An 18-month inquiry has led to the release today of an all-party report on children and police in England and Wales.
‘Significant’ proportion of children distrust police, inquiry finds http://t.co/jqJyk0sUf6 via @guardian— Stateless Diplomat (@S_lessDiplomat) October 28, 2014
This finding emerged despite a drop in youth arrest rates and some forces implementing specific measures to protect and engage with children and young people. The report found that police protection of children was subject to a “postcode lottery” and that children who had had interactions with police were more likely to mistrust them than those who had not.
England and Wales though, have also experienced a significant shift in public rhetoric regarding criminality and security in the last few years. For some, these findings will be unsurprising, considering the vitriol of justice and welfare policies which have been governing these agendas.
Westminster policies focusing on “othering” and dictating identity to the UK public have caused that public to fear and persecute others of age, class and race distinctions to themselves. Law enforcement officers are not exempt from this culture shift, and what may seem imperceptible is affecting how officers interact with people they “other” as a result of this civil dialogue.
|Source: The Telegraph|
The government’s priorities to define the UK and its citizens as separate from Europe, defined by employment status and national origin have leaked into the psyche of the average Briton’s perception of their community, and this is the foundation of failure, in this case to engage with and protect children and young people in their interactions with police.
Forces around the country need to continue to enact training and initatives to listen to and engage with young people. Further, this report highlights the absolute necessity to treat children not as “small adults” but as children first and foremost in all aspects of policing.
However, the report should and could have gone further in identifying the cultural shifts in government policy which could have caused this knock-on effect on the practice of our legislation. The law in any state, at any level, is not simply about the black letter, but what goes on between the lines.