Hampshire Police information - neglect

Police will consider the following when acting on a concern in relation to the welfare of a child:

  • Where the child is on their arrival – does this correspond to time. If it is midnight would they expect to find a child alone outside?
  • What is the reaction of the child to them on arrival and throughout?
  • What is the interaction of the child with their caregiver
  • What is the condition of the child
  • Condition of home address
  • Who normally lives at the house, who is there on arrival?
  • Details of who had care of the child at any relevant times.
  • Is the care giver aware of any hazards and why these present a risk to child
  • Details of individuals who have significant contact with the child, particularly unsupervised contact (e.g. babysitter, parent’s partner)
  • What can be seen / heard /smell in the house
  • Capacity of the care giver – are they intoxicated / what would happen if they left the child
  • Who will have responsibility for the child when they leave – have adequate checks been completed to ensure that person is safe to have the child. Has CSD been consulted?
  • Is the environment safe for the child
  • Are the child’s needs being met – if not why not
  • Does the child have a medical condition
  • Is the home owned or rented – who is it rented through

Child centred policing

The police consider these three things:

  • Treat children as children
  • Every interaction is an opportunity
  • Voice of the child

Officers may be confronted with a situation where it is necessary to enter premises in order to ensure the protection of a child, for example, where a parent or carer refuses permission to see the child and there is concern for that child.

Police powers of entry

  • Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) section 17(1)(b), a constable may enter and search any premises for the purpose of arresting a person for an indictable offence
  • PACE section 17(1)(e), a constable may also enter and search premises for the purpose of saving life or limb or preventing serious damage to property – in the exercise of police protection powers if entry to premises is refused, this section may give adequate powers
  • Common law, where a constable has the power to enter premises to prevent or deal with a breach of the peace (which is preserved under PACE section 17(6))
  • Children Act 1989 section 48, a warrant may be obtained to search for children who may be in need of emergency protection

Police protection - Section 47

  • Police protection is an emergency power which enables any police officer to protect a child who is reasonably believed to be at risk of significant harm
  • The Children Act 1989 section 46 empowers an officer to remove a child to suitable accommodation or prevent the removal of a child from a hospital or other place in which that child is being accommodated
  • Police protection does not give the police parental responsibility and does not, for example, give the police the ability to consent on behalf of the child to a forensic medical examination
  • No child may be kept in police protection for more than 72 hours

Police responsibilities when taking a child into police protection

Police will:

  • Introduce themselves and tell the child their role and what they propose to do. Remember this is an alarming time for the child even if the level of abuse is significant.
  • Communicate with the child and keep them informed, taking into account the child’s wishes as part of the decision-making process and, whenever possible, acting on these wishes
  • Complete a CYP7 – this informs the designated officer (R&P Inspector) what has occurred, where the child is
  • Complete PPN1 – this will inform CSD of their actions through MASH
  • Inform the person who has parental responsibility for the child and any other person the child was living with immediately prior to being taken into police protection, of the steps taken with respect to the child, the reasons for taking them.

Releasing the child from police protection

A child should only be discharged from police protection where one of the following applies:

  • The designated officer no longer considers them to be at risk
  • An emergency protection order or interim care order has been made
  • The local authority has provided them with accommodation under the Children Act 1989 section 20 and the child is no longer considered to be at risk of significant harm
  • A decision to release a child from police protection should only be made following discussion with the relevant personnel in children’s social care. This decision should be recorded

Please remember if a child is placed with an alternate person this does not automatically mean ‘police protection’ can be removed. This is because there is nothing in place to stop the person police have left them with from returning the child to their abuser or the abuser simply collecting the child.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary
NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight
Southampton City Council