25 Aug 2009

Only 14 child discipline cases handled by police

3:10 pm on 25 August 2009

Police say in the two years since the law changed regarding child discipline only 14 cases led to charges, with one of those dropped before getting to court.

Deputy Police Commissioner Rob Pope says police have consistently applied a commonsense approach to enforcing the law.

Thirteen prosecutions were pursued for what police term as "minor acts of physical discipline", but they involved other aggravating factors as well as smacking.

Prime Minister John Key on Monday announced the relevant policies and procedures of the law will be reviewed, which may lead to new guidelines to help police deal with complaints about smacking.

Police and the Ministry of Social Development will review procedures regarding the child discipline law following a referendum on smacking which showed 88% were not happy with the law.

Mr Key says if future police data indicates a worrying trend in prosecutions, the law will be changed. But based on the affects of the law so far, police do not think this will be necessary.

Mr Pope told Morning Report on Tuesday he does not anticipate the review to change anything, except to provide even more reassurance to the public that proper discretion is applied to each complaint.