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Opinion / Youth Justice

Tackling radicalisation must not deter radical thinking

By Paul Ennals |

29 September 2015

At election time, I wrote about the lack of inspiration, radicalisation or excitement among young people in Britain. Well, at least that is changing. Whatever you might feel about Jeremy Corbyn, you can't deny that there is a different mood about today. Social media is lively and bubbling about politics, and young people are in the middle of real debates about real issues. It feels like Scotland did last year.

The Scottish government has announced that all non-statutory - or "consensual" - stop and search by police officers in Scotland is to end, which I strongly welcome. Non-statutory searches, as the name suggests, have no basis in Scots law. They rely on people voluntarily consenting to a search by a police officer. There is no requirement for an officer to have a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed, nor for the officer to justify the reason for carrying out the search. These searches infringe children's and young people's rights. The inherent power imbalance between a police officer and a child or young person makes it unlikely that the tactic could ever truly be called "consensual".

Extending youth justice beyond age 18 is a no-brainer

By Howard Williamson |

17 February 2015

The number of young people in the youth justice system has fallen dramatically. When I departed the Youth Justice Board (YJB) in 2008, the numbers in youth custody had just peaked at over 3,000. Today, they have dropped to below 1,000, with corresponding closures of young offender institutions, secure training centres and local authority secure children's homes.

Help prisoners' children to stem future offending

By Derren Hayes |

09 December 2014

The government's latest idea for separating young adult offenders from the bulk of the prison population was unveiled last week.

We have been saturated lately by media coverage of high-profile cases of child sexual exploitation and trafficking. In many cases, subsequent findings show those vulnerable children have been systematically failed by institutions that exist to protect them, including the police. These cases - most notably in Rotherham, Oxford, Telford and Rochdale - have raised concerns about how the police and other agencies engage with children and young people overall, especially victims of abuse.

Police presence in all schools is unnecessary and unwanted

By Howard Williamson |

14 October 2014

Howard Williamson says there was never any intention to have police officers in all schools.

CYP Now's investigation into school safety reveals some worrying trends in terms of the reduction in police presence in schools. A third of police forces have cut the number of PCs and community support officers based in schools over the past two years, while overall numbers of officers dedicated to this type of work has also fallen over the same period.

Police use of stop and search undermines trust

By Tam Baillie |

19 August 2014

Police powers of stop and search have been high on the agenda in Scotland since the publication earlier this year of a report on the subject from Edinburgh University. It contained some surprising figures and highlighted police practice that remains a concern.

Mistakes must not haunt a young person's future

By Patricia Lewsley-Mooney |

05 August 2014

Children's commissioner for Northern Ireland Patricia Lewsley-Mooney says young people should not be penalised for early-life mistakes.

'Jail for a day' might just work to deter youth crime

By Howard Williamson |

22 July 2014

Howard Willaimson says very short custodial sentences could potentially reduce reoffending.