Belfast Telegraph

'Wanted' photos of children slammed

The police's controversial tactic of publishing photos of children they want to question infringes their rights and must be avoided, the Policing Board has warned.

The "retrograde" practice leaves youths open to vigilante attacks and can label them as a troublemakers in their community before they have even faced a court, according to the board's Human Rights Committee.

The committee said it can be justified only in the most extreme circumstances, such as when a young person poses a threat to the public.

The police issued photographs of young suspects in the wake of last summer's rioting at Ardoyne in north Belfast and distributed leaflets in Londonderry containing images of youths they want to question.

The PSNI has defended the policy as "proportionate and lawful".

The criticism from the board is one of a number contained in the committee's thematic review of policing with children and young people published on Wednesday.

The 140-page report, which took 18 months to compile, also recommended that Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (Asbos) should no longer be issued to under-18s.

The committee found that the Asbos did not work and unduly stigmatise the recipients.

Last week, Justice Minister David Ford announced that he was to re-examine the use of Asbos in Northern Ireland.

The committee's review, which gathered evidence from young people and agencies working with them, claimed that society automatically blamed young people for anti-social behaviour, when that is often not the case.

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