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Hundreds of children detained by D&G police

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By Charlotte MacKay
Annan and Eskdale
Hundreds of children detained by D&G police

YOUNG people under 18 were taken into police custody in Dumfries and Galloway almost 300 times in less than 18 months.

Between January 1 2018 and August 31 2019, children under 18 were taken into custody at a regional police station on 288 separate occasions.

This includes 198 held at Dumfries, 85 at Stranraer and two at Annan.

Two young people were held in custody at Castle Douglas and one at Lockerbie.

The data, published online by Police Scotland this week, was released in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request made in October this year asking for details of the number of children under 18 held in police custody in Scotland, broken down by individual police station.

Figures released as part of the same request show that the youngest child held in custody in Scotland in the last two years was just nine years old.

In response to the request, a report from Police Scotland reads: “To provide some context around children in custody, it is not normal practice to lodge a child under the age of 16 within a police cell when they are brought into police custody.

“Normal practice would be for police officers and the child’s parent/guardian to wait with the child in a waiting area/interview room until it was appropriate to release the child from police custody.

“Only if the child’s behaviour was such that it was causing a risk to persons would they be lodged in a police cell; if this was the case the child would be on constant observations whereby they would be monitored by police constantly.”

The report explains that a number of factors, including the seriousness of the offence, the risk to public safety and the best interest of the child are taken into account when deciding whether to arrest or detain a person under 18.

It also states that the published figures may include individuals who came into custody on more than one occasion.

Police Scotland has published a series of responses to FOI requests online this week.

A separate document reveals that armed police officers were called to a total of 46 incidents in Dumfries and Galloway between April 2013 and September this year.

And another shows that a Police Scotland helicopter was deployed to the region 121 times between January 2015 and September 2019.

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