Research by the Howard League charity found that the police force made 821 arrests of children aged 17 and under last year, down from 3,440 in 2010. The total number of arrests has been reduced every year since the Howard League campaign began in 2010. A spokesman for the Howard League said: The charitys research briefing, Child arrests in England and Wales 2017, explores some of the changes that police forces have made to reduce arrest numbers, while also shining new light on areas where further progress can be achieved. In particular, it identifies the criminalisation of children in residential care, the criminalisation of children who are being exploited by county lines gangs, and the disproportionate levels of criminalisation of children from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds as key areas that all forces should be aware of and actively seek to address. Keeping children out of the criminal justice system helps prevent crime. Academic research has shown that the more contact a child has with the system, the more entrenched they are likely to become, which increases offending rates.