Cole-Hamilton: Outlaw putting children in cells

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP and deputy convener of the Equalities and Human Rights Committee Alex Cole-Hamilton has today lodged fresh amendments to the Age of Criminal Responsibility Bill, calling for the Scottish Government to prohibit locking up children in police cells.

Mr Cole-Hamilton has called for a “children’s rights revolution” to ensure that Scotland becomes the best place in the world to grow up.

The amendments come ahead of the Stage 3 debate to ensure that no other children endure the traumatic experience of Lynzy Hanvidge who was locked in a cell aged 13.

Elsewhere in the Bill, Alex Cole-Hamilton is seeking to raise the Age of Criminal Responsibility beyond 12. Such a low age would represent a fresh breach of international minimums and has been condemned by experts including the Scotland’s Children’s Commissioner.

Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

“The experience of being arrested and charged is already a severe adverse childhood experience, but by permitting children to be detained in cells, we are cruelly adding another.

“Evidence highlights that detention in inappropriate conditions can have serious long-term repercussions for children and young people. A police cell is never the right place for a child. There are any number of more appropriate locations for children when they need a place of safety.

“As we approach the final hurdle for the Age of Criminal Responsibility Bill, the Scottish Parliament has an opportunity to kick-start a children’s revolution.

“If Parliament is prepared to be bold we can deliver on our promise to make Scotland the best place in the world for children and young people to grow up. Anything less and we are letting down the next generation.

“We cannot lead the world from the back of the pack.”

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