Accommodation for Children in Police Custody

“I am writing to kindly request information regarding the arrangements in your local authority for fulfilling obligations under section 21(2)(b) of the Children Act 1989 to receive, and provide accommodation for, children in police custody following their arrest when requested to do so by the police under section 38(6) PACE 1984.

Could you please provide us with the following information:

1.What accommodation is available, for fulfilling its obligations under Section 21(2)(b) of the Children Act 1989 (‘s 38 beds’), how much of this accommodation is secure and non-secure;

The Council is in the process of reviewing its PACE provision to include two specialist non-secure foster care beds and, assuming vacancies, also occasionally access PACE provision through its secure children’s home.

2. the number of times in the year to 01 October 2018 you have been contacted and asked to receive and provide accommodation (secure and non-secure) for, children under section 38(6) PACE 1984;

There is work underway to agree a more comprehensive monitoring process for requests between the local authority and the police. Currently the monitoring looks into instances where it has not been possible to access a bed, rather than instances when the bed has been available. At present, therefore, we do not hold this information, but are amending the process to enable us to do so in the future.

3. the number of times in the in the year to 01 October you have provided such accommodation (secure and non-secure) following a police request under s38(6) PACE 1984; and

As described above, The Council does not currently keep records of the numbers of times it has provided accommodation, but only the times when such requests have not been met.  From available records, the Council can confirm it appears that it has been unable to fulfil requests for S38(6) PACE 1984 (post-charge) transfer requests on six occasions from 1st January 2018 to 1st October 2018.  Two requests were for secure accommodation, and four were for suitable accommodation.

4. whether you currently have a policy for fulfilling the statutory obligations under section 21(2)(b) Children Act 1989 and, if so, what that policy is. If a policy document exists we would be grateful if you could please provide us with a copy, as well as a copy of all previous policy.”

The Council works to Annex 5 of the Independent Reviewing Officer handbook with respect to specific support for children looked after under this section of the Children Act.  Should the young person be remanded to the care of the local authority following their use of a PACE bed and subsequent court hearing, the local authority has overarching policies and procedures for children remanded to the care of the local authority found here.  We do not hold previous versions.