Home UK News Police intimately strip-search boys and girls as young 8

Police intimately strip-search boys and girls as young 8

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Metropolitan Police

Investigations into the state of strip-searches in the United Kingdom have revealed that children as young as 8 are being intimately strip-search by the police in the back of police vans, schools, and fast-food outlets. 2847 children were treated in this manner in England and Wales alone between 2018 and mid-2022.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council have said they will urgently “consider” the investigation’s findings.

Almost 60% of these strip search did not have an appropriate adult presents as is the legal requirement, except when there is a demonstrable serious risk to the child’s life or welfare. 51% of these searches did not produce any criminal outcome.

The national investigation was launched due to the Child Q scandal, where a 15 year old girl was strip-searched while on her period without an adult present, and with little justification.

Dame Rachel, the Children’s Commisioner, requested figures from Scotland Yard in response to the national outrage of the scandal. She found them to be ‘so concerning’ that she took her investigation nationwide.

She’s now deemed policing bodies to be engaging in ‘deeply concerning’ practices.

Her office identified searches at almost forces which breached children’s safeguarding measures or indicated a breach of the statutory code of practice, and has made referrals to the office of the police watchdog.

Of the nearly 3000 concerning searches the youngest was 8 years old.

police strip search children
Children’s Commissioner Dame Rachel //PAMEDIA

Guidelines need to be strengthened urgently to ensure they are followed properly and “to robustly challenge a culture that has allowed widespread failures to go unchallenged”, she said.

She continued: “This data, combined with that which I received from the Metropolitan Police last year, is the clearest indication yet that what happened to Child Q was far from an isolated incident.”

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, she warned that strip-searches can be traumatic for children, and the first thing officers should do is “call mum and dad”.

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