THE number of children arrested by North Yorkshire Police has fallen by 75 per cent, a new report has shown.

New figures show that in the five years between 2008 and 2013, the number of under-18s who were arrested in North Yorkshire fell from 6,240 to 1,556 – above the national trend.

In England and Wales, the number of children arrested in 2008 was 318,053, which had fallen by 59 per cent to 129,274, while the number of children arrested by Humberside Police fell by 69.6 per cent from 6,607 to 2,008.

North Yorkshire Police said the fall was due to proactive policing and working closely with partners, and was a testament to the work of the criminal justice system.

Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Mason, head of crime, said: “Sadly, there are occasions when we have to arrest a person under the age of 18, be that for their own safety or because they are suspected of committing a significant criminal offence against others. North Yorkshire Police make every effort to achieve the most positive outcome for both victims and young people in trouble.

“This approach includes actively engaging with the young person and their family and through working innovatively with partners within the criminal justice system and other agencies to maximise early intervention and prevention approaches with the aim of diverting them away from a life of crime to become responsible members of society.”

The figures were released by The Howard League for Penal Reform, set up in the 1860s to help develop criminal justice with the Government and drive change inside the prison system.

Frances Crook, its chief executive, said: “Most police services have developed successful local initiatives that resolve issues quickly and cheaply, involve victims in the justice process and, crucially, avoid criminalising boys and girls. A sharp fall in the number of children entering the justice system is good news for everyone striving to reduce crime and saves the taxpayer untold millions.”