Your Rights and the Law
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is the world's most widely accepted human rights agreement. These rights are for all people under 18 years old.
Some of the rights are set out here, but you can find full details at Unicef's site.
You have the right to:
- Have protection against discrimination
- Be given guidance by your parents and family
- Say what you think and be listened to by adults when they make decisions that affect you
- Think what you like and have what religion you want, with your parents' guidance
- Protection from violence, abuse, neglect and being hurt
- Special care and education to help you develop and lead a full life if you have a disability
Your Rights and the Law
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is the world's most widely accepted human rights agreement.
Laws are rules in society that people have to live by, to try and ensure that everybody can can live in a safe, secure and productive environment.
It's important that people understand that the role of the police is to try and make sure that laws are followed so everyone can get on with their daily lives within a safe environment. Here's some useful information around important issues that can impact on how we live and enjoy our lives:
What is anti-social behaviour?
Any behaviour that causes harm to an individual, the community or their environment.
Harm can be physical and includes where a person is unable to carry out their daily routine. Anti-social behaviour can be any behaviour that upsets someone, especially if it is persistent and targeted at a particular individual or group. Anti-social behaviour can often make people people's lives more difficult.
What is an offensive weapon?
An offensive weapon is:
- Any item which has a blade or is sharply pointed.
- Any item that has been made to cause harm to someone.
- Any item that has been changed or altered so it can be used to injure someone.
It's important to realise that if you use an object in a threatening way, for example, a snooker cue or baseball bat, or you intend to use it to cause injury to someone else, it can be considered an offensive weapon.
This is very important information as some people can get into trouble with the police for possessing items which perhaps they may not realise can be classified as offensive weapons.
Stop and Search
A stop and search is where a police officer stops and searches you because they suspect you may be carrying drugs, a weapon, stolen property or an item that may be used to commit crime.
The police do this because successful searches result in fewer victims and make communities safer.
If you are stopped, you are not under arrest; you should receive a written record of the stop and search, setting out the reason for it.
Stay calm and don't refuse to be searched, but don't be afraid to speak to the officer if you think your rights are being infringed.
It is more likely that you will be just stopped rather than having a stop and search. If this happens, you will be asked to account for your behaviour, and will be given some paperwork about why this is and who stopped you.
What if I am arrested?
You will be taken to a police station with a custody area. A custody officer has to authorise the detention and tell you your rights and record your personal details.
If you are under 17 years old, a parent/guardian or an appropriate adult has to be informed as soon as possible and asked to attend the police station.
Once the adult has arrived, you will be interviewed, and then a decision will be made on what action to take.
However, if you are 17 or over, there is not a requirement to have an appropriate adult present.
Except in unusual circumstances, everyone has the right to consult privately in person or by telephone with a solicitor for legal advice. The custody officer should help you to contact a solicitor if you do not know of one. For more information about arrest and post arrest procedures, visit the Youth Justice System website.
Do you know something about a crime?
Did you know that you can get non-judgemental advice about a
crime, and can report a crime totally anonymously? Fearless is the
young person's version of Crimestoppers, and you don't have to give
your name, or a statement, or appear in court. You can do it
anonymously, via a secure online form (you may want to delete the
history afterwards on your computer too).
How should I contact the police?
In an emergency dial 999. An emergency is when:
- There is a risk of injury to someone or there is a risk of serious damage to property.
- You suspect a crime is in progress.
- There is a serious incident which needs immediate police attendance.
For non-emergency incidents dial 101. Use the 101 number when:
- You need to speak to a police officer or a member of police staff.
- For a general police enquiry, advice or information.
- To report an incident or a crime that has happened (not an incident or crime that is in progress as this should be 999).
- For more information about the law, visit the young people's section of the Herts Police website.
For more information about your rights and the law:
- Youth Justice System
- Herts Police
- Children's Commissioner for England
- Law Stuff has been created by the Children's Legal Centre, a charity that promotes children's and young people's rights and gives legal advice and representation.
- Follow the link to find out about firearms licensing and
Other useful information in Herts
Have your say on policing and crime by contacting the Police and Crime commissioner for Hertfordshire.