Police chiefs in South Yorkshire say a reduction in the number of children arrested in the county is proof that the force is trying not to criminalise youngsters.
The number of children arrested in South Yorkshire has dropped by more than two thirds over the last five years.
Last year 1,812 children were arrested by South Yorkshire Police compared to 6,235 in 2010.
Chief Inspector Stuart Walne, from South Yorkshire Police, said: “The significant reduction in the numbers of children being arrested and brought into custody is testament to the efforts of police and partnership agencies.
"There is work ongoing across the region to keep as many children as possible out of the criminal justice system as we recognise that those under 17 are often vulnerable and require support, rather than criminalisation.
“We will always consider whether it is necessary to arrest a child or if we can use another option, like community intervention, or voluntary interviews either at a station or at the child’s home.
“South Yorkshire is also one of the pilot forces for the 'liaison and diversion' scheme, which places mental health professionals in the criminal justice system so that a vulnerable adult or child can be promptly referred to other services to get the treatment or support they need.
“We have to consider why these individuals are committing crime and how we can help them to guide them away from further re-offending, and the figures demonstrate that the hard work of agencies across South Yorkshire is having a positive impact.”