Northern Ireland: Police must end 'appalling' practice of strip searching children immediately

In response to the Policing Board’s human rights review of the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) practice of strip searching children, published today (Tuesday), Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Director, said:

“It’s shocking that children as young as 14 are being strip searched by the PSNI. This appalling practice is a serious violation of children’s dignity and human rights - it must end once and for all.

“The Policing Board’s review seriously calls into question the PSNI’s commitment to upholding the rights of children.

“The review must now be used as a catalyst for an end to this practice and all children who have been strip-searched must have access to effective help and support.

PSNI strip searches

The PSNI has strip searched children as young as 14 years old.

The Policing Board review came after an investigation revealed that members of the board have serious concerns about the practice and have criticised the PSNI’s response.

Violating children’s rights
Strip searches violate a child’s basic human rights and involves the removal of clothing and can include the exposure of intimate body parts. 

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly states that: “In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.”

It goes on to say: “No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”

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