This week the Howard League for Penal Reform praised Lincolnshire Police for a 52% reduction in child arrests.
“Giving them the chance to make good choices, rather than ‘throw the book at them’ could mean a safer county in the long term.
“We’re using appropriate Restorative Justice techniques, which are scrutinised by an independent panel, to ensure that the measures put in place to address the causes of criminal behaviour are effective, and this has also helped to reduce the overall number of offences.
“We have looked at our policies and changed them where they do not work or are not fair. For example previously, children in care homes could be criminalised for a minor offence like damage to crockery, whereas this would be a highly unlikely outcome for a child living at home.
“Our officers understand that an arrest for a criminal matter is a serious step to take, and their decision making about the proportionality and necessity of arrest is tested on every occasion and even more so when that suspect is a young person.
“Our officers very mindful of the importance of safeguarding referrals for young people. This ensures the right agency can help improve the safety of that child, and that all reasonable avenues to preventing criminalisation are taken.”
Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “For the sixth year running, we have seen a significant reduction in child arrests across the country.
“This is a tremendous achievement, and we will continue to support police forces to develop their good practice and reduce the number to an absolute minimum.
“Lincolnshire Police should be applauded for their positive approach, and the Howard League is proud to have played its part in a transformation that will make our communities safer.
“By working together, we are ensuring that tens of thousands of children will have a brighter future and not be dragged into a downward spiral of crime and custody.”
Child arrest figures for Lincolnshire Police:
- 2011: 1,911
- 2012: 1,290
- 2013: 1,027
- 2014: 990
- 2015: 1,117
- 2016: 913