Embargoed until: 00:01am Tuesday 1st July 2014
Children under ten subject to police stop and search
finds All Party Parliamentary
Full report at:
Police forces have been stopping and searching large numbers of
children including those below 10 years old, the age of criminal
responsibility in England and Wales, according to a new report
published today by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Children,
which is clerked by the National Children's Bureau.
The report is based on unpublished data that was requested from
police forces by the all party group as part of its 18 month long
inquiry into the relationship between children and the police. It
shows that in 19 forces over the last 5 years one in five or a
quarter of stops were on children, including hundreds of under 10s.
Despite this there is no specific guidance in place for the police
on how to deal with children who are stopped and searched including
how to manage safeguarding issues for vulnerable or young
The report also sets out information on the number of separate
custody facilities for children showing that 20 forces, including
the Metropolitan police, do not have separate provision for
children and young peopl
The report's key findings show that:
- Across 22 police forces, over the last five years, 1,136 stop
and searches were carried out on childrenunder the age of ten,
- During the last five years (2009 to 2013), across 26 police
forces,over one millionstop and searches were carried out on
children and young people; accounting for asignificant proportion
of all-age stop and searches, ranging from 13 to 28 per cent across
different police forces.
- Data provided by forces suggests that stop and search is
useddisproportionately on black and minority ethnicchildren and
- Although looked after children and care leavers are
over-represented in the criminal justice system: nearly twice as
likely as their peers to be cautioned or convicted of an offence,
police forces are unable to provide data on the numbers oflooked
after childrenstopped and searched ;none of the 44 police forces
were able to submit stop and search data on looked after
- Statutory police guidance and protocolsdo not sufficiently
reflect the fact that a sizeable proportion of stop and searches
are carried out on children, providing little in the way of
specific guidelines including advice on safeguarding and child
- 20 of the 43 police forces that provided data stated that they
had noseparate custody facilities for children and young people;
meaning that they may be in close proximity to adults and
potentially exposed to unnecessary harm and distress.
- There is a lack of sufficient guidancefor the police on
carrying out stop and searches on children, and providing a safe
custodial environment, which is of great concern.
Baroness Massey of Darwen, chair of the All Party Group
for Children, said:
'We were surprised to find that despite the fact so many
children are being stopped and searched by the police there is no
practice guidance to inform how to deal with children, particularly
those who are young or vulnerable. Many of these children will be
in need of care and protection, possibly fleeing from sexual
predators or gang violence. The police need to make sure that they
don't see children as small adults and do more to ensure they
always adopt an age appropriate response to every child. Whenever a
young person has to be taken into police custody they should always
be treated with the greatest care and held in facilities that are
designed to meet their needs.'
'Our inquiry has found many positive initiatives seeking to
improve relationships between young people and the police and we
look forward to working with government and police leaders to
assist in spreading good practice so that children grow up to have
confidence in their local force.'
The report sets out a number of key recommendations:
- The inspectorate of constabulary's (HMIC) annual review of stop
and search powers shouldassess proportionality of stop and searches
in relation to age, including the stop and search of
- PACE Code A1should be revised to include:
- a requirement for police forcesto record the date of birth of
children and young people on stop and search forms and central
- specific guidance on carrying out stop and search on children,
includingadvice on safeguarding and child protectionand what action
should be taken to protect vulnerable children, for example
children in care or those at risk of abuse and exploitation.
- HMIC's annual review of stop and search powers should
specificallyassess the proportionality of stop and searches of
under-18s in relation to ethnicity.
- The Home Office and Department for Education should work with
police forces to consider how best tomonitor rates of stop and
search of looked after children.
- All newly built custody facilities should include a separate
custody area for children and young people,and the Home Office
should direct all police forces to consider allocating areas that
can be used as separate facilities for children and young people
within existing custody facilities. The Home Office should also
work with the Association of Chief Police Officers to share good
practice in developing juvenile custody facilities.
Enver Solomon, Director of Evidence and Impact at the
National Children's Bureau, which runs the secretariat for the all
party group, said:
'The inquiry is shining a light on how the police interact
with children and finding that there is a need for a new approach.
Any child who comes into contact with the police should always be
treated differently from an adult. For children who are at risk of
exploitation, abuse or violence it is particularly important that
the police know what steps to take to protect them and put their
welfare first. The police should review how they deal with children
and ensure they are always treated as having distinct, separate
needs from adults'.
The final report of the APPGC's inquiry, including further
recommendations for Government, the police and statutory bodies,
will be published in October 2014.
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Children inquiry into
'Children and the Police': Initial analysis of information request
to police forces is available from:
For more information contact the NCB media office on 0207 843
6045 / 47 or email email@example.com. For urgent
enquiries out of office hours call 07721 097 033.
Notes to editors
About The All Party Parliamentary Group
for Children inquiry into 'Children and the Police': Initial
analysis of information request to police forces
Police forces were contacted in January 2014 to ascertain the
data, not currently collected nationally, on children and young
people in relation to stop and search and custody facilities, two
key issues highlighted during the inquiry's oral evidence sessions.
The 43 forces across England and Wales and the British Transport
Police were requested to state:
1) Within your jurisdiction, the
number of under 18s who have been stopped and searched over the
past five years - broken down by age, ethnicity, gender and whether
or not they are looked after children. What is the percentage of
children who have been stop and searched against the total
2) The number of custody facilities
within your jurisdiction; and how many of these have a separate
facility for holding young people under 18 detained in police
All of the 44 police forces, including the British Transport
Police, responded to our request, although responses were of
varying detail. This report sets out an initial analysis of the
information provided, focusing on data relating to stop and search,
age and ethnicity, and custody facilities for under-18 year-olds.
In order to provide comparable data, some of the analysis focuses
on a sample of police forces. The report also makes recommendations
relating to issues arising from the data. Further analysis will be
included in the inquiry's final report.
Throughout, we have used only the data provided by the police
forces. It is important to note that there might be errors in the
data as a consequence of police recording. For example, the initial
data provided by one force on the number of under-10 year-olds
stopped and searched was revised when its accuracy was questioned.
About the inquiry into the way
the police interact with children and young people.
During the 2013-14 and 2014-15
parliamentary sessions, the All Party Parliamentary Group for
Children has been conducting an inquiry into 'Children and the
Police' with the aim of addressing four over-arching questions:
What is the experience of children and young people in interacting
with the police?
Which particular groups of children and young people are at greater
risk of being criminalised and why?
How can the police improve engagement with children and young
What should be the role of wider children's services in supporting
Following a written call for evidence last summer, seven oral
evidence sessions have been held on:
- Developing good relationships between children and the
- The detention of young people in police custody
- The prosecution and over-representation of looked after
- Engaging with children with SEND and mental health needs
- The use of stop and search on under-18s
- Police engagement with youth gangs
- Child sexual exploitation and trafficking
About the National Children's Bureau
The National Children's Bureau (NCB) is a leading children's
charity that for 50 years has been improving the lives of children
and young people, especially the most vulnerable. Working with
children, and for children, we strive to reduce the impact of
inequalities by influencing government using our extensive research
and expertise, being the voice for front-line practitioners, and
inspiring creative solutions on issues including health, education
and care. Every year we reach more than 100,000 children and young
people through our membership scheme, links with voluntary,
statutory and private organisations, and the 30 specialist
membership programmes that we host.
For more information visit www.ncb.org.uk
 A list of all the police forces that responded to
the information request is provided in Appendix A.