POLICE have welcomed the news that child arrests have reduced in North Yorkshire by 77 per cent in seven years.

The figures published by the Howard League for Penal Reform this week revealed that North Yorkshire Police arrested 1,034 children aged 17 and under last year, down from 4,525 in 2010.

Across England and Wales, the total number of child arrests has reduced 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 children out of the criminal justice system.

Assistant Chief Constable Phil Cain, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “These figures are excellent news for North Yorkshire Police, and are testament to our efforts to keep the number of child arrests to a minimum.

“Our positive approach highlighted by the Howard League includes the restorative justice opportunities available to victims of youth crime, and our work with partners to divert young people away from a life of crime to become responsible members of society.

“We are continuing to work with our partners in Safeguarding to also ensure that we recognise some childhood offending is a symptom of a child who is vulnerable, and so we can ensure they are given appropriate support.”