Police has always been an agency dealing with crime and criminals. The victim was just a witness in the criminal justice system with the primary focus being on the criminal. However, in the 21st century, the police slowly and steadily assumed many social responsibilities, be it for the socially backward, deprived senior citizens or the battered women in difficult situations.
However, somehow the focus on children could not gain momentum till the Juvenile Justice Act 2000 came into force.
Even after the JJ Act the momentum of reforms and modifications in the criminal procedures adopted by the police came much later with amendment in 2006 and modal Juvenile Rules. In its endeavour to create the child friendly police upholding all the rights of a juvenile, Delhi Police has created the necessary child friendly infrastrucre.
Delhi Police as per its mandate under the Juvenile Justice Act and the corresponding rules has created the Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPUs) in each of the 11 police district as well in Crime and Railways and IGI Airport Units with a purpose to co-ordinate and upgrade police treatment of the Juvenile and the children. Every Police Station has designated two or three police officers with necessary aptitude, appropriate training and orientation as Juvenile or Child Welfare Officer,
who handle or deal with the juvenile or child in Conflict with Law as well as the Children in Need of Care and Protection. It is assumed that these officers will handle the children in a much more humane and child friendly manner as is required under the mandate the Juvenile Justice system. At the State level the Office of the Jt CP, Special Police Unit for Women and Children (earlier Crime (Women) Cell), Nanakpura is the Nodal office on the issues relating to children.
In the absence of social workers which are yet to be appointed by the State Govt., the SJPU s have sought assistance from voluntary organization/NGOs working in the field of child rights. These NGOs have been proactively working at the district as well as police station level in educating the police personnel about the law relating to juveniles as well as the need of sensitivity in handling children in difficult situations.
In its recent observations on non availability of social workers with the SJPUs, the High Courts Committees on Juvenile issues has suggested that the assistance from within the civil society be taken. The efforts are now on to associated the proactive members of the society be it from the RWAs, Voluntary agencies, who are willing to work for the cause of children and extend help in identifying juveniles in conflict with law as well as reporting cases of violence against children, child abuse etc.
The true purpose of all our endeavours is to have a police force wherein each and every member of the force is sensitized to the needs of the children and is effective in full implementation of the Juvenile Justice System in its letter and spirit.