Examination of Witness

Part of Voyeurism (Offences) (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 10th July 2018.

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Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Conservative, Cheltenham 2:30 pm, 10th July 2018

Q I want to go over the point you very helpfully raised about making a decision on whether to be heavy-handed, go in with your size 12s and prosecute someone to conviction, potentially ruining a young person’s life, or to take a lighter touch. That involves individual discretion, often of a police officer, to decide, “Are we going to go down the caution route or are we in fact going to go down the full prosecution route, which could end up in front of judge and jury at the local Crown court?”

From your vantage point, what experience have you had in similar cases, such as revenge porn, of that discretion of individual police officers being exercised credibly and consistently around the country?

One of my concerns is that a police officer might go to a festival in Reading and decide that that 15-year-old is an idiot and deal with them by way of a caution, but a police officer in a different part of the country could say, “Absolutely not. You are going to be charged and potentially go inside.” Do you have any experience of whether discretion is operated properly and consistently in relation to young people?