Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Page Six - Juvenile Domestic Caution (Copcast #121)

George criminalised a teenager this week and he doesn't feel great about it. His Sergeant, his inspector and all his colleagues agree that the action taken was 'ridiculous but inevitable'.

Picture this; a 17 year old girl left home to find her way in life. A little young perhaps, but she was fed up with her controlling mother who refused to let her grow up. She arranged to stay at her aunt's and just needed a few things from her mother's place so along with a friend, she attended her mum's house only to find that her mum had locked her out and had dumped all of her clothes, CD's and personal possesions. The girl lost the plot and kicked the front door and made various threats, mum panicked and called the police.

George attended and spoke to all parties concerned and discovered that the girl just wanted her stuff but mum wanted her to come home under her terms. No one had been injured, nothing had been damaged, there had just been a lot of shouting and tears. Anyway a domestic violence form was completed and the girl heeded words of advice given to her to go away and contact her mother when she is calmer.

Mum then poured out all her woes to George explaining that she doesn't want to make a complaint as she doesn't want to 'criminalise' her daughter who has never been in trouble before. George suggested she leave things at that for the time being and wait until everyone had calmed down before speaking to her daughter again. George returned to the police station to finalise the ream of resulting paperwork.

The next day George received an email; 'Mum now wants to make a complaint, she has spoken to her father who thinks that arresting the girl would do her good'.

'Ps the incident has been crimed as section 4a of the Public Order Act'.

Brilliant. Now that meant George had to return and obtain a statement and carry out house to house enquiries etc. First things first, he spoke to the mother to find out exactly what was going on. Mum told George that since her phone call to the police station she'd had yet another change of heart and no longer wanted to prosecute her daughter. Sighing inwardly George informed her that in order to get the incident classed as 'no offence' he would need a brief statement from her, stating that she no longer wanted to prosecute because that would irrepairably destroy their already strained relationship and she wasn't under any duress, etc. Having obtained this he submitted the crime report as 'no offence', with a full screed as to why a prosecution wasn't in the public interest.

Three days later the crime report was bounced back with a note from the Crime Management Office stating 'the crime report has been rejected, you have to deal with this matter positively as per policy'. George spoke to his Sergeant who referred him to the Inspector who in turn said it was crazy but they had no choice but to arrest the girl and put her through the criminal justice system. It's police policy to prosecute any apparent offender in a case of domestic violence regardless of whether the victim wants them prosecuted.

So against the wishes of the 'victim', George invited the girl into the police station on a voluntary basis and interviewed her under caution then issued her a reprimand after she fully admitted what had happened. Although George didn't arrest her the reprimmand is recorded as a conviction and she had her DNA and fingerprints taken. The girl wants to work with children but that isn't going to happen for a while because the reprimand will show up on a Criminal Records check.

George isn't happy because criminalising teenagers for being just a bit gobby isn't what I joined up for. All in all a completely unrewarding experience which has further reinforced his belief that common sense is a difficult quality to find today.

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