North Yorkshire Police apology over wrong arrest figures

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North Yorkshire Police has apologised after releasing figures which wrongly suggested the force had increased its number of child arrests.

The figures, provided to the Howard League for Penal Reform, showed North Yorkshire was the only force in England and Wales to see a rise in 2011.

Further analysis showed the force was in line with the national trend, said temporary Chief Constable Tim Madgwick.

The Howard League said it welcomed the North Yorkshire force's clarification.

'Mathematical error'

The mistake was "disappointing and regrettable", said Mr Madgwick.

A "mathematical error" had been made by a member of staff while gathering data for a survey by the Howard League, he said.

The welfare charity had made a freedom of information request to all police services in England and Wales.

The original statistics provided by the North Yorkshire force showed 6,452 under-18s had been taken into custody in 2011, compared with 6,240 in 2008.

The correct number of under-18s arrested in 2011 was, in fact, 2,953, said Mr Madgwick.

"This is in line with the year-on-year national trend of decreasing numbers of under-18s who are placed under arrest," he said.

Mr Madgwick said he "sincerely apologised" to the Howard League and would send a letter of apology to the charity "as a matter of priority".

Andrew Neilson, director of campaigns for the Howard League, said he had been disappointed to see North Yorkshire Police's original figures as they went against the national trend.

Nationally, the league's figures revealed that arrests of children had dropped by a third between 2008 and 2011.

It has been campaigning for a reduction in child arrests in recent years, and is due to discuss progress at a meeting this week.

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