Police Protection Under the Children Act 1989
Dated: 21 Jul 2008
NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED
POLICY TITLE: Police Protection Under the Children Act 1989
OWNING DIRECTORATE: Major Crime and Intelligence
AUTHOR: Detective Chief Inspector, Public Protection, Crime Department
CONTACT DETAILS: 03456 043 043 Ext. 68203
AIM OF POLICY: Police have the power to safeguard children in an emergency by making them the subject of police protection. When Police Officer use the legislation, they must understand their specific duties and responsibilities under the Children Act 1989.
BENEFIT OF POLICY: It can be used where a Police Officer finds a child in immediate danger of ‘significant’ (serious) harm.
REASON FOR POLICY: To raise awareness of issues surrounding the protection of children
DESCRIPTION OF POLICY:
Police Protection Powers.
Section 46(1) of the Children Act 1989 empowers a Police Officer who has reasonable cause to believe that a child would otherwise be likely to suffer significant harm to:
a) remove the child to suitable accommodation and keep him/her there; or
b) take such steps as are reasonable to ensure that the child's removal from any hospital, or other place, in which he/she is being accommodated is
The child is considered to be in police protection when these powers have been exercised by the police. Police Protection lasts for a maximum of 72 hours.
The Investigating Officer and Designated Officer.
There are two separate and distinct roles for the police in relation to police protection: the “investigating officer” and the “designated officer”.
The investigating officer is the officer who initially takes the child into police protection and undertakes the initial enquiries.
Section 46(3)(e) of the Children Act 1989 requires the Chief Constable to designate officers who will be responsible for enquiring into cases in which the police take children into protection. Throughout the period of police protection, there will be a named designated officer, and any changes to the designated officer will be recorded. The designated officer will be at least the rank of Inspector in all cases. This includes acting Inspectors, for the duration of their authorisation to perform that role.
The responsibility of a designated officer continues until such time as the child is released from police protection. Responsibility as a designated officer for a particular child may be passed from one officer to another during the exercise of police protection powers, for example at the time of a shift change or as part of on call arrangements. Where such responsibility is passed between designated officers it is incumbent on both officers that the relevant information regarding the circumstances of the care is passed between them. A record will be kept of all such changeovers and form part of the child protection record.
SOURCE DOCUMENT: Section 46 of the Childrens Act 1989
GROUPS AFFECTED: All Police Officers and Police Staff
ACCESS AND DISCLOSURE RESTRICTIONS: This document should not be printed and left in unsafe environments.
This instruction is designed to avoid discrimination and in accordance with the Human Rights Act 1998 and its underlying principles.