Briefing in support of amendment relating to use of physical restraint in secure colleges
Report Stage, House of Lords
17 October 2014
In our briefing in support of amendments relating to secure colleges dated 14 July 2014 the Commission recommended that Schedule 6 of the Bill should be amended to limit the use of physical force in secure colleges to: (1) prevent injury to the child or others, but also (2) to prevent escape and (3) to prevent the commission of an unlawful act. In addition that Schedule 6 should be amended to require force to be used only as a last resort.
The current wording of Schedule 6 permits secure college custody officers to use reasonable force to ‘maintain good order and discipline’ if authorised to do so by secure college rules. In its briefing the Commission expressed the view that the authorisation of use of force against children for this broad purpose is incompatible with Articles 3 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The effect of amendment 121 would be to allow secure college rules to authorise the use of reasonable force on children solely for the purpose of preventing harm to the child or others and only as a last resort and with the minimum force necessary. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the UN Committee on Torture have recommended that restraint against children should be a last resort and exclusively to prevent harm to the child or others.
The Commission’s view is that there are other, limited circumstances in which reasonable force may be used as a last resort against children and young people. Those circumstances are (1) to prevent escape from lawful custody and (2) to prevent the commission or attempted commission of other unlawful acts. With this qualification, the Commission supports the amendment to be moved on Report.
Last updated: 05 May 2016