Two 16-year-old teens have been recruited as police community support officers in Thames Valley,
New Zealand [ Correction: United Kingdom], with the power to detain and question suspects, stop and search under terror laws, issue penalty notices for disorder and stop vehicles the Herald Sun reported on Tuesday.
Read the condensed article below and then share your thoughts in the comment section. Which side do you agree with, the police department or the concerned officials? What could be the consequences of this decision?
Teens hired as police
Herald Sun – August 14, 2007
Two 16-year-olds have been recruited as police community support officers with the power to detain and question suspects. Just out of school, they will join foot patrols at a busy police station.
The teenagers are two years too young to join the regular police force or be tried in adult courts. Yet they will have the right to detain suspects, stop and search under terror laws, issue penalty notices for disorder and stop vehicles.
Police Federation chairman Jan Berry said 16-year-olds did not have the skills for the frontline. “To expect someone so young to put on a police uniform and patrol the streets is a few steps too far,” she said.
“It puts pressure on them as they have neither the maturity or experience to deal with situations they are likely to confront. This means they are more likely to let down their colleagues and the public.”
Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: “Recruiting 16-year-olds to frontline policing puts them and those around them at risk.”
But Thames Valley Police said the youths had “the skills that we need. They bring experience of being able to interact with the public — especially young people.”
“If you are good enough, you are old enough.”