Children are kept safe through attention to physical and procedural matters, including effective security intelligence and positive relationships between staff and children.

7. Children live in a safe environment where security is proportionate. Effective intelligence is used to safeguard children.

The following indicators describe evidence that may show this expectation being met, but do not exclude other ways of achieving it.

  • Security is proportionate to risk and the impact of security measures on children’s well-being and development is considered. The security measures applied are the least restrictive necessary.
  • Establishments provide conditions that resemble life in the community as closely as possible.
  • The elements of ‘dynamic security’ are in place to maintain security and good order. These include: relationships between staff and children which are positive and professional; constructive activity to stimulate and educate children; established and effective procedures for resolving complaints, grievances and conflicts.
  • There are no weaknesses or anomalies in the physical and procedural security of the establishment.
  • Children’s access to education, activities and health services are
    not impeded by an unnecessarily restrictive approach to security.
  • There are effective arrangements for sharing intelligence with all who need to know, including external agencies. Intelligence is acted on appropriately.
  • Effective intelligence and age-appropriate security measures are in place to safeguard children from gang-related crime and guard against the trafficking/manufacturing of illicit items, including drugs, alcohol and mobile phones.
  • A supply and reduction strategy is in place and where problems have been identified prompt remedial action is taken, documented and evaluated.
  • Children found to be using illicit substances receive support from substance use services.
  • Staff know about whistle-blowing procedures and feel confident to use them.
  • Where inappropriate or abusive practice is found staff are held to

Cross reference with: substance misuse; bullying and violence reduction; daily life – residential services, application and redress; education, skills and work activities; relationships between staff and children; children, families and contact with the outside world; health services; time out of cell.

8. Children are subject to searching measures that are appropriately assessed and proportionate to risk.

The following indicators describe evidence that may show this expectation being met, but do not exclude other ways of achieving it.

  • Children are not routinely strip-searched and never using force.
  • Strip-searching is carried out sensitively and is only used in response to well documented security concerns. It is undertaken in private and only in the presence of more than one member of staff, of the child’s own gender.
  • Reasons for strip searches are fully documented and are authorised and monitored by senior managers.
  • Children understand why they are being strip-searched and the process for doing so. They are offered assistance from an independent advocate to record any questions or concerns they have about why they were strip-searched, or how it was carried out.
  • Children are informed that their cells or personal property are being searched and cells/property are left in the condition in which they were found.
  • Searches are intelligence-led. They are conducted sensitively and the process is clearly explained.
  • Searches of staff, visitors, children and their property are conducted in a religiously and culturally sensitive manner.

Cross reference with: early days in custody; safeguarding of children; equality and diversity; children, families and contact with the outside world.

Human rights standards

In relation to expectations 7 and 8: Children who are detained should be held with no more security restrictions than necessary to ensure safe custody and in conditions which resemble life in the community as closely as possible. The approach to safety should build on positive relationships between staff and children. See ERJO 53.2, 53.3, 88; SMR 36; EPR 18.10, 24.2, 51–52. In addition, human rights standards require clearly defined procedures and justifications for conducting searches, and that they are conducted in a manner which respects human dignity and privacy, as well as the principles of proportionality, legality and necessity. See CRC 16; ECHR 8; ERJO 89.1, 89.3, 89.4; EPR 54.1–54.5, 54.8–54.10; SMR 50; BOP 1.