Thames Valley Police arrested 3,808 children last year, a drop of 69 per cent compared to 12,288 arrested five years ago.

The figures were obtained by the Howard League for Penal Reform and chief executive Frances Crook described the figures as “encouraging”.

She added: “Most police services in England and Wales have developed successful local initiatives that resolve issues quickly and cheaply, involve victims in the justice process and, crucially, avoid criminalising boys and girls.”

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