Children's Rights - Human Rights Joint Committee Contents


Memorandum submitted by Liberty

INTRODUCTION

  1.  Liberty is delighted to respond to the Committee's Inquiry into Children's Rights. The protection of children's human rights is a key campaigning priority for Liberty. In this short response we highlight several relevant areas in which we are currently lobbying, campaigning and taking test litigation. While this response is not comprehensive, we hope that it will give an overview of the areas where we believe that action is required.

2.  It is worth noting at the outset that Liberty has concerns over the growing demonization of young people both in certain quarters of the media as well as in wider public discourse. Indeed the UN Committee on the Rights of Child which reported on UK compliance in September last year noted their concern at the "general climate of intolerance and negative public attitudes towards children, especially adolescents, which appears to exist in the UK, including in the media".[341] Sadly, it seems that negative stereotyping of young people has informed the development of much of the law and policy relating to children over recent years. This is especially so in the criminal justice sphere. Children it seems have become either "good" or "bad". Anti-social louts or innocent victims. Simplistic and cartoon-like type-casting is as unrealistic as it is unhelpful. Liberty takes the opportunity presented by this Inquiry to urge parliamentarians to desist from short-term point-scoring by `playing politics' with our children.

PHYSICAL RESTRAINT

  3.  Liberty welcomed the Court of Appeal decision in July 2008 to quash Regulations that allowed the use of restraint techniques in Secure Training Centres. Introduced in 2004, the physical restraint methods (which allowed the pulling back of thumbs and short sharp shocks to the nose) were permitted where considered necessary to restore good order and discipline. While the Court of Appeal rightly held that the use of such techniques contravened Article 3 of European Convention on Human Rights[342] Liberty was hugely disappointed that despite the landmark Court of Appeal ruling, a Government review triggered by the deaths in custody of two children[343] (following the use of physical restraint) declined to rule out the use of such physical restraint when it reported in December 2008. Liberty is similarly disappointed that the Government—in response to the review—failed to take the opportunity to uphold the decision by the Court of Appeal.[344] Instead, the Ministry of Justice announced that two techniques that had been temporarily banned would be permitted for six months until "safer" techniques were identified. It is a national embarrassment that the most fundamental and inalienable right of all—the right not to be subjected to torture, inhuman and degrading treatment—cannot be guaranteed for the most vulnerable in our society—our children, when they are entrusted into the hands of the state. The use of violent physical restraint techniques against children in detention is wholly unacceptable and Liberty urges the Committee to continue to treat this issue as a matter of urgent priority.

CHILDREN & ASYLUM

Withdrawal of the UK's reservation to the CRC

  4.  Liberty welcomes the Government's recent withdrawal of the UK's reservation to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The reservation had reserved the Government's right, notwithstanding the provisions of the Convention, to legislate "as it may deem necessary" in respect of individuals who fall under immigration control, and in respect of matters relating to citizenship. The reservation dehumanised migrant children and was wholly unjustified.[345]

Duty regarding the welfare of children

5.  We also welcome clause 51 of the Borders, Immigration & Citizenship Bill (currently before Parliament) which mirrors the welfare duty contained in section 11 of the Children Act 2004. As the Joint Committee on Human Rights noted at the time:

    "the exclusion of agencies dealing with asylum seeking children from the duty under [the Children Act] to promote the welfare of children| amounted to unjustified discrimination against asylum-seeking children on the grounds of nationality."

    However while we welcome the inclusion of a duty to cover those in the immigration system, as currently worded, clause 51 falls short—only covering the treatment of children "who are in the United Kingdom". Immigration officials exercise many of their functions in relation to children outside of the UK.[346] Conscious of the frequent reports of abuse and heavy-handedness in the removals process Liberty believes that immigration officials and contractors should be subject to the same duties in their dealings with children when outside the UK as they are within the jurisdiction. Liberty has suggested an amendment to clause 51 which would extend the duty outside of the jurisdiction.[347] We sincerely hope that this amendment might be tabled in due course.

    Children in immigration detention

      6.  We are pleased that the Committee has decided to bring the detention of children in the asylum system within the scope of this inquiry. This is an important and pressing issue which has not received sufficient political attention, despite the dedicated work of a number of organisations specialising in this field.[348] We are particularly concerned about the amount of time people are spending in immigration detention, the failure to consider more proportionate alternatives to detention, the brutality experienced on journeys to and from airports and the lack of follow-up. Asylum-seekers and other migrants in the UK are entitled to the same essential human rights and freedoms as British nationals. Their rights can only be limited to the extent that is truly necessary and proportionate to the fair administration of the immigration system. This principle certainly applies no less to children than it does to adults.

    7.  The area of particular concern for children is the continued incarceration of children in immigration detention centres.[349] A report issued in 2007 by the Children's Rights Alliance for England and the National Children's Bureau highlighted the link between immigration detention and fear, distress, depression and physical sickness on the part of children subjected to it.[350] Earlier, the Children's Commissioner for England had stated, after visiting one detention centre, that it was "not possible to ensure that children detained in Yarl's Wood stay healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic well-being".[351]

      8.  The CRC Committee lent international support for a review of current policy in September 2008 stating:

    "the Committee is concerned that as also acknowledged recently by the Human Rights Committee, asylum-seeking children continue to be detained, including those undergoing an age assessment, who may be kept in detention for weeks until the assessment is completed".[352]

  Liberty has consistently pressed for reform of the law in this area. We believe that the detention of adults and children for administrative convenience violates Article 5 of the HRA and is not justified. The impact of detention on children is particularly damaging and anecdotally Liberty aware of several horror stories concerning children who are detained in this way.

  9.  Another example of unsatisfactory law and policy in this area is the current practice for age-determination of asylum-seeking children. Under UK law, an unaccompanied child asylum seeker is entitled to be looked after by the local authority as a child, rather than dispersed around the country with adult asylum seekers. However, Home Office policy requires that if a local authority deems the individual to be an adult, the immigration authorities will allow that person to be detained as an adult and possibly deported or removed to a "safe" third country.

  10.  In September 2008 Liberty intervened in the Court of Appeal after two young asylum seekers brought a joint appeal against Croydon Borough Council and Lambeth Borough Council. "A" fled Afghanistan after his father was killed and he was forced to leave his home. Although a doctor calculated that he was 15 years old, Croydon Social Services claimed he was over 18 and refused to provide him with children's support. He became homeless. "M" fled Libya in fear of political persecution and although the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal assessed him as under 18, Lambeth Borough Council denied him proper support after deciding he was an adult. The Court of Appeal considered if local authorities should retain sole responsibility for determining the age of unaccompanied child asylum seekers. Liberty argued that the current system is unfair because local authorities must take financial responsibility for child asylum seekers and so have a vested interest in deciding a refugee is an adult in an attempt to save scarce resources. Liberty suggests that a better solution would be the creation of specialist independent centres for the assessment of the age of asylum-seeking children. While the case was ultimately unsuccessful in the Court of Appeal an appeal is planned in the House of Lords.

  11.  The CRC Committee raised concerns in several other areas regarding the treatment of asylum seeking children including: "(b) a lack of data on the number of children seeking asylum; (c) no independent oversight mechanism, such as a guardianship system, for an assessment of reception conditions for unaccompanied children who have to be returned; (d) Section 2 of the 2004 Asylum and Immigration Act permits the prosecution of children over the age of 10 if they do not possess valid documentation upon entry to the United Kingdom".

  12.  Liberty takes this opportunity to endorse the observations of the Committee and to press for reform of the treatment of asylum seeking children. Sadly, examples abound of Government policies and practices exhibiting disregard and disrespect for the rights of non-nationals, including non-national children.[353] One statutory provision which has given rise to serious human rights concerns with regard to children is Section 9 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc) Act 2004. This allows support to be withdrawn from a failed asylum-seeker, who may have dependant children, if the Home Secretary considers that they have failed to take reasonable steps to leave the UK voluntarily, even if that person's children are then taken into care. In June 2007, the Government announced that, following unsatisfactory pilots, it would not be applying section 9 on a blanket basis in the future. The provision, however, remains in force and at the disposal of the authorities.

  13.  We cannot ignore, in this context, the stigmatisation and marginalisation of asylum-seekers and other immigrants evident in certain quarters of British society. This may be attributed in part to the misrepresentation of such people by elements of the media as a drain on public resources, a threat to British identity, and even a danger to our health and national security.[354] Such stereotyping encourages prejudice, and injures both the individuals targeted and society as a whole.[355] However, the media cannot be held solely responsible for the ignorance and ill-will towards migrants that colours some sections of public opinion. Politicians and officials are guilty too. The "politics of asylum" has operated both to encourage hostile public perception and to undermine the developing values and law of human rights in the UK. Migrants have been treated in inhumane, degrading and discriminatory ways as a result of laws passed by Parliament, policies pursued by Government and decisions taken by officials. As we creep closer to a General Election, Liberty has issued an Election Asylum Pledge which we urge all MPs and parliamentary candidates to sign.[356]

CHILDREN AND LAW ENFORCEMENT

Custody

  14.  In their UK report the CRC Committee expressed concern that the number of children deprived of their liberty in the UK is high indicating that detention is not a measure of last resort. Liberty has similar concerns. Custody should and must be the last resort for children. We do not intend to rehearse the arguments for custody as a last resort: the legal, moral and practical imperatives are well documented. However, despite this, and despite high recidivism rates for those institutionalised at a young age, Liberty is concerned that political point-scoring continues to dominate the youth justice agenda. Only last year we witnessed calls for presumptive custodial sentences for knife possession for under 18s. Not only would such a policy directly conflict with the UK's obligations under international human rights law[357] the approach also belies a fundamental understanding about the root cause of much of the knife possession among young people.

15.  Liberty welcomes the CRC Committee recommendations that the UK "develop a broad range of alternative measures to detention for children in conflict with the law; and establish the principle that detention should be used as a measure of last resort and for the shortest period of time as a statutory principle".[358] Liberty would urge the Government to take heed of this recommendation and, at the very least, to desist from legislating to allow for the increased imprisonment of young people—many of whom resort to knife possession through fear and intimidation.

ASBOs

16.  Liberty's concerns over the use of ASBOs are well documented. We believe they mix criminal and civil law, set people up to breach them, are increasingly counterproductive and used as a panacea for all ills. Our concerns over section 30 of the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003, which gives police the power to disperse groups of people, are similar in that there is no need for any individual to be suspected of involvement in criminal activity before being subjected to a dispersal order. Breach of an order (such as by returning to the area) is a criminal offence. Similar to an ASBO, the behaviour leading to breach does not have to be criminal.

17.  When the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 was passed the ASBO was intended to be a targeted response to a specific problem. It would be used to address difficulties faced by individuals in using traditional civil law remedies such as an injunction to prevent anti-social behaviour. Instead the state would take action on the individual's behalf through the ASBO. Since then the civil order (with breach a criminal offence) has been seen as the answer to nearly every problem of crime or disorder. There has been a constant and persistent blurring of what constitutes criminal activity and a continued move away from the courts as the mechanism for imposing preventative and punitive sanctions.

  18.  ASBOs and other non prosecution alternatives are more effective if targeted, such as being used as a "last chance" to avoid a criminal record. The problem with over-use and over-reliance on these orders is that, rather than providing an alternative to prosecution, they become a fast track to criminality. The study on ASBOs carried out by the Youth Justice Board published in November 2006 found that "nearly half of the young people whose case files were reviewed, and the vast majority of young people who were the subjects of in-depth interviews, had been returned to court for failure to comply with their order. The majority had "breached" their ASBO on more than one occasion".[359] Ever increasing extension of and reliance on non-criminal orders is likely to exacerbate the many concerns highlighted in the Youth Justice Board report. Indeed the CRC Committee last year called for a review of ASBOs with a view to abolishing their application to children.[360]

Youth Justice and the Government's Youth Crime Action Plan

  19.  In October 2008 the Government consulted on their cross-governmental Youth Crime Action Plan. Liberty has concerns about both the tone and the substance of the Youth Crime Action Plan. Much of the terminology and wording belies a worrying attitude towards young people's use of public spaces. Similarly the pitch of the consultation seems to further reinforce an "us" and "them" approach to the young, divorcing "young people" from a benign and passive "public" or "community". Liberty believes that this approach reinforces divisions between generations and does little to further the twin aims of addressing youth crime and victimhood.

20.  One of the recommendations contained in the consultation was that police should be urged to use all discretionary powers at their disposal in dealing with young people. Police powers legislation has, over recent years, become increasingly broad and discretion based. While the use of professional discretion has always been a necessary part of day to day police work, broadly defined discretionary powers are not a boon for police. In fact they can place huge and onerous pressures on police who are required to use their coercive powers in accordance with human rights principles of necessity and proportionality. Community policing and policing the young, in particular, involves sensitive operational judgments. The importance of good policing relations with the young cannot be underplayed and heavy-handed or overuse of policing powers does not sit easily with this objective. The Youth Crime Action Plan consultation itself recognised the problems of disengagement and mistrust citing an ACPO and youth training project in Norfolk where "before the session young people were skeptical of the police with 70% saying that the police didn't understand the things that matter to young people".[361] This is perhaps a telling verdict on the scant regard to policing engagement inherent in over-broad legislation. Liberty believes that additional Government pressure to make use of all powers available at all times sends a confusing and unfair message to police who are often better placed to judge the use of their powers on a case-by-case basis.

  21.  The consultation also proposed engaging young people with street-based teams of youth workers and ex-gang members. Liberty welcomes practical and realistic proposals to engage with young people engaged or at risk of engaging in criminal activity. We are however concerned at the vague additional proposal that "where there is a failure to comply, street-teams will be able to employ increasingly tough punishments". It appears from the consultation that a street-based approach to policing has been piloted in the Camden Borough of London with a focus on early intervention in conflicts between young people principally through mediation and encouraging productive activities. It is not clear from the pilot example what "compliance" refers to. It is also unclear what powers "street-teams" will have, who will authorise any such powers and what accountability structures (if any) will govern their work. If no new legislation is anticipated we imagine that that the Community Safety Accreditation Schemes (CSAS) will be used. CSAS were introduced in the Police Reform Act 2002. They allow civilians to be given powers traditionally reserved for the police. Council officers, private security guards, NHS trusts and housing associations and others can be accredited by authorisation of a Chief Constable. So far 1,400 people nationwide have been given these powers. We are deeply concerned by the continued growth of a system that allows the exercise of summary powers (such as the imposition of on-the-spot fines) by people who lack the training to deal with potentially confrontational situations. We are especially concerned at the use of this 'policing on the cheap' system to deal with young people. Handing out summary punishments can inflame a volatile situation. We are also concerned by the lack of proper accountability, particularly when accreditation is given to those in the private sector. If someone wishes to make a complaint about a police officer or PCSO they can go to the police station and ultimately have recourse to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) if necessary. It is not clear how "street teams" might be accountable. While Liberty supports efforts to divert young people away from the criminal justice system we are extremely wary of any further moves towards summary justice style powers or the extension of powers to those that are unaccountable and untrained.

  22.  The government consultation also dealt with perceptions about the youth justice system, stating: "we must tackle perceptions that the youth justice system is too lenient". It also pointed out that when members of the public are given the full facts of cases they tend to suggest less severe sentences than those received. We entirely agree that public mistrust and misunderstanding of the sentencing system, both for adults and the young, is problematic. For the sentencing of young people, the necessary emphasis on rehabilitation and avoidance of custody means that public perceptions of "being soft on crime" are a continuing concern. There is, of course, no easy solution to these perception problems. However part of the problem, certainly when a custodial sentence is inevitable, arises from a lack of clarity in the sentencing process. When a custodial sentence is passed, the language used rarely reflects the actual period to be spent in custody. Sentences of youth custody, though relatively uncommon, often involve significant publicity. If the language of sentencing reflected the likely custodial period it would help improve public confidence in sentencing policy.

  23.  The consultation also identified greater public involvement in community sentencing. It suggested, for example, that the public might be able to identify appropriate community sentence projects. Within the scope of appropriate activity for community sentence work we agree this might be a useful way of ensuring positive outcomes from community sentencing. We would, however, be concerned to see "local people having more opportunity to see ... action being taken to tackle youth offending" if the action involves gimmicks such as brightly coloured boiler suits. Public shaming of those subject to community sentences is neither necessary nor proportionate.

  24.  The consultation further proposed that judges and magistrates are to be encouraged to use their discretion to remove reporting restrictions. The purpose of this is, "to improve the transparency of the youth justice system". Article 40(2)(b)(vii) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) states that defendants under the age of 18 should have the right to privacy at all stages of criminal proceedings. Any reversal of this presumption should have a strong public policy basis. We do not accept that a vaguely expressed desire to improve transparency can provide justification for removing the presumption of reporting restrictions or for failing to comply with the UNCRC.

CHILDREN & EQUALITY

  25.  Liberty welcomes plans for an Equality Bill that we understand is due for publication later in this parliamentary session. As there is no text yet available our comments here will be limited. While there will be much to welcome in the proposed Bill, statements from Ministers so far have indicated that the unified equality protections and duties due to be consolidated within the Bill will exclude those under 18. Liberty can see no principled or practical reason for children to be excluded from an Equality Bill. While there may be areas where exceptions to the non-discrimination principle are required[362] Liberty does not see why these cannot be exactly that—exceptions—instead of a general exclusion of those under 18 from non-discrimination. If the Government is serious about protecting young people, including those under 18 within statutory non-discrimination protections is an ideal place to demonstrate their intention. Exclusion here will certainly send the wrong message.

CHILD PROTECTION & CHILD PRIVACY

Retention of DNA

  26.  The CRC Committee noted with concern that: "data regarding children is kept in the National DNA Database irrespective of whether the child is ultimately charged or found guilty".[363] Liberty has consistently lobbied for reform of the DNA retention regime in England & Wales. DNA can currently be taken from anybody arrested for a recordable offence. Once taken, DNA samples and profiles can (and in the vast majority of cases are) retained indefinitely. We have consistently argued that proportionality needs to be built in to any retention scheme. The principle of proportionality should inform (a) whether a DNA profile is to be retained and (b) the duration for which the profile should remain on the database. You might, for example, expect that the DNA profiles for those convicted of the most violent and sexual offences be retained indefinitely. Relevance, seriousness, and propensity for re-offending should inform retention regulation.

27.  Our arguments on DNA retention have now been supported by the European Court of Human Rights in the judgment in S and Marper[364] in which Liberty intervened. The Court held that the indefinite retention of innocent people's DNA on the NDNAD was a breach of Article 8 of the ECHR. The Government is now obliged to review the current regime to ensure compliance with the judgment. While the Home Secretary has announced that those under 10 will be removed from the database, Liberty is concerned that the Government is going to stop short of implementing a proportionate retention regime that adequately reflects the stigmatisation of children whose DNA profiles are held. There is little doubt that the under 10s must be removed—they are, after all, below the age of criminal responsibility and so retention on a crime detection and prevention database is totally indefensible. With regard to children, Liberty believes that the Government should go further. DNA is hugely intimate and the retention of DNA by the State represents a shift in the relationship between the individual and the State in each individual case. Maintaining a distinction between DNA retention for adults and children would recognise the stigmatisation of DNA retention.[365] As such, we believe that there should be a separate regime for the taking and retention of DNA from those under 18. Specifically: the State should not seek to take DNA from children unless there are exceptional circumstances; and a presumption in favour of DNA profile removal should exist at the point of reaching 18.

ContactPoint

28.  On 26 January 2009, Ministers announced that ContactPoint (formerly known as the Children Index) was commencing the first stage in delivery. ContactPoint is the name given to the database created under the Children Act 2004. The genesis for the database was Lord Laming's report into the death of Victoria Climbie« in January 2003. It should be emphasised that there is little dispute over the professed policy driver behind the creation of the database. The idea that appropriate information sharing could and should take place between appropriate bodies with issues of concern being flagged for action was and remains absolutely non-contentious.

29.  Liberty's concerns relate to the necessity and potential counter-productivity of the plan and the sheer volume of data that is to be retained. At the heart of the proposals for a universal child database was the implicit suggestion that the previous law was insufficient. The existing relevant statutory express provisions allowing information had been contained in the Children's Act 1989 and the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). The DPA, for example, explicitly allows information sharing in order to protect the vital interests of the person about who the information is held or to assist with the prevention and detection of crime. It is therefore misleading to imply that information sharing was prohibited before the Children Act 2004. What Victoria Climbie«'s case did demonstrate was a serious lack of understanding, resource and training by the care professionals involved.

  30.  Nonetheless, the creation of a centralised database containing information on every child has pressed ahead. Regulations made under the Children Act 2004 in 2007 set out in more detail the functioning of the database. Schedule 1 of the Regulations provides the information that will be held on the database,[366] and Schedules 2 and 3 provide who will have access to the database.[367] As with any mass informational database, privacy (and security) implications flow from the type of information contained and the access regime permitted. As established, a very broad range of individuals has the potential to access the database including bodies involved in the criminal justice system. We are not clear how this access regime equates with the stated aim of an index to facilitate contact between care professionals. In addition many granted access to ContactPoint are not professional and therefore not accountable to any professional body.

  31.While Liberty agreed that steps were needed to improve child protection including an appropriate information sharing regime for children at risk, we did not see the justification for the creation of a database encompassing information on every child in England. The creation of a database, and information sharing per se, cannot by themselves address child protection problems. We also felt that the creation of a mass informational system with scope for the retention and dissemination of huge amounts of data could be counter-productive. Too much information could mean children genuinely at risk could be overlooked. Liberty also has ongoing concerns about the security of ContactPoint. Over the past 18 months large volumes of personal information has been lost by Government. Improper access to an insecure centralised index containing information on every child in England could be hugely damaging. A centralised database containing sensitive information on all children would be a honeypot for those wishing to do children harm.

February 2009






341   Full report available at:http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/docs/AdvanceVersions/CRC.C.GBR.CO.4.pdf Back

342   Incorporated into domestic law under the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA). Back

343   For more information on the tragic deaths of Adam Rickwood and Gareth Myattsee http://inquest.gn.apc.org/pdf/2008/INQUEST_press_release_restraint_review_report.pdf Back

344   http://www.justice.gov.uk/docs/govt-response-restraint-review.pdf Back

345   For more information see http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/publications/pdfs/liberty-consultation-response-keeping-children-safe-from-harm.pdf  Back

346   This includes both at entry clearance posts and in the course of removals. Back

347   See our briefing for Committee Stage of the Bill in the House of Lords: http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/pdfs/policy-09/liberty-s-cte-briefing-on-the-borders-citizenship-immigration-bill.pdf  Back

348   Cf Bail for Immigration Detainees (http://www.biduk.org/) and Refugee Council (http://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/) Back

349   The Refugee Council has estimated that over 2,000 children were detained in 2004, and that over 30% of children are detained for over seven days. Back

350   Meeting the obligations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in England: Children and young people's messages to Government, April 2007, p44-45, 70. Back

351   Cited at eg Bail for Immigration Detainees, Obstacles to Accountability: Challenging the Immigration Detention of Families, June 2007, p 15. Back

352   http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/docs/AdvanceVersions/CRC.C.GBR.CO.4.pdf Back

353   Cf our comments in Liberty and Education Action, Evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights: Treatment of Asylum Seekers, October 2006. Back

354   Cf our comments in Liberty and Education Action, Evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights: Treatment of Asylum Seekers, October 2006. Back

355   See the website of the Information Centre about Asylum and Refuge (ICAR): http://www.icar.org.uk
 
Back

356   http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/issues/5-asylum/liberty-asylum-election-pledge.shtml Back

357   Article 37(b) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) states that: "The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time". Back

358   Ibid. Back

359   http://www.yjb.gov.uk/publications/Resources/Downloads/ASBO%20Summary.pdf. Despite evidence that ASBOs are proving counter-productive the Government seems determined to create ever more civil orders to deal with the behaviour of young people. Government amendments have recently been introduced to the Policing & Crime Bill which would create another civil order that could restrict clothing, movements and associations of young people. Sadly, the conditions envisaged are more akin to those permitted under a control order than an ASBO. Liberty will be commenting on these amendments in more detail in our Report Stage Briefing for the Policing & Crime Bill in the House of Commons. Back

360   The Committee also called for a review of the use of Mosquito devices: "The Committee recommends that the State party reconsider the ASBOs as well as other measures such as the mosquito devices insofar as they may violate the rights of children to freedom of movement and peaceful assembly, the enjoyment of which is essential for the children's development and may only subject to very limited restrictions as enshrined in article 15 of the Convention". Liberty along with the Children's Commissioner is currently campaigning for Mosquito devices to be banned: http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/issues/young-peoples-rights/stamp-out-the-mosquito.shtml  Back

361   Page 45 of the consultation document. Back

362   For example non discrimination in the provision of goods and services would require an exception to prevent the sale of alcohol to those under 18. Back

363   At paragraph 36 of the Committee's concluding observations. Back

364   Judgment was handed down on 4th December 2008: http://www.bailii.org/eu/cases/ECHR/2008/1581.html  Back

365   Liberty expressed concern last year after Gary Pugh, Director of Forensic Sciences at Scotland Yard and the DNA spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), suggested that DNA could be taken from children as young as five if they demonstrated behavioural problems in the classroom: "You could argue the younger the better. Criminologists say some people will grow out of crime; others won't. We have to find who are possibly going to be the biggest threat to society". The full interview can be found at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/mar/16/youthjustice.children  Back

366   This includes: name, address, date of birth, contact details for parents and carers, school attended, GP practice, other practitioners/services working with the child. Back

367   Huge numbers will have access to the database including children's charity employees, local authority employees, police force employees, teachers, probation officers etc. Back


 
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