A children’s charity has taken legal action against a London council for reportedly neglecting young people under arrest.
Just for Kids Law offers ‘support, advice and legal representation for young people in difficulty’. It claims the London Borough of Islington has repeatedly failed to provide alternative accommodation for children who have been arrested and held in police stations.
The Children Act 1989 says councils have an “absolute duty” to provide alternative accommodation for vulnerable children with no home to go to if the Police ask them to do so.
But the London Borough of Islington has a “long-standing poor track record on the issue”, the charity claims. It cites a freedom of information request revealing that the council received 94 requests from the Police for alternative accommodation last year – but did not provide alternative for a single one of the vulnerable youngsters in question. On occasions children have been kept in police cells overnight on multiple occasions and children as young as eight years old have been affected.
Just for Kids Law director Shauneen Lambe said:
“A police cell designed for an adult is no place for a child. Everyone, from the new Prime Minister to the police lead for children, agrees that children and young people are particularly vulnerable and need to be kept safe after arrest – yet laws designed to protect them are being ignored up and down the country, every day of the year.”