CHILD arrests by Essex Police have fallen by 67 per cent in the past six years.

Research by charity Howard League for Penal Reform revealed the force made 2,588 arrests of children aged 17 and under last year, down from 7,739 in 2010.

Across England and Wales, the total number of arrests has fallen by 64 per cent in six years – from almost 250,000 in 2010 to 87,525 in 2016.

The Howard League for Penal Reform say the statistics underline the success of its programme, which involves working with police forces to keep as many boys and girls as possible out of the criminal justice system.

The number of arrests has fallen every year since the Howard League campaign began in 2010.

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “For the sixth year running, we have seen a significant reduction in child arrests across the country.

“This is a tremendous achievement, and we will continue to support police forces to develop their good practice and reduce the number to an absolute minimum.

“Essex Police should be applauded for their positive approach, and the Howard League is proud to have played its part in a transformation that will make our communities safer.

“By working together, we are ensuring tens of thousands of children will have a brighter future and not be dragged into a downward spiral of crime and custody.”

Every police force in England and Wales made fewer child arrests in 2016 than 2010. All but four brought down their number of arrests by more than half.

An Essex Police spokesman said:“Criminalising a child should be a last resort where other interventions have been tried and failed or the crime is so serious other options are inappropriate.”