8 Mar 2013

Call to strengthen child laws around 'P' labs

9:15 pm on 8 March 2013

New research says child abuse laws need to be strengthened to protect children who are living or found in methamphetamine or "P" labs.

The study shows children were discovered in 162 labs between 2007 and 2010. Of those, just 10 have so far resulted in successful child-related prosecutions.

Chloe Barker, a lawyer who analysed police statistics for her thesis, says police currently have to lay charges under general child abuse laws which have a high threshold and can be hard to prove.

Ms Barker wants legislation introduced which specifically targets people who expose children to the harms of "P" labs.

The Police Association union supports the call, but Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess says police are managing well under existing laws.

A New Zealand First member's bill which would allow judges to order harsher penalties on those who commit crimes in front of children is to have its first reading in Parliament in March.