The youth justice statistics examine the flow of children (aged 10-17) through the Youth Justice System in England and Wales from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018.
The published statistics are accompanied by a infographic which highlights some of the most significant information:
Other important points are:
- There were over 65,800 arrests of children (aged 10-17) by the police in E&W (excluding Lancashire). This is a decrease of 8% in the last year.
- Black children were four times more likely than white children to be arrested.
- The number of child First Time Entrants (FTEs) to the Criminal Justice System has fallen 14% fall since the year ending March 2017.
- The proportion of FTEs receiving a court conviction for their first offence has continued to increase, from 9% to 43% since the year ending March 2008.
- The proportion of FTEs from a Black background has doubled since 2008, from 8% to 16%.
- The number of offences involving possession of weapons, drugs and violence has been increasing.
- The proportion of Black children and young people given a caution or sentence has increased to 12% in the latest year, and is now three times that of the general 10-17 population.
- The average monthly custodial population on remand has seen its first year-on-year increase in the last ten years, increasing by 19% to a monthly average of nearly 220 children on remand.
- The majority (63%) of children given a custodial remand did not subsequently receive a custodial outcome.
The statistics raise more questions than they answer. Why is the number of white children in the system decreasing while the number of black children increases? When custody remains a last resort for children, why is the number of children locked up increasing? Is the reduced number of FTEs due to an increased use of informal diversion? What is overwhelmingly clear is that the disproportionate number of BAME children arrested, prosecuted and put into custody is a problem which is getting worse.