Merseyside Police says not 'proportionate' to release pic of ASBO child named by judge to nationals

Merseyside Police opted to release a picture of a 10-year-old named in court by a judge only to local media after receiving legal advice.

The force decided that it would not be “proportionate” to release the image to national newspapers so instead only released it to the Liverpool Echo (story pictured above). The boy's 14-year-old brother had been publicly named in an ASBO order a month earlier.

District judge Michael Abelson sentenced John Hodgin to a two-year order banning him from associating with certain friends in public and from remaining in a shop after he has been asked to leave.

If the child breaches the order he will be committing a criminal offence.

Making the order public, and publishing a picture of the child, is intended to help members of the community ensure that it is not broken.

Press Gazette understands that Merseyside Police felt it was not necessary or proportionate to release the child’s photo to national media in order to ensure that the ASBO worked.

A Merseyside police spokesperson said: "The photo of a 10-year-old boy subject to an ASBO was issued to local media to help assist with measures to ensure that the local community is aware of the terms of the order and the identity of the person who is subject to them.
 
"This helps to make sure that people can report any breaches of the terms to the appropriate authority and is in accordance with standard procedures in relation to publicising ASBOs so that they are enforceable in the communities which they are designed to protect.

"When issuing any photograph of the subject of an ASBO, the force must take account of all of the circumstances of the case, including the age of the person subject to the order, the prohibitions which they are subject to and the geographical area to which those prohibitions relate.

"Any decision to publicise has to be proportionate taking into account the provisions of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights."

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