A CHARITY has welcomed a sharp drop in the number of children being arrested in the county.
The Howard League for Penal Reform said Hampshire police’s figures had dropped by 79 per cent in six years.
Hampshire police made 1,711 arrests of children aged 17 and under last year, down from 8,267 in 2010.
Across England and Wales the number has fallen by y 64 per cent in six years – from almost 250,000 in 2010 to 87,525 in 2016.
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.
‘Hampshire 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.’
In Hampshire the full figures for each year from 2010 were: 8,267, 6,533, 5,091, 6,058, 3,192, 2,295 and 1,711.
The Howard League has been campaigning to keep children out of the criminal justice system in a dedicated project since 2010.
Nationwide, there were 703 arrests of primary-age children (10 and 11-year-olds) in 2016, a reduction of 18 per cent from the previous year.