Clwyd West Assembly Member Darren Millar has made fresh calls for the Welsh Government’s proposed ‘smacking ban’ to be scrapped after receiving an email from yet another senior Police Officer who is concerned the new law would lead to “decent families being traumatised”.
If passed, the Welsh Government’s Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Bill would remove the legal defence of reasonable chastisement and make very mild parental smacking a criminal offence.
Earlier this year, in a submission to the Assembly's Children's Committee, the Welsh Chief Officer Group and All Wales Policing Group outlined their serious reservations about the ban and said alleged criminal behaviour - such as a parent smacking a child - would be disclosed on advanced criminal record checks whether or not it was proven and called for the proposals to be dropped.
This week, Darren, who has been strongly against Labour’s proposals for a smacking ban since they were first mooted, received correspondence from another senior officer with the Welsh Police Force, urging him and other AMs to take action to prevent those in power from forging ahead with the proposals.
“The senior officer has reiterated what I have been saying from the moment these ludicrous proposals were first put forward, that being that there is no need for a smacking ban as existing laws are working well.
“As the officer states “children are already protected from abuse and physical harm”. They stressed that police officers know where the line is drawn and that “so do the public at large”. They said “the reasonable chastisement defence only covers the lightest sort of smacking. It stops parents being treated like criminals for no good reason. Removing the defence will remove any discretion we have. It will lead to decent families being traumatised.”
“It’s about time that those in power started listening to these police officers who clearly know best. .
“Introducing a smacking ban would cause all manner of problems. As I’ve said time and time again, criminalising parents, taking their children away, and tarnishing the reputation of innocent people through disclosure in background checks would harm children and families, not help them.
“I really hope the Welsh Government think again before piling all of this onto their local police, who already have extremely heavy workloads.
“A smacking ban is unpopular and incredibly patronising to parents. The Welsh Government needs to but out of family life.”