regions, Kent is in the top ten for highest number of child arrests in 2015, however this may be down to the size of the force compared to other areas.
Despite size, every police force in England and Wales has reduced the number of child arrests made since 2010, with 34 forces dropping numbers by more than half.
Frances Cook added “It is particularly gratifying that, across England and Wales, the reduction in child arrests matches exactly the reduction in custody for children, and it is no coincidence.
"We have stemmed the flow of children into the justice system and the consequential downward spiral into crime and custody.”