Northern Ireland news

Concerns raised after 14-year-old boy handcuffed in Co Tyrone

A 14-year-old boy was handcuffed by the PSNI in Coalisland, Co Tyrone, last week
Connla Young

A report has been made to the Police Ombudsman after claims that a 14-year-old boy was placed in handcuffs during an arrest in Co Tyrone.

The schoolboy was detained in Coalisland last week after PSNI officers alleged he had made an abusive hand gesture.

A solicitor for the teenager, who turned 14 on the day of the incident, said a police officer told his client he was being arrested for disorderly behaviour.

Gavin Booth, of Phoenix Law, said his client was later accused of assault on an officer and was further arrested for that offence.

It is claimed the teenager was then placed in a police car before being taken home.

It is the second time in recent months that police have been filmed handcuffing a child in the Coalisland area.

Mr Booth said his client posed no threat.

"It gives rise to serious concern in this policing area that police are not trained in the use of cuffs and dealing with minors," he said.

"At no stage was there any threat posed to the officers that they should feel they need to deploy cuffs to any person, never mind a 14-year-old child."

Mr Booth added that given the PSNI arrested the child "but then brought him home suggests that the arrest was unnecessary".

A spokesman for the Police Ombudsman said a complaint has been received.

A spokesman for the PSNI said: "A 14-year-old male was arrested for assault on police, resisting police and disorderly behaviour in the Lineside area of Coalisland on Tuesday, April 19.

"He was then de-arrested and released into the care of his parents.

"Follow up actions will be taken in respect of this young person in consultation with the Youth Diversion Officer."

Koulla Yiasouma, Commissioner for Children and Young People said:

"Generally, the ability of PSNI to interact effectively with children and young people has been a source of concern for NICCY," she said.

" I and my office continue to raise this in discussions with senior PSNI officers and the NI Policing Board and have consistently advised that the PSNI still have work to do to improve the quality of engagement and communication with young people, not only when arrested but also in stop and search operations and general interactions.”

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