Child arrests in Sussex reduced by 69 per cent

Arrests of children in Sussex have been reduced by 69 per cent in eight years, research published by the Howard League for Penal Reform reveals today (Monday 9 December).

Sussex Police made 1,766 arrests of boys and girls aged 17 and under in 2018. This compares to 1,893 in the previous year and 5,779 back in 2010, when the Howard League launched a major campaign to reduce child arrests nationwide.

Academic research has shown that each contact a child has with the criminal justice system drags them deeper into it, leading to more crime. This is why the Howard League is working with police forces across England and Wales to keep as many children as possible out of the system in the first place.

The figures for Sussex are in line with the national trend. Data from more than 40 police forces show that they made 70,078 arrests of children in 2018 – a reduction of more than 70 per cent from almost 250,000 in 2010.

Across England and Wales, the total number of child arrests has been reduced every year since the campaign began. Over the same period, the number of children in prison has been reduced by 63 per cent.

Arrests of primary school-age children have been reduced significantly. There were 383 arrests of 10- and 11-year-olds in 2018, a reduction of 38 per cent from the previous year.

Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “Tens of thousands of children can look forward to a brighter future without their lives being blighted by police contact and a criminal record.

“Sussex Police and other forces up and down the country have diverted resources to tackling serious crime instead of arresting naughty children. This will make communities safer, and the Howard League is proud to have played its part.

“Building on this success and reducing the number of arrests still further would allow even more children to thrive.”