By Abby Rugg
Crimes and incidents in children’s homes are to be dealt differently by police so that young people are prevented from being criminalised.
Photo used under Creative Commons by Saltdeanbeach
Sussex Police, along with partners, are to use Community Resolutions when officers are called to deal with children in care.
Children in local authority care have higher average rates of offending than those who are in the care of their families.
Chief Inspector Ian Pollard said: “One such option is community resolution, the victim-led way of dealing with an offence, which has been used everyday 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.”
Within a family, parents punish bad behaviour (for example, by grounding) whereas punishment in care homes often involves the police.
Although it may appear that calling the police is in the best interests, it is likely to criminalise these children when there are other options of preventing unruly behaviour.
Inspector Pollard added: “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 and 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.”