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5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel 1 Young offenders’ perceptions of their experiences under police arrest Neal Hazel British Society of.

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Presentation on theme: "5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel 1 Young offenders’ perceptions of their experiences under police arrest Neal Hazel British Society of."— Presentation transcript:

1 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 1 Young offenders’ perceptions of their experiences under police arrest Neal Hazel British Society of Criminology Conference, Strathclyde University, Glasgow Wednesday 5 th July 2006

2 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 2 Focus on young people’s perceptions Increasing urgency of studies: –UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 12) –New Aim: “Preventing offending” (C&D Act 1998) –Emphasis on restorative justice –“Every child matters” (2004) – “choose to engage in positive behaviour” –ACPO (2003) aim “to build and maintain positive relationships between all young people and the police” –YJB initiatives – e.g. Safer School Partnerships

3 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 3 Where the international literature takes us Negative perceptions if previous contact with police (Lyon et al 2000; Griffiths & Winfree 1982) Frustration at police closed to communication & understanding, wrongly charging (Tisseyre 1976; Jamieson et al 1999) Allegations of mistreatment (Jamieson et al 1999; Smith 1976; The Princes Trust 2001; Rogowski 2000; Lyon et al 2000) Felt had no recourse to abuse (Lyon et al 2000) Afraid an bewildered at station (Smith 1976) Upset in police cells, crying every night, boredom (Leitch 1999)

4 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 4 The Study So…. Given the opportunity, what issues do young people in E&W raise about their experience of arrest? Focusing on issues they raised regarding the arrest procedures, police transfer, and time at the police station. ------ “Young offenders’ perceptions of their experiences in the criminal justice system” Completed at the Policy Research Bureau (2001-2002) Research team: Neal Hazel, Ann Hagell and Laura Brazier ESRC Award – R000223427

5 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 5 Methodology and methods “Sociology of childhood” interpretativist study –Children as valid social actors –No predetermined themes Depth interviews with young offenders (35-90 minutes) –Role-play –Timelines and sequential progression –Role of expert –Flashcards Plus interviews with supervising officers and case file study

6 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 6 Sample 5 Youth Offending Teams in SE England (Urban>Rural) 37 young people, purposively chosen: –Roughly relate to offending population –A cross-section of perspectives –Enough females, minority ethnic offenders, and serious offenders Ages13-17 yrs Sex30 males, 7 females Ethnicity23 White, 9 Black, 3 Asian British, 2 Other Disposal6 DTOs (+3 previous), 2 Final Warning (+6 previous), rest community

7 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 7 Issues raised: Arrest and transfer Frustration at not being able to put their side across – police not listening Confusion and disorientation: –Delays since crime – out of blue and forgotten –Not understanding and knowing what was going to happen next “they didn’t tell me what was going to happen to me, they didn’t tell me who’s going to charge me, nothing” (16 yr old male) –Not knowing rights

8 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 8 Issues raised: Arrest and transfer Anxiety or trauma –Physical vulnerability (especially female offenders) “…when you’re a women… to have a man overpower you… it is terrifying, it awful…” (16 yr old female) –Home arrest – privacy violated “I'm not a kinda girl that likes males coming into my room cos it’s invading my privacy.. and total strangers as well and I mean that’s going through your underwear drawers, through everything.. and it’s a nasty experience to go through and on my mum’s birthday.”(16 yr old female) –Home arrest – family embarrassment in community

9 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 9 Issues raised: Arrest and transfer Anxiety or trauma –Worry about parental reaction/upset (big theme) “I mean that, that worries me a lot, obviously, what my mum thinks, and the more worry my mum has the more worried I am, sort of thing. (...) my mum, I’m very close to my mum.” (18 yr old Male) ------------------ “I was scared, I was angry, because I was thinking about what my parents would say when they hear the phone” (16 yr old male) --------- “whenever I get arrested I just don’t listen, I just (...) “Oh what have I done” and what’s my mum gonna say.” (16 yr old male)

10 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 10 Issues raised: Arrest and transfer – police making the trauma worse (big theme) Police could ease the trauma by positive support (positive response) “The officer’s were cool. One of the officers was giving me a cigarette, taking me outside and talking to me” (16 yr old male) “Some of the police officers in there are joking, make jokes to make you feel at home “ (16 yr old male) Offenders recognise some negative behaviour towards them is due, but: Arrogant attitude dismissive of concerns (e.g. unwilling to apologise) > frustration “I kept asking them er... “Is my mum gonna come down or my dad?” And they just kept telling me to shut up.” (15 yr old male)

11 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 11 Issues raised: Arrest and transfer – police making the trauma worse (big theme) Arrest as summary justice ““they nick me for nothing and they can’t charge me… so they just nick me for no reason” (16 yr old male) Verbal aggression and humiliation “Just the way they spoke to you like with no respect at all. It’s like well I’m a human being as well, do you know what I mean?” (15 yr old male) -------- “there was about fifteen police officers there at the time, and they was all standing around me and calling me “cunt” and “little bastard” and “we’ve got you now Mark” and laughing at me “ (17 yr old male)

12 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 12 Issues raised: Arrest and transfer – police making the trauma worse Physical abuse “Just as we got there.. he goes ”stand up come on, out you get” … I said “OK”, but he was trying to touch me, grab my arm and stuff and like.. drag me. I said “I’ll walk in there by myself” and he wouldn’t have it. And he come in and slapped me round my face and… pulled me out and pushed me, it was like a soaking wet floor, pushed me to the wet floor. Then another police officer comes out and says ‘oh what's happened, what's happened, oh she’s struggling (…) and she fell to the floor’, he didn’t tell him why. I must have been about thirteen.” (15 yr old female) --------- “I’ve got like scars on my hand from what they do to you. They just slap [cuffs] on, they throw you in the van; they don’t put you in the van, they throw you so you bang your head against the things. They put the handcuffs tight and my hands were bleeding and they just drag you off.” (16 yr old male) -------- “He dragged me out by my leg, punched me in the face, slammed me up against the wall and handcuffed me, and when I was getting into the car he put, he kicked me up my bum so I fell right in the car.” (15 yr old male)

13 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 13 Issues raised: Arrest and transfer – police making the trauma worse Complaints not being dealt with, or no point anyway “They throw you in the car and it’s (...), you can’t do nothing about it….Just powerless innit? Feels like you just, dunno, just feels powerless.” (16 yr old male) --------- “He got out of the car and head-butted me, and when we went up there to make a complaint he was the one that was behind the desk, and he said “No, we’re not taking no complaints.” (16 yr old male) --------- “He slammed me up against the wall and I split my eye, I like grazed all on my eye, and I tried telling the custody sergeant but they don’t listen. He didn’t listen to me… He just said “Stick him in the cell.” And I got bit by one of their police dogs.” (15 yr old male) Collusion: Making up charges, ignoring abuses “I said, “well but you hit me with a baton”, and they said, well, here’s my witnesses, there’s nothing I can do about it…like being assaulted and that by the police, you can’t do nothing.” (17 yr old male) ------------ “They make up (bare?) other bull-shit, while you’re driving down the police station, like threatening behaviour, all bull-shit like that.” (16 yr old male)

14 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 14 Issues raised: At station Confusion over rights – delay in solicitor etc Anxiety about future, and regret Put in paper suits (including sent home, and not getting back) Anxiety about parents Q: What were you worried about? YO39: What my parents were going to think, what they were gonna do. (14 yr old male offender) Parental chastisement “She had a go at me. She said, she said to me that she was going to let me stay there longer, overnight but they said they couldn’t do it cos they didn’t have enough room… I was just hoping dad wasn’t going to turn up, cos he would have battered me as soon as I got outside.” (16 yr old male)

15 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 15 Issues raised: In cells Shock, and unfamiliarity “it was like a shock hit me first time you see a cell. It’s like you’re thinking “Oh, no” It’s not a familiar place, is it.” (18 yr old female) ------------------ “.. I don’t know, the whole being in the cell thing makes you feel like an animal, you know, locked away in the cell.” (16 yr old female)

16 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 16 Issues raised: In cells Lengthy and isolated time in cells (big theme) “they always seem to manage to find an excuse to keep me in the cell longer. It’s always oh we've got to do this first, we've gotta do that and they use words that.. you don’t understand “ (16 yr old female) –Perceived as deliberately trying to break person or summary punishment “I was the last person to be out of there. Just because of my attitude, the way I’d been. Cos they have the power to make those little things that make your life a hell of a lot harder to be honest. It’s part of their everyday routine but they can make your, they can make your life hell.” (17 yr old male) –Frustration at the injustice and not being able to react “I start going a bit loopy. And that’s how people do because if you're in a small space, nobody likes being in that small space, feeling like a criminal, a loser, a waster, you feel like you're nothing, you know, everybody’s been looking down at ya.. you feel like crap” (16 yr old female) Boredom

17 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 17 Issues raised: In cells Frustration at being ignored (or neglected) “And when you ring the buzzer they never come. Never ever. Not even if you just ring it once and then don’t ring it again. Cos most people just carry on ringing it. They never come anyway.” (16 yr old male) “You press the buzzer and ask for a cigarette, or use the toilet, they go, “No”, and half the time they don’t answer the buzzer to you. They just leave you in there until they’ve dealt with someone else. It gets you frustrated, when they don’t answer you. And it gets cold in the cell.” (16 yr old female) -

18 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 18 Issues raised: In cells Unnecessary victimisation: including verbal aggression, invasion of privacy, humiliation “you’ve got some.. ignorant arsehole that turns your buzzer off and sometimes you get em like, they pull down the hatch and just grin ‘alright in here’ and it, it’s the way they say it as well, you know, it’s so.. I don’t really care if you are or you’re not, you know what I mean, slam it back up and what's the thing with the slamming, why couldn’t you just place it up. Just little things like that” (16 yr old female offender) Lack of food and drink (and quality when get some) “I was thirsty and they never give me no water until later on…very thirsty. I was swearing as well,” (14 yr old male) ----------- “the first time I went in I had them on all night.. and they just annoyed me cos they’d come in and they wouldn’t, they wouldn’t give me anything to eat, they wouldn’t give me a drink, they kept me in all night.” (15 yr old female)

19 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 19 Issues raised: In cells Coping strategies –E.g., Sleep, sucking thumb, doing press ups, singing in head “All you can do is just sit there and think or just do, repeat songs in your head, Heartless Crew, whatever, or start doing press up and sit ups. Otherwise you just give in, you break. And you’re just sitting there and you think “Oh I can’t take this anymore, I wanna go home” - and then you go into an interview and squeal. So, you can’t do that, you’ve gotta keep a strong head.” (17 yr old male) –Hitting buzzer (and challenging) “They kept coming along every time I pressed the buzzer and asking me what I wanted, and I’d go “Erm... oh, I’ve forgotten now.” And then I’d wait for the buzzer to go (...) front desk and press it again.” 18 yr old female ----------- “I thought well they're being a bit not right to me today so I'm gonna get em back, so rung the buzzer” 16 yr old female

20 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 20 Issues raised: Interviews Verbally intimidating –Rapid and confusing questions “They try and make you say things that you don’t want to say, or they try twisting things so that I don’t know” (15 yr old male) ------------ “It was scary. I couldn’t really say what happened cos I was that scared and worried. And they kept changing it, forcing me to say whatever, to say what they think…Cos I was saying something and then they were just putting words into my mouth.” (15 yr old male) --------- “They try and put pressure on you and ask you weird questions.” (15 yr old male)

21 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 21 Issues raised: Interviews Verbally intimidating –Threats of custody “I can see it now that he was obviously scaring me into sort of saying… they were sort of saying that “If you don’t say sort of where you’ve got it from” and stuff like that “then you’re looking at spending a very long time in prison.” Which I don’t know, maybe it’s one of their methods, or techniques or something.” (18 yr old male) –Aggression “He started going to me “You’re a coward, you’re a coward, just admit you did it” and all this stuff and he wound me up cos he was just in my face saying “You’re a coward blah blah blah”, insulting me so.” (17 yr old male)

22 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 22 Issues raised: Interviews Physically intimidating “They make you feel uncomfortable… it is all about their approach, the way they approach you, the way they talk to you, the way they look at you and.. all their body language and things like that…I'm the king of the castle and you're not…it’s the way they're so dominant.. in their approach to you” (16 yr old female) Pressure from parents “I get really uncomfortable when my dad’s there, cos in a police station is not a good place to see your daughter in.” (16 yr old female) ------------------ “My dad started going mad at me, saying “Why is this, why is that?” “Just tell him who it was” and all this stuff, “Was it you?” blah blah blah.” (17 yr old male)  Sense of losing control over what they were saying

23 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 23 Issues raised: Interviews Reaction to police behaviour “…if they speak to me rude, I just speak to them rude back. And if they speak to me kindly, I speak to em kindly back. So no shouting….. I was just, talking back to her and telling her the truth and she was a nice police lady’ (17yr old male) Heavy reliance on solicitor (when there)

24 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 24 Conclusions: Recurring themes Police pressure and abuse of power (and some supportive ones) Resistance and challenge, but recognition of police ultimate power.”If they talk to you with a bad attitude it makes me wanna like talk back to em like that. But then I just thought no what’s the point because they’ve got so much power over what I have and it’s not worth it. Because they’ll just keep you in there longer and then they’ll try thinking of other things to arrest you for. That’s just the police all over for you…they think they’ve got so much power” (15 yr old male) -------------- “There's nothing you can do. You can’t beat the police or anything.” (15 yr old male) ------------ “. I take the piss of them, because they take the piss of me so I take the piss back. I never liked it. They expected me to be quiet. Now if they take the piss of me, I’m taking the piss back. But some of them have been all right, but some of them take the piss.” (15 yr old male)

25 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 25 Conclusions: Recurring themes Confusion over procedures and rights (lack of protection) Anxiety and coping mechanisms Anxiety flashpoints: home arrest, transfer, cells, interview Positive and negative support

26 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 26 Conclusions: What can we learn? YP have sophisticated critical analysis – including power issues (particularly with female offenders) YP claim their behaviour is reaction to police > police training to ease trauma and secure positive relations Should not assume that parents will be positive support > importance of solicitor Need to focus anxiety flashpoints > invitational arrest at station avoids home anxieties etc Perception of summary justice > communication and procedure (e.g. early solicitor) Young offenders are children >

27 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 27 Conclusions: Offenders as children Bottom line: Young people still children before offenders – with childlike concerns Vulnerable to adult-child power relations (not just judicial power) –Mental vulnerability –Judicial vulnerability (e.g. pressures in interviews) Child protection review of police care –Children Act ruling (Munby judgement 2002) –Police care shouldn’t be overlooked

28 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 28 Conclusions: Offenders as children “There's no privacy [in the police cell]. When I go to sleep I like to suck my thumb and twiddle my belly button and when I'm in the cell I always do it cos it’s my comfort. And.. the sniggers you get, little sniggery and snidey comments all the time. When …As soon as your mum or whoever’s with you.. is not around, not in ear sight, that’s when they start going on. And because you're a child, if you say ‘mum.. that officer was really rude to me, he called me this, he called me that’.. your mums not gonna believe you. [She’ll say].. “You're just saying that, he's a police officer.. he's not allowed to do that” Not allowed? When has that ever stopped em?” (15 yr old female)

29 5 th July 2006 Neal Hazel ( 29 References Jamieson, J., McIvor, G., & Murray, C. (1999). Understanding Offending Among Young People. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Stationary Office. Leitch, H. (eds.) (1999). When the key turns: written contributions from young people in secure accommodation. 2nd edition, Exeter: Atkinson Unit. Lyon, J., Dennison, C., & Wilson, A. (2000). ‘Tell Them So They Listen’: Messages from Young People in Custody. London: Home Office. Rogowski, S. (2000). Young offenders: their experience of offending and the youth justice system. Youth and Policy, 70, 52-70. Princes Trust (2001). It’s Like That. The views and hopes of disadvantaged young people. London: The Princes Trust. Smith, D. (1976). Young People and The Police.: Leicester: The National Youth Bureau. Tisseyre, C. (1976). The image and attitude of young people towards the police. International Child Welfare Review, No. 30-31, 94-105.

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