child drawing of police car and prison bars

The role of police officers

Often, police do not consider children or behave appropriately around them when arresting a parent; and Experiences of criminal justice system, continued various stakeholders recommend that suggestions to improve this should include

  • training for police on identifying if the person being arrested has children,
  • having them wear civilian clothing and not use handcuffs or violence when children are present,
  • ensure they do not witness the arrest or search and allow arrested parents time to say goodbye.

Clear written guidelines could help police perform impact assessments of the children’s needs and use subtler methods of arrest that maintain the parent’s dignity in front of children, ensure that someone appropriate can speak to children at the time of arrest and ensure there is follow-up (by police, social services or others) if children are temporarily placed with neighbours or other alternative carers.

Further information can be found in the DIHR and COPING reports as well as the EU funded special edition newsletter on police, judges and sentencing and the looking forward edition.

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