THE number of children arrested by West Mercia Police since 2010 has dropped by 88 per cent.

The figures have been shared as part of a report by The Howard League for Penal Reform. They show 655 child arrests were made in the communities in 2018 compared with 5,491 in 2010.

Since 2010 the police have changed the way they respond to incidents involving children which has seen a reduction in arrests over the recent years.

One way is through the use of Restorative Justice, which sees police work with both victims and offenders to find alternative solutions.

The aim is to repair the harm caused by crime and look to find a positive way forward.

Assistant chief constable, Martin Evans said: “It is encouraging to see the positive work of our force, which aims to provide the best outcomes for the young people in the community who come to the attention of the police, being reflected within these figures.

“It is always imperative to create the perfect balance of the right outcome for the victim and ensuring that the young person has an opportunity to learn from their mistakes, have an opportunity to show remorse and with support, be able to move forward in a constructive way.

“Although the number of arrests of young people in West Mercia Police has halved since 2016, decisions are still made on a case by case basis, therefore there will still be occasions when it is absolutely necessary and appropriate to make arrests.

“However, within West Mercia Police we continue to actively encourage our officers to use their professional judgement and to see past the obvious when responding to an incident or crime involving a child or young person, thereby ensuring the action taken continues to remain appropriate and proportionate for each situation.”