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Young Offenders: Police Custody

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 29 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many children aged (a) 13, (b) 14, (c) 15, (d) 16, (e) 17 and (f) under 18 years have been held in police cells under Operation Safeguard. [201862]

I have been asked to reply.

Since October 2006 the Government have used significant numbers of police cells provided through Operation Safeguard to help manage pressure in the prison population. Juveniles are not held under Operation Safeguard itself although over this period our records indicate that 36 juveniles were held overnight on an ad hoc basis. It is not possible to break this figure down by age without incurring disproportionate cost. The Government's policy is that juveniles should be held overnight in police cells only in the most exceptional circumstances. It does not happen routinely.