FIGURES released by West Mercia Police show the number of arrested young people has reduced by more than 75 per cent since 2008.

It claims that a number of changes to the way the police respond to incidents involving young people have helped see the reduction in arrests.

This has included a response to allegations and a recognition that the police should not look to criminalise young people unnecessarily.

Gareth Morgan, Assistant Chief Constable, said: “Across West Mercia Police we encourage our officers to use their judgement and discretion when considering the range of options available to respond to a crime or incident in a proportionate way, no matter how old the people involved are.

“If allegations involve a young person, a careful balance needs to be made between arriving at the right outcome for the victim, whilst ensuring that the child has an opportunity to show remorse, learn from their mistakes and, with the appropriate support, move forward in a constructive way.” The figures were released as part of a report by The Howard League for Penal Reform.