West Yorkshire Police has revealed officers have made 757 arrests which involved suspects who said they were pregnant while in custody and the youngest was 14 years old.
The figures, uncovered by a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, show the number of arrests made, not the number of suspects arrested. Some were arrested more than once for several different offences.
According to the force, no physical force was used in the majority of incidents, but officers did use “soft” and “hard” physical control in some cases.
Officers resorted to using incapacitant spray on six women and used a spit hood on two.
The women were arrested for a range of offences, including violent assault (271 arrests), theft (143), burglary (39), criminal damage (29), drug offences (35) and fraud (14).
In the FOI response, the force said an officer “might not know that a person is pregnant upon attending an incident”.
The response states: “Once a detainee has been identified as pregnant, she would be referred to the custody healthcare professional as a matter of course for a full assessment (this would require her consent).
“Any medical issues would be addressed including the potential decision that the person is not fit to detain, at which point they would be released.
“Extra mattresses can be provided for any heavily pregnant females to increase their comfort and mobility and the safety pod (similar to a large bean bag) could also be utilised.”
It adds: “Examples of soft physical control include compliant handcuffing and holding on to a person’s arm.
“Examples of hard physical control are taking a person to the ground, restraining or striking.”