THE way police deal with incidents and crimes in children’s homes is changing to try to prevent young people being criminalised.
Community resolution is one of the practices to be used by Sussex Police along with partners when officers are called to deal with children in care.
Children in local authority care have higher average rates of offending than children who are still in the care of their families.
Sussex Police said where parents would punish bad behaviour by grounding or stopping pocket money for example, in care homes punishment usually involves the police. Although it may be acting in the best interests of all involved, it is likely to criminalise looked-after children when there are other options of dealing with this behaviour.
Chief Inspector Ian Pollard said: “One such option is community resolution, the victim-led way of dealing with an offence, which has been used everyday across the county by officers since being launched a year ago.
“Community Resolution places the victim very much at the centre of the decision making process. They reflect on the harm caused to them and if they choose, propose outcomes to be completed by the offender to put the harm right. Community Resolution delivers immediate justice for the victim and makes the offender take responsibility and complete reparation for their action.
“It will also help police officers to have more discretion in a situation when called out to a children’s home and as well as giving care workers a greater understanding of what will happen when they call the police and to highlight the different options when dealing with challenging behaviour in young people.”