Statement on transferring children from police custody to local authority accommodation

Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive at the National Children's Bureau said:

"The National Children's Bureau welcomes a letter, sent jointly by the Home Office and the Department for Education, reminding local authorities of their duty to ensure that children and young people are detained no longer than necessary in police custody. Children and young people who are refused bail, or are waiting to appear in court have a legal right to be moved to appropriate accommodation provided by their council. Yet too frequently they are treated in the same manner as adults and kept in police custody overnight - which can be a harrowing and frightening experience for a young person to endure."

"A recent parliamentary inquiry into children's relationship with the police, coordinated by NCB, highlighted the risk this poses to children and young people's mental and emotional well-being. It found that many children are being detained overnight, because of a lack of local authority accommodation and confusion about the system for requesting places."

"NCB believes that further action must be taken to ensure that local authorities and police forces meet their statutory duties in this area. In addition, the effectiveness of police forces and local authorities in transferring children and young people to accommodation should be monitored at a local level to ensure that the system is working."