Lewisham to minimise time children spend ‘out of hours’ in police stations

Lewisham police station, 43 Lewisham High St, London SE13 5JZ. Pic: Imogen Adam.

Lewisham Council have confirmed that they are working closely with police to reduce the amount of time that children (0 – 18 years) are spending in police stations outside of business hours (9 am – 5 pm).

This comes as a response to concerns raised in Ofsted’s 2023 annual report, in which they listed the length of time children spend in police stations out of hours as the top area for improvement.

A Lewisham Council spokesperson said: “Lewisham Council’s Children and Young People’s Service is working closely with the police to minimise the time children spend in police stations out-of-hours. Lewisham Council is increasing staffing capacity in the out-of-hours emergency duty service to be able to respond more swiftly to safeguarding situations and is establishing alternative venues where children can be comfortable, supervised, and safe, while arrangements are promptly made for their safe return to family or other forms of care.”

The Ofsted report, published on January 31, investigated the work of Lewisham’s Safeguarding Children Partnership.

The Safeguarding Children Partnership is made up of Lewisham Council, South East London Integrated Care System and Metropolitan Police.

Jess Baird, Ofsted Media Officer told ELL: “This point [children spend time at police station outside of business hours] refers to situations when police officers may use their powers to take children who are at immediate risk of harm to the police station as a place of safety. The report highlights that some children are waiting too long in the police station while suitable accommodation is arranged for them.”

Inspectors from Ofsted, HMICFRS (His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services) and the Care Quality Commission carried out inspections in November 2022, to assess how well Lewisham Council and its partners work together to support families and keep young people safe.

The London borough of Lewisham is required to respond to Ofsted by 11 May 2023, with an action plan that acknowledges the report findings and outlines how areas for improvement will be improved. 

Leave a Reply