SCYJ submission to the Home Office consultation on PACE Code C

SCYJ has made a submission to the Home Office consultation on the revision of PACE code C, which outlines requirements for the detention, treatment and questioning of suspects in police custody.

SCYJ has concerns over changes to the definition of vulnerable adult: it is important that it is made clear that the protections and procedures that apply to vulnerable adults apply equally to children with vulnerabilities.

SCYJ welcomes the fact that the revised Code seeks to define the role of the Appropriate Adult, and makes recommendations to improve the definition.

SCYJ has concerns over the use of video link to conduct interviews and reviews of detention, namely that the use of live link can damage a child’s ability to participate effectively and can interfere with the ability to accurately judge a child’s welfare and vulnerabilities. Safeguards are needed to ensure live link is only used when appropriate.

SCYJ has serious concerns about the use of voluntary interviews due to safeguards that apply to children in police custody not being applied to voluntary or home interviews. We welcome the provision of information about rights and entitlements to suspects in advance of a voluntary interview, but seek further clarifications and safeguards.

You can read our submission here.

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SCYJ submission to the AGO call for evidence on social media and the administration of justice

SCYJ has made a submission to the Attorney General’s Office’s (AGO) call for evidence on breaches of reporting restrictions on social media. We are aware of instances of reporting restrictions being breached on social media and in internet searches.

SCYJ believes the law as it stands is clear and enforceable but is undermined by: a) a statutory loophole allowing children to be identified pre-charge; b) the absence of a clear route for bringing breaches to the attention of social media providers; and c) a failure of social media providers (and others) effectively to remove illegal material where this is brought to their attention.

Breaches of reporting restrictions on social media could be reduced and tackled if: a) internet companies made reporting breaches simpler and clearer; b) internet companies took swift and effective action to prevent breaches; c) the AGO, police and Crown Prosecution Service took action against offenders; d) the law was changed to prevent children being named pre-charge; and e) a public education campaign was launched to ensure people are aware of the law on reporting restrictions.

You can read our submission here.

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SCYJ submission to Home Office consultation on Offensive and dangerous weapons: new legislation

SCYJ has made a submission to the Home Office consultation on new weapons legislation, which proposes a number of new laws around knives and corrosive substances. We set out our views on these proposals as they affect children.

In principle we do not object to proposals B and C, which extend existing offences around possessing certain weapons in private and possessing offensive weapons in education institutions other than schools. However, we continue to oppose mandatory custodial sentences for children and would caution that criminal justice measures cannot prevent knife crime.

Proposal D introduces a more complicated test for the offence of threatening with a knife or offensive weapon, and greatly lowers the threshold for conviction. Given the severe penalty associated with a conviction (custody) SCYJ does not believe the change is justified.

Proposal G makes it an offence to possess a corrosive substance in a public place. SCYJ understands the serious concern around acid attacks, but believes the proposed legislation is unnecessary. If it is to be introduced, it needs significant amendments to satisfy the requirements of legal certainty and avoid unjust and unintended prosecutions.

You can read our submission here.

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