Suffolk: Number of under-16s arrested falls by 50%

Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Bernie Morgan

Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Bernie Morgan - Credit: Archant

THE number of under 16s arrested in Suffolk has dramatically reduced by more than 50% over the past five years, figures have revealed.

The statistics, from a Freedom of Information request, show the number of under 16s held in police custody last year was 495 in comparison to 1,127 in 2008.

The top reasons for arrest between 2008 and 2012 were assault ABH with 583, criminal damage saw 517 youths arrested and 388 for theft.

Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Bernie Morgan the successful work in cutting youth arrests.

“These figures not only represent the commitment of police and partner agencies to reduce crime but to also not criminalize young persons unnecessarily,” he added.

“Suffolk Constabulary introduced the use of community resolutions in 2009 as a method of dealing with low-level crimes (such as shoplifting, public order and criminal damage).

“The ‘common sense’ approach to dealing with low-level crime empowers officers to use their discretion to resolve crime which cuts down on the number of criminal cases needing to be resolved in court and reduces lengthy bureaucracy.

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“Those who have committed offences, often those under 16, can be given simple words of advice, can be asked to give an apology (written or verbal), or make good any damage made.

“The introduction of the use of community resolutions may have had an impact on the number of under 16s going through custody.”

As well as using community resolutions, Suffolk Constabulary works in partnership with the Youth Offending Team (YOT) which is made up of representatives from police, probation, drugs misuse team, child and adolescent mental health services, parenting co-ordinators, social services and crime prevention.

Det Ch Insp Morgan added: “The YOT works with young people that get into trouble with the law and use a number of different methods to limit the amount of people who re-offend.

“They look into the background of a young person and try to help them stay away from crime.

“The YOT tries to establish the reasons why the person has committed an offence.”