Uttar Pradesh police: ‘child – friendly’ police
The police and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000
On November 20th 2009, the global community
celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of
the Child (CRC). The Convention was ratified by
Following the ratification of the CRC by
The Police Department plays a key role in ensuring the effective implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act. The Police are normally the first responder for children who come in contact with the law or need care and protection. Hence, the importance of sensitizing police and creating a ‘child – friendly’ police cadre.
A number of provisions in the Juvenile Justice Act notably pertain to the role of the Police Department with regard to children who come in contact with law enforcing agencies:
· Special Juvenile Police Units (SJPUs) in every district and city to ensure children’s rights and liberties are protected.
· Juveniles, if apprehended by the Police and not released on bail, shall be placed under the SJPU and produced before the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) within twenty four hours of his/her apprehension.
· Juveniles not to be placed under Police lock up or lodged in jail.
· The Officer - in - Charge of the police station or the SJPU to, as soon as may be after the arrest, inform: (a) the parent or guardian of the juvenile, if he/she can be found, of such arrest direct him/her to be present at the JJB before which the juvenile will appear; and (b) the Probation Officer of such arrest to enable him/her to obtain information.
· No juvenile to be charged or tried for any offence together with a person who is not a juvenile.
· No report, in print or visual media, to be furnished or proceedings under this Act to disclose the name, address, school or photos of children.
· Juvenile offender to be kept only in an observation home in the prescribed manner, until he/she can be brought before the JJB.
· No Police Officer to subject the juvenile to neglect, assault or any kind of physical or mental suffering.
The Police play an equally important role in ensuring the protection of children in need of care and protection. Notable amongst these are:
· To produce the child in front of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC).
· To ensure that investigations of crimes against children are completed in a time bound manner.
· To rescue children from exploitative conditions under Section 32 of the Act.
· To ensure that the identity of the child is protected.
· To assist children to trace their families and escort children in tracing and repatriation efforts.
· To take the child to the hospital for age verification and medical examination.
Under all circumstances, the Police should – while coming in contact with children in conflict with the law or children in need of care and protection – follow the basic principles outlined below:
· Best interests of the child: treat him/her as your own child and as a unique individual requiring an individualistic approach.
· Be child – friendly and gender sensitive: children are different to adults; boys are different to girls.
· Girls should be dealt with by female Police Officers. This includes supervision, handling, searching, interviewing.
· Non – discrimination: do not assume that a street child has achieved ‘adult’ levels of emotional and moral development because of the way they look and act.
· Do not use violence or unnecessary force.
The 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and related national legal instruments like the Juvenile Justice Act are once again a reminder for all of us in the Police Force – as duty bearers of children’s rights - to respect the liberties of children and hear their voices because it is their right to be heard and to be treated as victims of their circumstance rather than offenders.
UP Police with the support of UNICEF Uttar Pradesh.