CYPN reports that Police chiefs unveil strategy to treat under-18s as ‘children first’
A strategy document published by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), which replaced the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) following its closure last October, sets out “key principles” for how officers should deal with young people. It states that in all encounters with the police “it is crucial” that under-18s “be treated as children first”.
The document also calls on police to make efforts to identity the vulnerability of children and young people they deal with and respond effectively “in order to protect them from harm”. It goes on to say that police should seek a “full understanding” of the circumstances behind the young people who come to their attention.
“It is unusual for a young person to be a serious offender without being a victim of circumstance or offending themselves,” the document states. “This may not affect the way we utilise the criminal justice system but should open our eyes to alternative avenues for addressing their behaviour.”
The strategy also identifies four priority work areas for the three-year period: understanding where improvements to stop and search are needed; avoiding the unnecessary criminalisation of young people; improving relationships with young people; and addressing the over-representation of looked-after children in the youth justice system.
“We need to make every effort to avoid the unnecessary criminalisation of children in care, making sure that the criminal justice system is not used for resolving issues that would ordinarily fit under the umbrella of parenting,” the report states.
Thanks to Steve Case of Positive Youth Justice for this link. Perchance a breakthrough can come from an unexpected quarter. We will be posting a guest blog by Steve next week, which sheds further light on the struggle across services working with children and young people to resist and overturn the dominant ideology of ‘blaming the victim’.