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Arrests of girls by West Mercia Police almost halve in three years
9:33am Tuesday 19th March 2013 in News
ARRESTS of girls by West Mercia Police have fallen by 48 per cent in three years, figures obtained by the Howard League for Penal Reform have revealed.
West Mercia officers made 744 arrests of girls aged 17 and younger during 2011, a significant drop compared to 2008, when 1,431 arrests were recorded.
It comes after the Howard League launched a campaign aimed at keeping as many children as possible out of the criminal justice system.
Across England and Wales, police arrest almost 100 girls a day, although the overall number has almost halved in three years.
Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “It is encouraging to see that West Mercia Police are making fewer arrests of girls than they were in 2008, thanks in part to our effective campaigning.
“A significant fall in the number of children entering the justice system is good news for everyone striving to reduce crime and saves the taxpayer untold millions.
“Our evidence shows that the police were arresting girls completely unnecessarily when they were out partying, often with the mistaken intention of protecting them. Now the police are handing out flip-flops and helping the girls home, a much more sensible response.
“There are a very few girls who have welfare needs, such as poverty and substance misuse, or are victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Rather than being criminalised, these girls need protection from serious harm and support to help them mature into law-abiding citizens.
“The challenge for police services now is to maintain this trend of arresting fewer children.”
The statistics were published following a year-long inquiry on girls conducted by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women in the Penal System.
Girls arrest figures for West Mercia, in recent years were: 2008: 1,431, 2009: 1,375, 2010: 1,046, 2011: 744.