The interaction of police with juveniles once they get on the wrong side of the law is founded in the Children Act. Under the Act, once police arrest a child, they should caution the child and immediately release the child (Section 89(1)). This section empowers the police to handle and dispose of the matter without referring it to any formal courts for hearing. Upon arrest of the child, the child’s parents/guardians are supposed to be informed as soon as possible. The secretary for children’s affairs at the local government council of the area in which the child resides is also supposed to be informed immediately. In the event that parents or guardians of the child cannot be contacted, the child should be interviewed in the presence of the probation and social welfare officer. Under Article 34(6) of the Constitution of Uganda, a child offender who is kept in lawful custody or detention shall be kept separately from adult offenders. Further, a child is not allowed to be in police custody for more than 24 h. It is prohibited to detain a child with adults, and if a child is female, she should be in the custody of female police officers.

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