THE number of women being arrested in Lancashire has increased by 46 per cent in the last year, according to a study from the Prison Reform Trust.

Arrest rates for women have jumped by nearly half in some parts of England and Wales, the new analysis has shown.

The number held in 2015/16 increased compared to the previous year in nearly two out of five forces.

The largest increase was seen in Lancashire while similar increases were seen in Dorset, 45 per cent, and Hertfordshire, 40 per cent, the trust said.

By contrast, Hampshire, Leicestershire and Gwent police recorded annual falls of 28 per cent, 29 per cent and 31 per cent respectively, according to figures compiled by the charity.

It released the findings alongside a report setting out the case for greater use of 'problem-solving approaches' for women at the point of arrest in cases where the harm caused by an offence is low, but where the individual has multiple or complex needs.

Author of the report Dr Thomas Guiney said: "The evidence is clear that point of arrest can be the ideal opportunity for effective early intervention, giving women the support they need to tackle the issues leading to their offending.

"Our report shows that this is working well in some areas - where police and other agencies are collaborating to ensure a proportionate and fair outcome. More must be done to ensure these services are available across England and Wales."