Arrest rates of minors decline
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
JUVENILE arrests in the country declined by seven per cent between 2012 and 2013, according to a recent report on juvenile justice in ASEAN.
Citing statistics from the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF), the report stated that Brunei recorded 82 juvenile arrests in 2012 compared to 76 arrests in 2013.
In 2013, the majority of juvenile arrests were for house break-ins (23), followed by drug offences (19). There were six arrests for alleged rape, six for assault, and five for car theft.
Other recorded offences include ‘unlawful carnal knowledge’, extortion, using insulting word/signs and drunken misconduct.
Of the 76 juvenile arrests in 2013, four minors were convicted by the Juvenile Courts.
Titled “A Measure of Last Resort: The Current Status of Juvenile Justice in ASEAN Member States”, the study was published by the Swedish-based Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.
The Brunei chapter was authored by the Datin Paduka Hjh Intan Hj Mohd Kassim, Brunei’s representative to the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection on the Rights of Women and Children.
The report states that in most cases the RBPF practices “diversion”.
It means releasing minors with only a warning or referring them to the Department of Community Development or the Narcotics Control Bureau for supervision or rehabilitation.
The report estimates that 90 per cent of minors arrested are “diverted” to these programmes.
Likewise, no further legal proceedings were brought against them.
By law, a juvenile offender is defined as an individual below the age of 18.
The highest number of juvenile arrests on record during the past 13 years was in 2004.
It was the year when the RBPF recorded 202 minors detained for various offences.
The Brunei Times