WIGAN’S Police and Crime Commissioner has backed plans for a shake-up of how young people are treated in the criminal justice system.
New proposals from an independent Parliament inquiry advise that under-18s involved in minor crime should have their records wiped clean when they become adults.
This will only apply if the offenders have shown a commitment to turning their backs on criminal activity, the report adds.
PCC Tony Lloyd said: “If a child makes a silly mistake in their youth they shouldn’t be criminalised for the rest of their lives. We want to see all young people become successful, aspirational members of our communities – and this is as true for those who have committed minor offences as anyone else.
“Lord Carlile’s report is a carefully considered, thoughtful report that contains a number of sensible recommendations.
“There is a real need for reform in how the courts and the criminal justice system treat children in this country.
“If we truly believe in rehabilitation, we have to do all we can to give young people the tools to both learn from their failings and build for the future.
“This isn’t about taking a soft option on justice.
“What this report emphasises, is that the whole criminal justice system can work more effectively and provide more support to some of society’s most vulnerable individuals, to reduce reoffending in the long term.”
The report also includes laws to ensure that children are accompanied by an adult in court and a greater emphasis on the involvement of victims to help youngsters understand the impact their offending behaviour has had.
The report follows the ruling by the Supreme Court this month that all police cautions and minor convictions should not have to be disclosed in criminal record checks.
By disclosing cautions and minor convictions from when an individual was under the age of 18, the Disclosure and Barring Service was in breach of that person’s human rights, argued the Supreme Court.
Under the new system, cautions given to adults are removed from criminal records checks after six years. Cautions to children will be filtered out after two years.