Agenda item

City and Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership (CHSCP) Child Q Practice Review

Joint Report of the Director of Community and Children’s Services and the Commissioner of the City of London Police.


The Committee received a Joint Report of the Commissioner of the City of London Police and the Director of Community and Children’s Services concerning the City and Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership (CHSCP) Child Q Practice Review.


Several Members commented that the record of the treatment of Child Q in the Review was very alarming, and the performance of the Metropolitan Police Officers involved was lamentable, with particular concerns around the presumption throughout that Child Q was the perpetrator, a lack of an appropriate adult being present, the rationale for the strip search, namely, the suspicion that Child Q had been smoking/was in possession of cannabis, and, the finding that after the search was completed, she had been sent home on her own in a taxi. The learnings of this case needed to be swiftly absorbed and measures put in place to ensure that these types of occurrences were not repeated. It was vital that when the Police does have contact with children these interactions are dealt with properly.


The Chair added that it would be beneficial if all schools in which the City Corporation had a remit over had a dedicated Police Officer that could be called upon if a similar situation arose in the future.


In response to a query, officers confirmed that there had been nine recorded strip searches of individuals under the age of 18 by City of London Police Officers over the past 12 months. These were all males between 15 and 17 years old; the ethnicity breakdown was 3 black males, 2 Asians, and 2 white southern Europeans and 2 white northern Europeans. For additional scrutiny, officers were carrying out a deep dive of the strip search data over a longer three-year period, and the details would be submitted to the Committee for review in the autumn.


Offices stressed that whilst this longer-term work was being examined, immediate actions and measures were being put in place as a response to the Review findings, these included communications and briefings to all officers, better preparation of custody suites, and a renewed focus on the use of appropriate adults. Given the limited number of strip searches of under 18s in an average year, it was important that officers were given the all the tools and knowledge available to ensure that any occurrence abided with the guidelines and the experience of the individuals being searched was one based on respect and dignity. The Chair added that as best practice, it might be optimal to always carry out strip searches of under 18s in a custody suite to best ensure compliance with the guidelines.


In response to a query, officers provided the definition of an appropriate adult; they added that it was important to ensure that this support was clearly communicated to the child; Members noted that it was not always beneficial to designate a teacher as an appropriate adult. Officers added that on occasion there were grounds for not having an appropriate adult present, but that this should always be by rare exception with clear a rationale outlined.


RESOLVED – that the Committee noted the Report.

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