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POLICING AND JUVENILES

One of the basic principles of Slovenian criminal procedure is the legality of prosecution (as opposed to the principle of opportunity) (Perrodet 2002). Meaning that officials, be it police officers or prosecutors, who obtain evidence that a criminal offense was committed, are obliged to institute criminal proceedings. Accordingly, there is not much room for any type of police discretion when dealing with juvenile offenders. Police officers are required to report all cases they come in contact with to the prosecution. The prosecution, however, has some opportunity for diversion, as explained later in the chapter (Filipcic 2015).

As there are no empirical studies focused on police practices regarding juvenile offenders, we can only make educated guesses as to what actually happens. Given the declining numbers of juveniles being processed officially by the police, it seems very likely that the police do in fact enact some sort of diversion in the field, only initiating formal proceedings in more serious cases. This is corroborated by individual stories and anecdotes, but, as mentioned earlier, there are no empirical studies to confirm this hypothesis.

 
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