THE NUMBER of children arrested by West Mercia Police has reduced massively, figures have revealed

Figures in a report by The Howard League for Penal Reform show 805 child arrests across the region West Mercia in 2017, compared with 5,491 in 2010.

Police say that several changes to the way they respond to incidents involving children have contributed to the 85 per cent reduction.

This has included a proportionate response to allegations and a "recognition that the police should not seek to criminalise young people unnecessarily".

The continued effective use of Restorative Justice has placed an emphasis on working with both victims and offenders to find alternative solutions.

Assistant Chief Constable Martin Evans said: "These latest figures continue to reflect the positive steps being taken, not just within the counties we serve but nationally, to ensure the best possible outcome for young people who come to the attention of the police.

"When allegations involve a young person we must strike a careful balance between arriving at the right outcome for the victim while doing all we can to ensure the child has an opportunity to show remorse, learn from his or her mistakes and, with the appropriate support, move forward in a constructive way.

"Although the number of young people being arrested has reduced significantly since 2010, decisions are made on a case by case basis, which means there will still be occasions when it is absolutely necessary and appropriate to do this.

"Within West Mercia Police we actively encourage our officers to use their professional judgement, to not simply rely on arrests and to see past the obvious when responding to an incident or crime involving a child or young person.

"This enables us to ensure that the response is appropriate and proportionate for each given situation."