More than 11,000 children and teenagers were arrested by West Yorkshire Police in less than three years.
Figures published by the Yorkshire Evening Post revealed the sheer number of under 18s who were detained by officers.
The arrests were made in connection with crimes including drink driving, possession and supply of Class A drug and sexual offences.
Over a third of the young suspects (around 4650) were from the Leeds area.
The force has insisted that the number of children and teenagers being detained and charged was continuing to fall.
Assistant Chief Constable Geoff Dodd said the decision to prosecute a young person was not taken lightly.
“Last year, West Yorkshire Police officers arrested 23,000 suspects in Leeds; around seven per cent of these arrests were of suspects under 17 years of age.
“However, arrest is not automatic; officers have to consider whether it is appropriate and necessary.
“The care that officers take is particularly relevant when dealing with younger suspects. Wherever it is appropriate, officers will often deal with young people outside of a formal custody system.”
Some campaign groups have previously criticised police for pursuing charges against young people, fearing the impact it will have on their future prospects.
Andrew Neilson, from the Howard League for Penal Reform, said that in some cases making an arrest made it more difficult for a child to go on to university or find work in adult life.
At Lester Morrill, we understand and appreciate that being accused of a crime can be a daunting experience for anyone, particularly children – and this is why our Leeds-based solicitors specialise in assisting young offenders. Our specialist lawyers are highly experienced in representing young people and guiding them through the legal process in a clear and sympathetic way. To find out more about how we can assist you, contact our team today.