Working with researchers, policy makers, police and judiciaries in the UK, U.S.A, Belgium, Netherlands, Singapore, Thailand and Israel, Lesley Laver in SciTech Psychology has been developing provisions for the interviewing of juvenile suspects of crime. As part of the project, she has established links with a number of global institutions to work collaboratively on the improvement of youth interviewing techniques.
The manner in which our young people are interviewed by police is of societal importance because, of the 1 million arrests for criminal offences in the UK each year, around 12% are of children aged 10-17 (Youth Justice Annual Statistics: 2013/2014, Ministry of Justice). Most of these 126,809 juvenile arrests are followed by a police interview. Evidence taken from these interviews contributes to charging, prosecution and custody decisions for young people and plays a role in nearly 100,000 juvenile convictions and cautions a year. The police interview therefore plays a substantial role in a child’s criminal record, future inclusion in the criminal justice system and long-term well-being. However, there is little research or guidance informing the interview process for child suspects of crime. BU plans to be a significant proponent in the development of such guidance and this has begun through work with interested institutions from a variety of cultures.
Those who are interested in learning about or contributing to this work are urged to contact Lesley Laver to learn about ongoing developments.