JCHR reports on Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill
The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 9 May 2013. It contains many provisions with significant human rights implications for children and young people, including, in particular, those concerning anti-social behaviour, forced marriage, powers to stop, question, search and detain at ports and compensation for miscarriages of justice.
CRAE supported SCYJ’s submission to the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR), which raised significant concerns in relation to the anti-social behaviour provisions.
With regards anti-social behaviour, the JCHR recommends a number of amendments to the Bill to ensure that:
- Courts take into account the best interests of the child as a primary consideration when deciding whether to impose measures against children;
- Current drafting of the Bill is made clearer in relation to: the definition of anti-social behaviour; the legislative tests to be applied by courts when imposing anti-social behaviour measures; and the conditions that can be attached to injunctions;
- The police dispersal powers are properly outlined and can only be used to tackle anti-social behaviour; and
- Individuals are not evicted from their homes as a result of a conviction for a riot-related offence.
Responding to the JCHR’s report, Peter Grigg, Policy and Campaigns Director at The Children’s Society, has said:
The government needs to listen to the Committee’s concerns about the impact this bill will have on children. Lowering the definition for anti-social behaviour to causing ‘nuisance or annoyance’ risks criminalising a wide range of normal childhood behaviour and fast-tracking children into the criminal justice system.
In its report the Committee also comments on the fact that it does not believe the mechanisms for ensuring a systematic assessment of the impact of laws and policies on children’s rights are yet ‘embedded across Whitehall’.
We repeat our call for the Government to reassure Parliament that in future it will conduct a thorough assessment of the impact of legislation on the rights of children under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child before the legislation is introduced. We propose to raise with the Children’s Commissioner the question of what can be done, in practical terms, to accelerate the Government’s progress towards implementing its undertaking to Parliament of nearly three years ago.
Read the JCHR’s full report.
Read SCYJ’s submission to the JCHR.