Bishop of Derby asks about treatment of children in the criminal justice system

The Bishop of Derby asked a question on the treatment of children in the criminal justice system on 27th March 2023, following a Children’s Commissioners report on the strip searching of children, many from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, by police:

The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I declare an interest as vice-chair of the Children’s Society. I join other noble Lords in expressing horror at the findings of the Children’s Commissioner’s report. It is vital that children are treated as children at all times. Can the Minister reassure the House that children are treated and recognised as children within every aspect of the criminal justice system?

Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con): In areas where the Home Office collects data—for example, on custody—I can reassure the House that that is the case. For example, in 99% of cases where searches involved children in custody, an appropriate adult was present. Obviously, this report has identified failings in other parts of the system. We are awaiting the right inputs in order to make a detailed and thoughtful review, and as soon as that is the case I am sure I will be able to give the right reverend Prelate more broad reassurance.


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