It's not so long ago that we were commenting on the case of Codie Stott, the school girl who was arrested when she asked to sit with another group in class.
Now they're at it again - this time it's the Hertfordshire police who have invaded the classroom to arrest a 14-year-old boy because he stood up to bullies who were picking on his younger brother.
Persaud, a prefect who is described as a "model pupil" by his school, has an impeccable disciplinary record, is a county cricketer, plays rugby and coaches tennis for younger children, was given a formal reprimand by officers after an investigation. His name and offence have been placed on the Police National Computer. His reprimand for a "violent crime" will also remain on the separate Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) database, jeopardising his hopes of following in his parents' footsteps and becoming a teacher.
The incident was the result of an alleged six-month racist bullying campaign against Persaud's 11-year-old brother after he started at the same secondary school in Welwyn Garden City, Herts. Persaud finally decided to confront one of the alleged tormentors in May after his brother had been called a "gay Paki". He pushed the bully three times, on the third occasion pushing him off his feet though no injury is reported.
He then went to a teacher and told him what had happened. Amazingly, instead of taking action against the bullies, the school suspended him for two days and made him write a letter of apology.
This injustice wasn't enough, though. His "victim's" parents reported the incident to the police who issued a formal reprimand. Persaud's father Guya Persaud, a deputy head teacher at a London school, said "When the police first came to see us, they were slightly embarrassed and said the whole thing seemed ludicrous. But the next we heard they had decided to issue a formal reprimand which means he is now on the Police National Computer. It will show up on criminal record bureau checks for the rest of his life. As a deputy head, I know that if a school gets a positive CRB check on an application from someone to be a teacher, it goes straight to the bottom of the pile."
"My son shouldn't have pushed the other boy over but he owned up, showed genuine remorse and was punished quite harshly by the school," he said. "Despite all that, the police stepped in and now my son has a criminal record."
A reprimand for a minor offence stays on police records for five years, but it remains on CRB checks indefinitely.
Hertfordshire Police defended their decision, saying "If someone makes a complaint or reports an alleged criminal offence to the police we are obliged by the Government's crime recording standards to record the offence and investigate it. The individual concerned admitted the alleged offence and accepted a reprimand."
Well, that's nice and clear, isn't it? They only issued the reprimand and entered the boy in the database because he'd admitted the offence. If he'd had the sense (and dishonesty, a trait his upright parents have probably tried their best to discourage) to deny it, the police would have had to carry out a full investigation, collect evidence from witnesses, take statements and so on. Probably they wouldn't have bothered to go through with it and he'd have got off. On the other hand, all the bully's parents had to do was complain to the police, and the machinery ground into action.
Seems to The GOS in his innocence that everyone was wrong in this case. Persaud was wrong because he admitted it. The bully's parents were wrong because of their vindictive pursuit of Persaud despite the fact that he'd been punished by the school already. The school were wrong because they hadn't stopped the bullying in the first place, and over-reacted when Persaud tried to do their job for them. The police were wrong because they blindly followed the rules however stupid and unfair they seemed. The government were wrong because their legislation is obviously harming the administration of justice, preferring the prosecution of revenge. And Persaud's parents were wrong because they'd brought their son up to tell the truth and stick up for his little brother.
Make no mistake, this incident will blight his life. CRB checks are being upgraded to the point where shortly they will be required for up to a third of the population, and it may not be long before they become compulsory for everyone when applying for a college place or a job. What's the betting that some time in the future it'll suddenly become "necessary" to enter such information on your compulsory ID card as well?
The moral of the story is clear. In this wonderful New Britain, the correct course of action in any troublesome situation is …
(1) complain loudly, whether you have anything to complain about or not, and
(2) when confronted by anyone in authority, lie like a trooper.
But I think we knew that already, didn't we?
either on this site or on the World Wide Web.
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