Criminalising the Minor – Should this be a purpose of the Criminal Justice System?

Case 1.  A 10 year old takes a mobile phone of another pupil. ‘He’s seen on CCTV.’ Ok, he’s TEN… The school call the POLICE to ARREST him and take him to a police station for interview! Is this appropriate? Couldn’t the school deal with the issue?

Case 2.  A 14 year old loses his Oyster, his friend gives him one with its name/photo scratched out. The head teacher finds out and calls the school’s ‘police liaison officer’ – who arrests him and takes him to the police station for handling stolen goods and is interviewed with his mother accompanying who agrees her son should be cautioned!

Case 3.  A boy, 15, is arresting in school for a robbery outside school. The register would have confirmed he was in class at the time but again we are off to the police station. His mum wonders why he is not home after school and goes to a police station to report him MISSING. Frantic she returns home to find the police outside her house, (imagine her panic), but they are from the police station where he is held, they’ve come to search the house! Neither the school of the police informed the parents of their sons’ arrest – a simple conclusion.

Surely there are better ways of dealing with children, and despite recent criticism, a more robust view of what properly should be in this the domain of police investigation and when it is properly a police matter a degree of care and attention before leaping in to arrest and detain. These are children.

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