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1.4.2 Police Protection

Contents

  1. Legal Considerations
  2. Action by Constables
  3. Incidents instigated by Children’s Social Care


1. Legal Considerations

  1. Grounds

    Reasonable cause to believe that the child would be likely to suffer Significant Harm if not taken into Police protection.

    Significant Harm is defined in Section 31(9), and (10), as is the same as for care proceedings.
  2. Duration

    Maximum of 72 hours. It cannot be extended.
  3. Powers
    1. To move the child to suitable accommodation or take reasonable steps to prevent removal from hospital or other safe place.
    2. To do what is reasonable in all the circumstances to safeguard or promote the child’s welfare having regard to the duration of the Police protection.

      Note: The Police do not acquire Parental Responsibility for a child in Police protection.
  4. For the purpose of the Act, a child with respect to whom a constable has exercised his power under this section is referred to as having been taken into Police Protection. There is no such thing as a Police Protection Order.
  5. Section 46 of the Children Act 1989 is directed at a constable who has sole responsibility for taking a child into Police Protection. The officer must make a judgement of the situation at the scene and be satisfied that the criteria in Key Point 1 are met before taking action.
  6. A constable cannot delegate these responsibilities to a Social Worker, medical staff in a hospital, or staff in a place where the child is accommodated. Nor can he/she authorise a Social Worker to remove a child without a Constable making a judgement of the situation at the scene.
  7. It is not necessary for a constable to have the authority of a supervisor before taking a child into Police Protection. An officer at the scene must make a decision based on all the available information and his/her judgement. However, this should not deter an officer from seeking advice from a supervisor before taking action.


2. Action by Constables

The Act requires the constable taking the child into Police Protection to take specific action. This action is mandatory.

An officer taking a child into Police Protection will:

  • Remove the child to suitable accommodation (provided by on behalf of the Local Authority or a refuge). A Police Station is not suitable accommodation although it may be necessary to take the child there whilst making the necessary arrangements;
  • As soon as is reasonable practicable, inform the local authority in whose area the child was found of the steps that have been and are proposed to be taken with respect to the child and the reasons why;
  • Give details to the local authority within whose area the child is ordinarily resident;
  • Inform the child (if capable of understanding) of the steps that have been taken in respect of him/her, and of the future steps to discover the wishes and feelings of the child;
  • Take reasonable steps to discover the wishes and feelings of the child;
  • Ensure that the case is enquired into by a designated officer (in Humberside Police a uniform Inspector or above is a designated officer).

The Constable will also, as soon as is reasonably practicable, take such steps as are reasonably practicable to inform:

  1. The child’s parents (this may include a parent not living with the child);
  2. Every person who is not a parent of him/her but has Parental Responsibility; and
  3. Any other person with whom the child was living immediately before being taken into Police Protection;

of the steps taken, the reasons for taking them and the further steps that may be taken under the Children Act.

The officer taking the child into Police Protection will complete Humberside Police Form 296 (Police Protection Register). The officer will also ensure that a Form 125 and if applicable a Domestic Abuse Form are completed.

Decisions regarding contact, with the child, will be made by Children's Social Care once the child has been accommodated.


3. Incidents instigated by Children’s Social Care

Where a Social Worker becomes aware of a child whom he/she suspects is suffering significant harm or may be likely to suffer Significant Harm and urgency precludes an application for an Emergency Protection Order at that time, the Social Worker should request that a Police Officer attends. Upon attending the officer will liaise with the Social Worker and make a judgement as to whether the child should be taken into Police Protection.

  1. Once a child has been taken into Police Protection, Children’s Social Care will be contacted so that suitable accommodation for the child will be found.
  2. A request for a suitable placement will be made to the Fostering Team or the Resources manager or a placement with a relative or friend will be identified - see Emergency Placements in Foster Care Procedure or Placements with Family, Friends and other Connected Persons Procedure.
  3. The Designated Officer (Humberside Police) will liaise with the Designated Manager (Children's Social Care) to decide on a future course of action.

End