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South Wales Police becomes one of the world’s first law enforcement agencies to adopt a Children’s Rights Charter

Last Updated: 02/03/2020

The rights of children have been put to the forefront as South Wales Police becomes one of the world’s first law enforcement agencies to adopt a Children’s Rights Charter.

Detailing the rights young people have when coming into contact with the force, the seven-point charter – officially adopted today (Monday, March 2nd) – sets out how police in South Wales will always work on behalf of and in the best interests of young people, treating them with respect and in confidence.

It refers to all contact young people have with the police, including if they have been a victim of crime or if they are accused of breaking the law.

Officers, staff and volunteers are all expected to abide by the charter’s promises whenever they come into contact with young people.

It is the first Children’s Rights Charter to have been adopted by a police force in the UK – and possibly the world.

Compiled with help from pupils at Pentrehafod School in Swansea, who were consulted on what values they held dear and what they expected from police, and based on The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the seven articles are aimed at everyone under 18 and explain how they have:

• The right to life, to be safe and protected
• The right to what is best for them
• The right to be listened to
• The right to help and support
• The right to information
• The right to respect
• The right to privacy and confidentiality

A number of pupils from Pentrehafod School met South Wales’ Chief Constable, Matt Jukes, and Police and Crime Commissioner, Alun Michael, at an event in at the school today to mark the charter’s official launch.

Police & Crime Commissioner Rt Hon Alun Michael said:

“The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) has established a comprehensive set of principles, critical to supporting and developing children in communities across the world and here in South Wales we recognise the importance of working together to achieve its ambitions.

“It is for these reasons that myself and the Chief Constable have made a joint commitment to the Convention, placing particular emphasis on using the experience of children and young people to understand exactly how policing can help to turn its principles into reality.

“This involves us developing both our policies and our approach to ensure that the responsibilities and powers of South Wales Police – and those of the Commissioner and the Chief Constable – are used in ways that are consistent with the Convention and enable children and young people to contribute to building better communities.

“This initial charter is very much the first step on a much long-term journey and we are working on the development of a detailed strategy showing the contribution that policing can and will make.  Today we are establishing our commitment in South Wales to work with children and young people and our partners to develop our approach and culture, including the establishment of that wider strategy.”

Chief Constable Matt Jukes said:

“Today’s children and young people will be tomorrow’s peace-keepers, decision-makers and role models for subsequent generations. The police may play a large part in the life of a child or just be there in the background but we will always have a part to play in ensuring they are never ignored. Our role as guardians in society is often focused on the rights of children and their particular need for care and protection.

“This charter sets out those values we seek to uphold in South Wales Police, and I am really pleased these promises have been captured in a clear statement of our commitment placing the rights of children at the centre of everything we do.”

Sally Holland, Children's Commissioner for Wales said:

“I am pleased that the Commissioner and Chief Constable have taken such a positive step forward to commit to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

“It’s been a real pleasure to work with South Wales Police to explore the commitment to children’s rights and support meaningful participation with young people to develop a first for Wales – a police charter developed for young people by young people.

“Together we have been able to establish training on the UNCRC, identify what the approach will mean in practice and highlight how the work of the police is essential in helping children and young people to access a range of rights, particularly around their right to be protected.

“We look forward to further supporting South Wales Police with their work on children’s rights, along with all other public bodies in Wales.”

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