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Police need new approach to youth

23 October, 2012

Police need new approach to youth

Young people need realistic bail options, not to be locked up and denied their rights, Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei says.

“A fundamental change in police culture when it comes to youth is needed,” Mrs Turei said.

“Today’s joint Independent Police Conduct Authority, Office of the Children's Commissioner and Human Rights Commission report shows too many youth are being detained in police cells for too long and it’s happening more and more often.

“Locking up a young person in a dirty cell doesn’t ‘teach them a lesson’, it makes them angry.

“Abusing young people’s rights and treating them badly sets them up to resent authority and makes it more likely they will reoffend because they have been given no reason to respect police.

“Many police try their best but resourcing issues leave them with few options.”

The Green Party wants police to adopt many of the recommendations in today’s report such as properly resourcing Supported Bail programmes so that youth can stay with family or an approved caregiver.

“Supported Bail has been shown to reduce reoffending. Isn’t that the idea? Instead of locking up our youth we need to step in and set them on a better path yet programmes like Supported Bail are under-resourced and not widely available,” Mrs Turei said.

“I urge the Police Minister to think of the future costs when deciding whether today’s youth are worth investing in.”

For more information: http://www.ipca.govt.nz/Site/media/2012/2012-October-23-Joint-Thematic-Review.aspx

ENDS

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