All police stations should have a child-friendly corner or room decorated with colourful posters and appropriate furniture and equipped with CCTV cameras to deal with children in conflict with law, the country's apex child protection body has recommended.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) today held a meeting with senior government officials to discuss draft guidelines for establishment of child- friendly police stations.
Officials from several Union ministries, child welfare committees and juvenile justice boards, and senior police officers from Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Assam and Tamil Nadu attended the meeting, along with UNICEF representatives.
The draft policy states that there should be a child welfare police officer (CWPO) designated at every police station, not below the rank of assistant sub-inspector with aptitude, appropriate training and orientation to exclusively deal with children either as victims or perpetrators in coordination with the police, voluntary and non-governmental organisations.
"The police is often the first point of contact between a child and the official child protection system, and thus need to adopt a child-friendly approach. Despite practical issues in the availability of space and other infrastructural facilities, child-friendly police station model should be replicated on a wider scale," said NCPCR member Rupa Kapoor.
The draft policy prepared by the NCPCR has laid down certain standards that every police station needs to comply with while dealing with children in conflict with law.
The CWPO in particular and all police personnel in general should be given regular orientation and training in child related laws.
The draft has recommended that there should be women police officers for talking to girl child. There should be a notice board displaying the names and contact numbers of all stakeholders who could help the child.
It also makes it mandatory for facilities such as clean drinking water and a separate toilet for use by children at the station premises.
The child friendly corner/room should be distinguished from other parts of the police station by means of colourful posters and separately maintained furniture so as to make the child feel as comfortable as possible, the draft suggested.
The police, the draft states, should have provision for audio/video recording of the child's statement.
During the meeting, the officials were also told that police officials should have no bias or pre-conceptions about the child based on their current situation or socio-economic status.
Police personnel should not blame the child or the child's family for the child's circumstances, there should be no discrimination against the child on the basis of sex, caste, religion, region, and economic or social status, the draft states.
The NCPCR has now directed all states, ministries, child welfare committees and juvenile justice boards to submit their recommendations and suggestions in the next 11 days to finalise the draft guidelines.
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