North Yorkshire Police arrested children 124 times a week on average last year and was the only force in England and Wales to record an increase, a charity claimed last night.
New research by the Howard League for Penal Reform shows officers made 6,452 arrests of boys and girls aged 17 and under during 2011.
North Yorkshire Police was the only police service in England and Wales to record an increase in child arrests between 2008 and 2011. It made 6,240 arrests in 2008.
Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “It is regrettable that the number of children arrested by North Yorkshire Police is rising, when we have seen a downward trend across the rest of England and Wales.”
Across England and Wales, police made more than 209,000 arrests of boys and girls aged 17 and under last year. This number includes 2,117 arrests of children who were aged 10 or 11 meaning that on average six primary school children were arrested every day.
In South Yorkshire, the charity found police arrested children 98 times a week on average last year; in West Yorkshire the figure was 203; while the charity says its figures reveal Humberside Police arrested children 40 times a week on average last year.
In all three forces the numbers arrested have fallen, in line with the picture across England and Wales, the charity said.
Nationwide the figures reveal that girls account for about a fifth of arrests made each year, a total of 207,808 between 2008 and 2011.
However, 24,055 fewer girls were arrested in 2011 than in 2008 – a welcome fall of 38 per cent.
The Howard League for Penal Reform has been campaigning for a reduction in child arrests. The campaign’s success and the way forward will be discussed at the charity’s Policing and Children Conference in Birmingham on Thursday.