A couple of years ago I highlighted the problem of grandparents being accused of harassment, for sending cards and presents to their grandchildren, and sadly the situation has not improved.

Grandparents continue to have solicitors writing to them saying if  they continue to send cards ect then they will contact the police and will take out an injunction against them.

So what is a harassment order?

“There needs to be at least two separate occasions of conduct which, together, can be said to amount to harassment. This is where the apparent need for a harassment warning comes in – a single act on its own cannot amount to a “course of conduct”.

The warning lets the individual know that a complaint has been received and that a charge may follow if the conduct complained of is repeated.

A harassment warning is not a criminal conviction – simply a notice that a complaint has been received. The behaviour complained of, by itself, does not amount to a crime.

The person who is sent the warning can lodge a formal complaint (in the first instance to the police force that issued the warning and by appeal thereafter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, IPCC).”

Article 6 of the Human Rights Act protects your right to a fair trial in criminal and civil proceedings. It states that:

“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law”.

My understanding is that if a complaint is made to the police they have to investigate.

It appears that there is no consistency across the UK within our police forces, as to how to deal with this particular problem.

When I first highlighted this, I was contacted by my local constabulary, who told me, “Any incident believed to be harassment and reported to the police will be investigated and assessed on a case-by-case basis.”

It is surely absolutely not necessary for police, allegedly, arriving at a grandparents home with the blue lights flashing, grandparents taken to the station, kept for hours under investigation, just because they left a present for their grandchild?

It is a complete waste of police time and tax payers money.

Police should not be acting as an enforcer for a dispute between two sets of adults.  It seems absurd if police time is spent  pursuing well-meaning grandparents who simply want to get a birthday card to their grandchild.They should not be slamming the full force of the criminal justice system down on innocent attempts to express affection for grandchildren.

Receiving a solicitors letter, letters that are written in a very threatening way,  frighten grandparents, it is inexcusable. Grandparents who have experienced this never get over it.

Obviously solicitors are acting for their clients, but why do they have to write in an aggressive way, isn’t it aggression and lack of communication that causes estrangement in the first place? How does that help anyone, it doesn’t of course.

Until we move away from aggressive tactics from everyone concerned this horrible threat will continue.

Grandparents living in fear unable to show their love to their grandchildren.

Jane