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Hampshire Police failed to keep record of children kept in cells
7:32am Tuesday 15th October 2013 in News
HAMPSHIRE Police is under fire for failing to keep records for the number of children kept in its cells overnight.
Prison reformers want action after revealing that at least 40,000 under-17s were locked up for a night in a single year in the UK.
The controversy will be raised in parliament today when the Association of Police Officers is quizzed on the practice by MPs.
But the figures are incomplete, because nine forces – including Hampshire – told the Howard League for Penal Reform that they held no statistics.
Frances Crook, the organisation’s chief executive, said: “Holding children as young as ten in police cells overnight is unjustifiable. And if we don’t know how often the police are doing it and why, it is going to be difficult to put a stop to it.”
The Hampshire force said it could not collate the information “at a reasonable cost” – allowing it to reject freedom of information requests.
Helen Maunder, the acting head of its criminal justice department, said the force was committed to reducing the number of young people arrested for serious crimes being taken into custody where possible by working with the county’s six youth offending teams.
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