The Howard League for Penal Reform has praised Lincolnshire Police for a reduction of more than half the number of children it has had to arrest in the last five years.
In 2011 the force recorded 1,911 arrests, whereas in 2016 that had gone down to 913.
Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Davison explains: “Effective early intervention means we are able to take routes that address the behaviour without criminalising the child. If we reduce reoffending, we reduce crime, and working with the Youth Offending Service, we have done just that.
“An example of an alternative route to criminal justice is our response to young people shoplifting. Through the ‘Restore’ approach we help children understand the seriousness of their actions and the potential consequences. Here we have a unique opportunity to engage young minds and help them onto a different path. These children could otherwise be tomorrow’s prolific offenders. Giving them the chance to make good choices, rather than ‘throw the book at them’ could mean a safer county in the long term.”
Proportionate restorative justice techniques, scrutinised by an independent panel prevent a downward spiral.
Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League, said it will make communities safer: “Lincolnshire Police should be applauded for their positive approach, and the Howard League is proud to have played its part.”