Six primary school-age children arrested each day
An average of six primary school-age children were arrested each day last year, according to the Howard League for Penal Reform (HLPR).
The HLPR charity, which actively campaigns for a reduction in the number of child arrests, provided this information after a Freedom of Information request by the BBC revealed that children as young as 11, had been detained in police cells because officers thought they were mentally ill.
Figures show that police made more than 209,000 arrests of teenagers under 17 in 2011, including 2,117 of 10-11 year-olds.
Since 2008, Britain has made more than one million child arrests, of which one in five were girls.
The charity believes that arresting children for little more than “nuisance behaviour” might seriously blight their lives.
Frances Crook, Howard League chief executive, said: “Children who get into trouble are more often than not just being challenging teenagers and how we respond to this nuisance behaviour could make a difference for the rest of their lives. […] An arrest can lead to a criminal record for just being naughty. The positive change in policing children will release resources to deal with real crimes.”
Crook believes that the fall in terms of the number of child arrests since 2008 means a change of culture, more focused on public safety than targets.