Children’s rights and policing
Thanks to funding from Trust for London, CRAE has been working to improve police treatment of children and young people in London through our own policy and campaigning work and by supporting and co-ordinating the campaigning of other voluntary sector organisations. We are focussing on areas that we know from previous research affect children including: the use of force – including Taser; invasive searches; and overnight detention. CRAE is currently working on a series of briefings that set out the situation and suggested solutions for London (to be published in late Spring 2017).
Last year, we set up the London Forum on Children and Policing to bring voluntary sector organisations and experts together to share information, network and co-ordinate campaigning. The most recent, January 2017, meeting of the Forum brought together 22 voluntary sector organisations and experts to share information and network. Attendees including police, NGOs, community groups and academics and discussions focussed on: how children’s rights relate to the draft policing and crime plan drawn up by the Mayor’s Office; David Lammy’s review of the overrepresentation of BAME children and adults in the criminal justice system; and the Metropolitan Police Service’s trial of spit hoods in custody suites. The next meeting is scheduled for 22nd March. If you would like to know more or if your organisation would like to attend future meetings please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.
In parallel, CRAE is also working on national initiatives to improve children’s experiences of policing. For example, we took part in the National Police Chiefs’ Council annual conference on children and policing in January 2017 which heard powerful, direct testimony from children and young people who had been in contact with the police and we are contributing to the Home Office’s review with NGOs and community organisations on the Best Use of Stop and Search and invasive searches. We were also pleased that our work with senior officers helped ensure the new national strategy on custody, published in January 2017, commits to eliminating the use of custody for people with mental ill health (including children) and to ensuring custody is only ever used as a last resort for children.