General News of Saturday, 17 November 2018
The police have been asked to adopt child-friendly approaches as part of the ‘Standard Operating Procedure’ (SOP), when dealing with children who have had brushes with the law.
The SOP entails considering the best interest of the child, upholding the child’s rights, protection of their privacy and confidentiality, and their protection from public ridicule or denigration through the use of the media.
Police Superintendent Benjamin Dokurugu of the Boaman District Command was speaking at a six-day workshop for some police officers in Kumasi.
He said the SOP also stipulated that arrests must be the last resort, whiles investigations must be speedily conducted in consultation with the Social Welfare Department (SWD).
“The rights of these children must be respected and their lives protected by the police to lessen any possibility of the child going through psychological trauma.
“All children in conflict with the law must be brought before the Judge within 48 hours after arrest to safeguard the best interest of the child.”
Mr Dokurugu added that the age, level of development and understanding of the child should be looked at when dealing with their cases and not the nature of the crime.
They needed to also be kept in juvenile cells and not in custody or prison with adult offenders, he said.
He also advised the officers to be careful not to use the gun on an aggressive child offender, but handle them with care and love.
The workshop, which was organized by the Ghana Police Service (GPS), with sponsorship from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), had the goal of integrating child friendliness into the Service.
It brought together 250 police personnel from the various units in the Ashanti Region.