What caused the decline in child arrests in England and Wales: The Howard League’s programme or something else?

  • Graham FarrellEmail author
  • Gloria Laycock
  • Nick Tilley
Original Article


There has been a steep decline in child arrests in recent years. The Howard League Research Briefing Child Arrests in England and Wales 2017 attributes this to a Howard League programme of work with police. We show the decline in arrests began well before that programme of work, and conclude the Research Briefing’s claims are unfounded. However, there is strong evidence that the decline in arrests is due to the long-term fall in child offending rates, probably caused by security improvements. While we are sympathetic to the aims of the Howard League, if security is having such positive effects in terms of safer communities and fewer children being processed through the criminal justice system, then it should command wide support.


Child arrests Programme to reduce child arrests Howard League Adolescent offending Youth Justice Crime drop Security hypothesis Policing 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, School of LawUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  2. 2.Department of Security and Crime ScienceUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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