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Fall In Arrests Of Girls In Dorset

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8:39am 19th March 2013

Arrests of girls by Dorset Police fell by 75% over a three year period, according to recent figures.

Research by The Howard League Of Penal Reform shows officers in the county made just over 200 arrests of girls aged 17 or younger in 2011 - compared to just over 800 in 2008.

The news comes after penal charity, the Howard League, launched a campaign aimed at keeping as many children as possible out of the criminal justice system.

Chief executive of the Howard League Frances Cook said: "It is encouraging to see that Dorset Police are making fewer arrests of girls than they were in 2008, thanks in part to our effective campaigning.

"A significant fall in the number of children entering the justice system is good news for everyone striving to reduce crime and saves the taxpayer untold millions," added the chief executive.

In 2008, 805 girls were arrested in Dorset, but by 2011 the figure had significantly dropped to 202.

In work done by the All Parliamentary Group, it was found that responding to teenage girls' behaviour too harshly or disproportionately can make it more likely that they will be drawn further into the justice system, leading to more serious problems.

"There are very few girls who have welfare needs such as poverty and substance misuse or are victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse," said Frances Cook.

"Rather than being criminalised, these girls need protection from serious harm and support to help them mature into law-abiding citizens."

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