Research published by the Howard League for Penal Reform today found the force made 4,663 arrests of children aged 17 and under last year, down from 12,947 in 2010.
Across England and Wales, the total number of arrests has also fallen by 64 per cent in six years – from almost 250,000 in 2010 to 87,525 in 2016.
Academic research has shown that the more contact a child has with the system, the more entrenched they are likely to become, which in turn increases reoffending rates.
Howard League chief executive Frances Crook said: “For the sixth year running, we have seen a significant reduction in child arrests across the country. This is a tremendous achievement, and we will continue to support police forces to develop their good practice and reduce the number to an absolute minimum.
“West Yorkshire Police should be applauded for their positive approach, and the Howard League is proud to have played its part in a transformation that will make our communities safer.
“By working together, we are ensuring that tens of thousands of children will have a brighter future and not be dragged into a downward spiral of crime and custody.”
Every police force in England and Wales made fewer child arrests in 2016 than in 2010.
And all but four forces brought down their number of arrests by more than half.