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How West Mercia Police will treat young persons in custody

Police custody is not 'a place of safety' and is only appropriate in the most serious of cases for children and young people.

It is recognised that only in the most exceptional cases, would it be appropriate to detain a young person over night. As far as children who are in care are concerned, West Mercia Police believe that custody has a significant detrimental impact on their longer term well being.

  • Wherever possible, the police will aim to ensure that where booking in facilities do not provide adequate privacy, processes will be put in place to establish a safe, sterile and private provision, with all due regard to the well being of the young person
  • The period of detention must be as short as possible and must focus on supporting their needs and welfare
  • Reviews of detention should pay special attention to ensuring all reasonable steps are taken to keep children out of police cells overnight pre charge
  • Where facilities allow, separate/distinct cells away from male adult cells will be used wherever practicable
  • Every effort will be made to seek alternative out of court disposals
  • The purpose for any use of force must be considered in relation to the impact its use may have on a child or young person