Children in care in Brighton and Hove are to have their chances of being given a criminal record at an early age reduced.
Sussex Police said that it would try to make more use of a practice known as community resolution when dealing with youngsters in care.
Sussex Police said: “Children in local authority care have higher average rates of offending than children who are still in the care of their families.
“Where parents would punish bad behaviour by grounding or stopping pocket money, for example, in care homes punishment usually involves the police.
“Although it may be acting in the best interests of all involved, it is likely to criminalise looked after children when there are other options of dealing with this behaviour.”
Chief Inspector Ian Pollard said: “One option is community resolution, the victim-led way of dealing with an offence, which has been used every day across the county by officers since being launched a year ago.
“Community resolution places the victim very much at the centre of the decision-making process.
“They reflect on the harm caused to them and, if they choose, propose outcomes to be completed by the offender to put the harm right.
“Community resolution delivers immediate justice for the victim and makes the offender take responsibility and complete reparation for their action.
“It will also help police officers to have more discretion in a situation when called out to a children’s home as well as giving care workers a greater understanding of what will happen when they call the police and to highlight the different options when dealing with challenging behaviour in young people.”