COVID-19: New Bail Information Service to assist courts during the pandemic
HM Prison & Probation Service (HMPPS) and the National Probation Service (NPS) have implemented a new Bail Information Service, which aims to provide and verify the necessary information to assist courts in making decisions about conditional bail.
Report on video link first appearance remand hearings
A report on the evaluation of a tool which enables first appearance remand hearings in the magistrates' court with the defendant appearing by video link has been published. The tool has not been used for cases involving child defendants, however, it is being used to help courts function during the Covid-19 crisis and therefore many of the findings are immediately relevant.
Young offenders may be eligible for temporary release as a result of Covid-19
The Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service have introduced the End of Custody Temporary Release Scheme (ECTR) which applies to young offenders. The criteria governing the temporary release of young offenders has been set out in Rule 5A of the Young Offender Institution Rules 2000, 'Coronavirus Restricted Temporary Release'.
More coronavirus regulations and the implications for children in care
The Adoption and Coronavirus (Amendment) Regulations 2020 make sweeping and unprecedented temporary changes to the legislation which affords basic protection to children in care, many of whom have or will come into contact with the youth justice system. The Government has justified the removal of these protections by stating that it is necessary ‘to assist the children’s social care sector during the coronavirus pandemic’.
COVID-19: Police interview protocol amended for children
The protocol to assist police deciding whether suspects should be interviewed during the Covid-19 pandemic as been amended in ways which impact child suspects.
COVID-19: Delays, video link hearings and custody time limits for children in the criminal courts
Legislative change due to the coronavirus pandemic is having a significant impact on children in the criminal justice system. Delayed hearings, the use of video link and the potential extension of custody time limits is deeply worrying for children on remand, those with participation issues and those who are soon turning 18.
COVID-19: What amounts to a reasonable excuse for a child?
Guidance for police on what constitutes a reasonable excuse for leaving the house during lockdown has been issued. Children are not identified as having distinct 'excuses' from adults but in reality many of society's most vulnerable children, such as those who are Looked After, will have pertinent reasons for leaving the places they live.
COVID-19: CPS interim case review guidance applies to children
The CPS have issued new interim guidance on the application of the public interest test during the coronavirus pandemic. This guidance should be considered when assessing whether it is in the public interest to prosecute a child.
COVID-19: United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child recommendations for States
The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) have released a statement warning of the grave physical, emotional and psychological effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on children globally.
COVID-19: Police interview protocol
A protocol has been published to assist investigators and prosecutors in deciding whether suspects should be interviewed as part of a police investigation during the Covid-19 pandemic. The protocol applies to children but does not refer to them specifically.
The Coronavirus Act and Health Protection Regulations: Implications for children
A number of new criminal offences and police powers affecting children have been created by the Coronavirus Act 2020 and the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020.
HMCPSI review finds concerns with the CPS handling of serious youth crime
The first review of how the CPS handles serious youth crime in over 6 years finds numerous areas of concern and some aspects of casework quality in need of urgent attention. It recognised that CPS prosecutors need to be familiar with the relevant law, procedure, policy and guidance. Importantly, it also acknowledged that their approach needs to reflect the immaturity and vulnerabilities of many young people involved in crime. It made a number of recommendations for change.