Issuing of Police and Emergency Protection Orders (FOI)
Issuing of Police and Emergency Protection Orders (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 17 August 2020.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
In the past 10 years, in how many cases where there is only evidence against one parent of sexual harm involving a child, has the child been removed from both parents under Police Protection Powers, Article 17, or by way of Emergency Protection Order rather than the other parent being seen as a protective factor?
The requested information is not held.
Historically, police have not recorded the number of times Police Protection Orders (PPO) have been used. When these powers are used, the facts are recorded within the incident log and with the nominal details of the individuals concerned. Police cannot search for these incidents without the name of the individual. To search every incident with a child involved over the last 10 years, would take longer than the time allowed under the Freedom of Information regulations.
Individual figures for use of police protection powers have been recorded from January 2020.
The police powers under Article 41 of the Children (Jersey) Law 2002, allow police to take a child into their protection for up to 72 hours. This is if they have reasonable cause to believe the child would otherwise, be likely to suffer significant harm. These powers can be used reactively following police attendance to a separate incident in the home and discover a child that is suffering or following a child who has been reported missing found to be at risk of significant harm. These are dynamic situations that require immediate action.
If the allegation is of a sexual nature, all the circumstances need to be assessed before a decision could be made that only one parent is responsible and the other did not participate or ‘Turn a blind eye’ to the situation. This may take longer than the 72 hours police have, to clarify the full circumstances. The safety of the child is paramount and as the child would be deemed to be at risk of significant harm, immediate action, by way of a PPO, maybe deemed necessary.
If a PPO is invoked and a child is removed, then the Children’s service are advised accordingly and would act in the best interests of the child. If further court orders are required, Emergency protection, Interim care or secure accommodation orders, (EPO, ICO, SAO) Social Services on behalf of the Minister, will apply for them as soon as possible and certainly before the end of the 72 hrs granted in the PPO. The care of the child is then in the remit of Social services.
There have been 10 recorded Police protection order incidents this year, one related to alleged sexual offences. This case is ongoing, and no details can be given. All others related to individual children who went missing, some on more than one occasion.
Children’s Services response:
It is not possible to respond to the question.
The detailed information requested is not held in a structured way. It would be recorded in the free text of the placement planning documentation when a child becomes looked after.
In order to answer the question fully, we would need to read through each child’s file, and this would take longer than allowed under Freedom of Information regulations.
Allegations of sexual abuse are extremely complex in nature and not something that can be resolved quickly as they are often multi-faceted, and space is needed to clarify the full circumstances. The child’s safety is at the centre of all we do and each investigation is unique.
In relation to Emergency Protection Orders, the Law Officer’s Department can access data from 2015 onwards. Between 2015 and 2019, EPOs were made on 13 occasions, none of the applications were founded on allegations of sexual abuse.
Article 16 A scheduled public authority may refuse to supply information if cost excessive
(1) A scheduled public authority that has been requested to supply information may refuse to supply the information if it estimates that the cost of doing so would exceed an amount determined in the manner prescribed by Regulations.
Regulation 2 (1) of the Freedom of Information (Costs) (Jersey) Regulations 2014 allows an authority to refuse a request for information where the estimated cost of dealing with the request would exceed the specified amount of the cost limit of £500. This is the estimated cost of one person spending 12.5 working hours in determining whether the department holds the information, locating, retrieving and extracting the information.