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Being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Legal advice needed.

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Setenza, Jun 11, 2005.

  1. Setenza

    Setenza
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    My son was recently out in the afternoon with 3 of his friends. He is 13 years old (and not very streetwise). He then met a similar sized group of people who were similarly going to the park to play football. Someone suggested knocking for a few more people to make up numbers. Quickly he found himself in a group of 15 or so children waiting outside a house at the top of road were his grandparents live.

    Now there have been numerous complaints recently, particulalrly by senior citizens about large numbers of youth congregating. Some of the complaints are legitimate, as I have witnessed myself, kids spraying their tags etc. Subsequently, the local police are being very proactive in monitoring the situation.

    So, the police were alerted to the groups of childrens presence, and two officers turned up. The stated that there had been complaints and wanted to know what the children were doing. This was duly explained. The police then asked to take name and address details of all present. This was also done. However, when the police first arrived three of the children were taken aside and sent home. Why? because two were one of the policemans own children and one was a family friend. The remainder were asked to move on and went to the park to play football as planned.

    Today, I received a letter from the police. It is from the Anti Social Behavior Unit. It states that there is a police initiative in this area and that my son was stopped. They raise the issue of whether parents know the whereabouts of their children. I was more than aware of where mys son was on the day in question and what his intentions were. I would also add that he is provided with a mobile to allow us to keep in touch in case of a change of plans.

    Now up to this point I by and large have know problem with the police actions that day or the letter sent. I must admit I am not happy about the officer removing his own children from the situation but I do not actually know what police procedures are for such scenarios.

    However, the tone of the letter then took a turn for the worse. It states that it is not in any way a criminal record but merely an informal way of notifying parents. But apparently a copy of this letter will be kept on file. If there are continuing problems they then state that they have to consider an ASBO (anti social Behavior order).

    So this is my understanding.

    1.) My son was in the wrong place and through no fault of his own found himself part of a large group.

    2.) He freely gave his name and address because he had no reason not to.

    3.) He is now part of an "unofficial" list that I personally think is in breach of the data protection act.

    4.) If there are further problems with groups of youth, does this list get referred to as the primary list of suspects?

    I am frankly very annoyed about this. I totally understand and support the need to police large groups of children. However, as no crime was committed in this instance I see know reason to hold records or to issue such letters. It smacks very much of guilt by association and tarring everyone with the same brush.

    Now I don't hold any of the officers involved or the one who signed the letter as personally repsonsible in this matter. This is yet another government driven directive, which is geared to hit targets and produce positive stats, rather than tackle the real issues.

    What I need to know is, what can I do to have my sons name removed from such a list? I don't think it should be there and am happy to take legal advice over it's legitimacy. I do not want the police knocking on my door next time theres a problem with groups of youths, asking about my sons whereabouts. That is unacceptable.

    I would welcome any advice or input as to how to proceed with this matter. I certainly do not want to let it lie.
     
  2. Ian J

    Ian J
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    Why don't you just reply with a polite letter pointing out that your son had done no wrong, didn't intend to any wrong and was on his way to the park to play football with a group of friends with your full knowledge and permission.

    If it were me I would then ask whether all of the children who had been stopped would have their names on the list including "XXXXX" and "YYYYY" who co-incidentally were the children of serving police officers and were with your son at the time and I would ask for confirmation.

    The next step would then depend on the reaction to the question.
     
  3. Bristol Pete

    Bristol Pete
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    This is a disgrace. I second Ians comments about stating that the children were simply going to have a game of footy at the park.

    As for the Policemans children. Well, it seems endemic of the current two sets of rules situation we have seen applied time and time again when Policemen or women are involved.

    Terrible treatment.

    Pete.
     
  4. Member 55145

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    dont worry so much, it was merly procedure to stop things like what happened to holly and jessica. if the police had an "unofficial" list that had his name on it, the girls deaths may of never happened.

    They are just keeping a list of the people involved just incase it keeps happening, as you stated your area has a problem with this issue, if they hadnt taken note of the people their it would never be stopped. you've got to remember, not all parents "really know" what their kids are upto, and also every parent tells the police "oh my kid would never do anything bad". Police officers have to be unbiased and treat everyone the same.

    As for the police "looking after their own" that is a job for professional standards, if a police officer is called out to a situation involving relavtive or friends, its inadvisable that they get involved. I dont know what happened in your case personally i'd leave it, but if you feel hard done by contact your police forces professional standards or the external national agency the IPCC http://www.ipcc.gov.uk

    i'd relax, tell your kid to lay low, still go out n have fun but not get involved in big groups, yes i know he shouldnt have to but its the way it is.

    people have to remember, the public can feel hard done by, but its not like the police have a easy ride either, every day for them is a day they could lose their job by meeting the wrong person or doing the wrong thing, they are always scruitinised 24/7 so they have to watch their backs 24/7
     
  5. pjclark1

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    Contact the police complaint's comission and make a formal complaint
    about the 3 kids removed. It's a fair cop for your kid though, gangs of kids
    hanging around in the street is asking for trouble. You could mention that as he was
    with a policemans 2 children, you didn't think he would get into trouble.
     
  6. Mep

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    i find myself agreeing with pjclark1 for a change and I would certainly complain about the copper sending his own kids off...surely the fact that his own kids were there should have been enough to tell him that this wasn't a gang of troublemakers anyway and in this case just tell them to get on their way to play footy..
     
  7. HMHB

    HMHB
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    I think that making a formal complaint at this stage is taking it too far, I would do as Ian suggests and not be overly aggressive about it. If you don't get satisfaction by that route, then look at the alternatives.
     
  8. Setenza

    Setenza
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    Sorry, but that is a poor analogy. Ian Huntley was a known prior offender. My sons is not. Now if names are taken and checked against a list of known offenders, so be it. If you do not fall into this category, then there is no reason to retain a record.

    Here's a simple theoretical situation. You go for a drink down the pub and are introduced to several people you don't know by a friend. The group of you then move on to another pub to watch the football on the big screen. En route you're stopped by the police and asked to supply names. You all do so and one of the people you met just that evening turns out to have a criminal record for theft. Does this now mean that because you happend to be with someone who has such a history, the police, just to be safe, must now retain your details as an associate of a known and convicted criminal. Or worse still, to consider that to be a criminal yourself and now a potential suspect for future crimes?

    No, this is not a good policy. It my seems trivial to some of the members on this board, but a person charactor and reputation are important assets and any event or allegation that could potentially tarnish them should be robustly dealt with.

    I'm also saddened as I now have to explain to my son how he must always now think ahead about potential social situations he may get into. That it's not a case of what you are doing but the way it may appear to others people. For example, if your going into a news agent make sure that your hoody is down and that you don't walk with your hands in your pockets etc.

    It's a tragic reflection on the type society that we live in.
     
  9. PoochJD

    PoochJD
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    Xusia,

    Sorry to hear of this situation. :(

    As a trainee criminal lawyer, I'll do some quick research tonight for you, and will post the info at some point tomorrow afternoon. I'm 99% certain that you may be able to take issue with the fact that your son was treated differently (i.e. received a police warning) whereas three other boys were let off scott-free, because they were related to a police officer.

    Try coming back to this thread around 2:30pm on Sunday, and I will hopefully have an answer for you. :)


    Pooch
     
  10. HMHB

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    Are you sure this is a Police Warning :confused:
     
  11. shodan

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    From a police point of view, and my own experience, here are my thoughts. Firstly, if the names of the children were taken down, then it cannot be any sort of "unofficial" list. If its unofficial, then it cannot be used for anything.

    Can I ask what you mean by, you think it is in breach of the data protection act?

    I guess the purpose of taking the kids names and addresses down is two fold. Firstly they can send a letter to the parents to raise their awareness of what their children are may be involved with. (obviously not a problem for yourself as you seem to do everything you reasonably can to make your son safe and still able to have some independence and fun with friends). And also, if they are looking at getting ASBO's against certain kids or a displacement order for the area then they need to know who is there (ie if there is the same person who keeps getting stopped in a problem area AND is known to be causing problems, then the police and the council can sortout applying for an ASBO), and how many times. Obviously the police are trying to target large groups of youths, as you said, and are gathering information on them. It just turns out that this group weren't a group who cause trouble there. The police records will show that.

    Secondly, if it is the coppers own kids, should he have taken their names and addresses down then had a letter sent to himself to tell him about when his son got stopped by himself? He had more control over his son, so he sent him home so he can deal with him later.
     
  12. Parmenion

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    I agree with shodan. To suggest that the copper would leave his children in a group of kids, who the copper had been called to deal with, is ridiculous.

    As a parent he would naturally have more control over his own children than the children of the public. he might have felt like sending all the children back to their parents in order to keep them from coming to harm or getting into trouble, but, maybe the law doesn't allow him to do that.

    I just love the suggestion that he would write his kids names down in his book so that he could send himself a letter later on............

    If there is a parent on these forums, or anywhere else for that matter, that would have acted differently, then they should step forward for sainthood.

    regards

    Parmenion
     
  13. Parmenion

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    I should have added that I am a great believer in personal freedom. The Government holds far too much information on citizens and only intends on adding to that store of info. Anything that we can do to challenge their view that we are a passive bunch of sheep, content for the authorities to compile files on us all, should be applauded...................

    I just think that the comments about the copper ignore the realities of life as a parent on planet Earth.....

    regards

    Parmenion
     
  14. Ian J

    Ian J
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    I must be a saint then as if I were a policeman in that situation and had spotted a bunch of kids that included my own that weren't actually done anything wrong I would have asked them what they were doing and sent them all on their way to play footie and perhaps even said that I would drop in to watch them in half an hour to make sure they went. That way I wouldn't have left myself wide open to accusations like these whilst still managing to disperse the kids. There are a dozen more parents in the same situation as Xusia who have been told by their kids that the policeman's own kids have been treated differently to them and it is the perception of an injustice that is as important as the reality and it is for that reason that is is important that each of the aggrieved parents are assured that all of the kids have been treated the same and if there has been an official letter sent to the parents with a copy of that being retained on file for future reference all of the parents need to be assured that every child will have been treated the same whether they are the children of policemen or not and that similar files are retained for them too.
     
  15. Setenza

    Setenza
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    I believe that it is standard procedure when police encounter a situation which has some level of personal involvement, they should defer to their partner who then handles the task in hand.

    Therfore, in this situation the policeman on seeing his own children within the group, should have let his partner take the lead. If that meant that his own children got a similar such official communication, then so be it.
     
  16. Mep

    Mep
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    I think you are missing the point...surely he could have used some discretion? having realised his kids were involved he must have known they wern't all off to bash a gran or whatever...why not use some common sense and just say...look we've had complaints..you lot are fine but don't hang around just go off and play footy.
     
  17. Parmenion

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    Yes, I might be missing the point. The thing is I can't believe you are seriously suggesting that because the copper see's his kids in a group of a dozen or so other kids, then he can automatically assume that all of the other children must be saint's because his children are in their company......sorry but that isn't my experience of life.

    To suggest that he should send them all on their way to enjoy a pleasant afternoon of footie a la "jumpers for goalposts", tells me that someone has never been sued following an incident/accident, and then used the excuse

    "The police man/man in charge/other figure of authority told me to......"

    Having been concerned, albeit not as a defendant, in such a case, I still think on balance that I would have removed my own children from the scene of a potential problem and, not being the parent of the other children and therefore legally unable to order them about, I would have followed whatever the police procedure was (in this case take the childrens names and let the parents know they had been spoken to by the police)

    Ian, those of us that read your posts are never left in doubt that you always have a strong opinion on everything.
    But sainthood? Surely not.

    regards

    Parmenion
     
  18. lynx

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    The police constable should be seen to treat everyone in the group in a fair and equitable manner, to treat his own kids 'more favourably' than the others is certainly questionable, imho.
     
  19. michaelm

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    Kudos to the police on this. Day after day we see in the media, and outside our own front doors, the arrogant, moronic and downright thuggish behaviour of gangs of "young people", ie children. Most of the time it is down to the parents not giving a damn about their kids' welfare or whereabouts. However, bring their kids' behaviour to their attention and it's "he/she said they didn't do it, so they didn't do it". I believe one police chief referred to these gangs as "feral". A good description.

    Alright, in this case you say your son was not up to anything. Is this because he told you he wasn't? Or did the police confirm this? If there is a history of misbehaviour in your area by "feral" kids, then there is a responsibility on you to ensure your son does not get caught up in a crowd that is up to no good.

    I can understand why residents and, subsequently, police would imagine upon seeing a gang of 15+ kids knocking about that they would be up to no good. And if the police have an initiative going to prevent anti-social behaviour, well done to them for doing a bloody good job.
     
  20. Setenza

    Setenza
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    I not quite sure how to interpret this comment, and will not misconstrue it.

    I pride myself on having a good relationship with my son. If he has a failing it is that he is naive and does not expect the worst to happen. I believe him implicitly. The police have confirmed nothing. All they have done is sent a generic letter implying that he was in a group that was possibly up to no good.


    There is not a history of misbehaviour in out area. Just a marginal increase in the usual youth offences. What we do have is an increasingly scared group of elder people who are rightly or wrongly peterbed by large groups of youth. Both groups have rights and need to be protected and represented.

    As I've made clear in my posts, I support most police measures but in this case think tht it's "erring on the side of caution" mentality is inappropriate.

    All I want is a formal written statement saying that as my son is not guilty of no offense that his name will not be kept on any sort of record.
     
  21. vonhosen

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    If a Police officer stops anyone & asks them to account for their actions or movements then they have to fill in a stop/search proforma (even if they don't search them). This is a requirement under The Police & Criminal Evidence Act & you can get a copy of the form within 12 months.

    It used to be that you had to fill in these forms only if a search took place, but following reccomendations from the Lawrence enquiry it was changed to where you also ask people to account for why they are where they are, where they are going & what they are doing etc.

    Details of these stops will also be indexed on Intelligence unit systems.
     
  22. Parmenion

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    I have to say that I am hard pressed to think of a circumstance involving the publics safety and or wellbeing, where I would think it inappropriate for the police to err on the side of caution.

    regards

    Parmenion
     
  23. Parmenion

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    I have just re read your original post and have just realised something. A|ll we actually know as a fact, is that the police are keeping on file a copy of the letter they sent to you. Any mention of a list that your son may be on is a supposition that you are making.
    I tend to agree with a previous poster. A letter to the Chief Constable requesting details of what use may be made of the letter sent to you, would, I think be appropriate.

    regards

    Parmenion
     
  24. vonhosen

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    With regards to the data protection act

    When Police have had occasion to stop people as I have outlined above, then this information will be also held on intelligence systems. The data protection act , amongst other things, governs how that information has to be handled & access to it.

    The eight principles of good practice.
    Anyone processing personal information must comply with eight enforceable principles of good information handling practice.
    These say that data must be:
    1. fairly and lawfully processed
    2. processed for limited purposes
    3. adequate, relevant and not excessive
    4. accurate and up to date
    5. not kept longer than necessary
    6. processed in accordance with the individual’s rights
    7. secure
    8. not transferred to countries outside European Economic area unless country has adequate protection for the individual


    The six conditions.
    At least one of the following conditions must be met for personal information to be considered fairly processed:
    1. the individual has consented to the processing
    2. processing is necessary for the performance of a contract with the individual
    3. processing is required under a legal obligation (other than one imposed by the contract)
    4. processing is necessary to protect the vital interests of the individual
    5. processing is necessary to carry out public functions, e.g. administration of justice
    6. processing is necessary in order to pursue the legitimate interests of the data controller or third parties (unless it could unjustifiably prejudice the interests of the individual)


    Rights under the Act.
    There are seven rights under the Data Protection Act.
    1. The right to subject access This allows people to find out what information is held about them on computer and within some manual records.
    2. The right to prevent processing Anyone can ask a data controller not to process information relating to him or her that causes substantial unwarranted damage or distress to them or anyone else.
    3. The right to prevent processing for direct marketing Anyone can ask a data controller not to process information relating to him or her for direct marketing purposes.
    4. Rights in relation to automated decision-taking Individuals have a right to object to decisions made only by automatic means e.g. there is no human involvement.
    5. The right to compensation An individual can claim compensation from a data controller for damage and distress caused by any breach of the act. Compensation for distress alone can only be claimed in limited circumstances.
    6. The right to rectification, blocking, erasure and destruction Individuals can apply to the court to order a data controller to rectify, block or destroy personal details if they are inaccurate or contain expressions of opinion based on inaccurate information.
    7. The right to ask the Commissioner to assess whether the Act has been contravened If someone believes their personal information has not been processed in accordance with the DPA, they can ask the Commissioner to make an assessment. If the Act is found to have been breached and the matter cannot be settled informally, then an enforcement notice may be served on the data controller in question.
     
  25. Mep

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    I don't think I am sheltered from reality and I'm not suggesting he automatically assumes all the other kids are saints.......perhaps I am being overly optimistic though in supposing that he would have as good a relationship with his son as I do and XOD does with his son so that he would either know his sons friends (not too much to ask for) or at least trust his sons not to hang with hooligans.....and at the very least he should have treated them all on a level playing field.

    I am all in favour of cracking down hard on trouble where it really exists but in this particular case and having a son of the same age who i trust implicitly (but not blindly) I wholly empathise with XOD.
     
  26. hornydragon

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    Hmm interesting thread X of D I wouldnt worry about it but perhaps a trip to the local nick and ask to speak to a senior officer in community liason???
    As a side note OAPs are very funny, my Gran bless her lives backing on to a secondary school playing field and constantly moans about the noise they make during breaks and sports, moaning about the staff and pretty much everything, fortunately she lives the opposite side to the entrance, however if she lived near the entrance i am sure she would ring the police at 8:30 every morning as large groups of kids walked past her window!!!!
    I wouldn't worry about it too much at all especially if he was outside his grandparents house, when surely he has a perfectly legitimate reason for being there???

    PS Who won the game?
     
  27. pjclark1

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    If those 15 kids had been throwing rocks at OAPs
    Each of their parents would have claimed

    1) I know my kids and they wouldn't have done such a thing
    2) It was the other kids the were with

    Year 9 boys are the worst behaved of any age group, the behaviour of all in a group, is as bad as the worst member of the group. That's what boys are like. At the very least they would have been running up and down screaming and shouting.
     
  28. Mep

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    yes, they are not angels but you just can't make sweeping statements like that and you are also doing decent parents a disservice. SOme of us do know our kids very well and I say above it possible to trust your kid but you don't have to trust them blindly...if you know them well enough, which you should, you will know their faults as well as their weaknesses......do you have kids PJC1?
     
  29. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    I may be wrong but from the satement above it seems that monday to friday he has 30-35, not sure about weekends tho.
     
  30. Mep

    Mep
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    i suspect not..but can understand why being a teacher (are they all communists these days?...only joking) may jaundice your opinion.........year 9 is an awkward age...they are inbetween being boys and men and it takes a parent to love them!
     

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