Number of children from ethnic minorities arrested is over population average in Essex and Suffolk

The number of children being arrested is dropping. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The number of children being arrested is dropping. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The number of children arrested across the region is going down according to figures released today.

The number of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) children arrested in the region is more than twice the level of the BAME population, new figures have revealed.

Statistics from the Howard League of Penal Reform show that while the number of arrests of under-18s has more than halved since 2010, the proportion of those from minority backgrounds is still above the average level in the population.

The data, collected by Freedom of Information requests to police forces across the UK, showed that in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk a total of 4,707 children were arrested in 2016.

Of those 540, 11.5%, were of BAME origin, while the average BAME population in the three counties is just 5.3%.


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Essex had the highest proportion, with 17% (443) of its 2,588 child arrests those of BAME origin – compared to a 7% rate of BAME in the general population. Suffolk had 6% of BAME child arrests (54 out of 858), with a general BAME population rate of 5%.

The Howard League released the figures after re-analysing child arrest data it released in August in light of the Lammy Review, an independent review of the treatment of, and outcomes for, BAME individuals in the criminal justice system.

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Across the UK, 87,525 children aged between 12 and 18 were arrested in 2016 – down from 245,763 in 2010, a reduction of more than 64%.

In Essex child arrests have fallen by around two-thirds, from 7,739 in 2010, while in Suffolk the drop was even higher at around 77%.

Despite the number of children being arrested dropping, the Howard League is still calling for more action to be taken – particularly in regards to the number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) arrests made by forces across the country.

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League, said: “The Howard League is proud to have played a key role in reducing child arrests across England and Wales.

“Working together with the police, we have ensured that tens of thousands of children will have a brighter future and not be dragged into a downward spiral of crime and custody.

“There is still more work to do, however, and the disproportionate number of BAME children being brought into the system is of great concern.”

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