Children’s Details ‘On PSNI File’

Up to 3,000 children under the age of 18 could have their details on police databases, the Northern Ireland children’s commissioner has said. Commissioner Barney McNeany said many of the young people had not been charged or been found guilty of offences. He said he wants “urgent meetings” with the police and government. “The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child will consider this to be breach of children’s rights,” he said.

“Because it is my job to advise government when I think children’s rights are being breached, I want to talk to the PSNI and the Policing Board.

“Children and young people and parents have told me that they consider this to be unfair and I think it’s important that I represent these views robustly to the PSNI and to government.”

Earlier this week, the parents of an 11-year-old girl criticised police in Londonderry after their daughter was photographed and fingerprinted by officers. Police turned up at the child’s home in the Creggan area after she had allegedly been seen writing graffiti on the city walls. The girl’s mother, Eileen Millar, said officers were “guilty of child abuse”.

A police spokesperson said they had an obligation to investigate all reports of criminal damage. They also said that when approached by officers, the three girls involved in this case claimed to be in their mid-teens.

Mrs Millar said her daughter had been left traumatised by the incident. “My daughter is 11 years of age and has never spoken to a policeman in her life,” she said. “They took her into another room, photographed her, fingerprinted her, put two swabs in her mouth and took DNA. I was also told this would be on record for the rest of her life.”

The family have said they intended to register a complaint with the Police Ombudsman.