Use of physical restraint needs monitoring

The physical restraint of young people in custody should only be
used as a last resort, according to a draft code of practice drawn
up by the Youth Justice Board, writes Clare

The draft consultation document also stresses that restrictive
physical interventions should use the minimum force and be for the
shortest possible period of time.

“It is a priority of the Board to work with organisations
that provide custody for children to make sure that their behaviour
is dealt with in a constructive and positive way wherever possible,
with physical intervention kept to a minimum,” said Ellie
Roy, chief executive of the YJB.

“It is essential that staff working with young people in
custodial settings have the tools available to deal constructively
with challenging behaviour,” she added. “It is in the
interests of the staff and children alike that effective strategies
are developed in all secure establishments.”

The document also suggests that individual incidents of
restraint are monitored in such a way that they can be aggregated
over time to give a total picture of the use of restrictive
physical interventions in establishments.

Every effort should also be made to ensure that other members of
staff are present before physical restraint occurs to act as
assistants, it advises.

There should also be an effective complaints procedure in each
establishment and children should be able to be supported in using
the procedure by an independent advocacy service.

A second in dependent inquiry into physical restraint is being
headed by Lord Carlile. It was launched after 15-year-old Gareth
Myatt died in Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre in Northampton
after being restrained by three members of staff.

There are around 2,800 young people in custody and they are
placed in YOIs, STCs or secure children’s homes.

The code of practice was drawn up in consultation with the
Commission for Social Care Inspection, Association of Directors of
Social Services, Department for Education and Skills, the
prisons’ inspectorate and other experts in the field.

The consultation is open until 31 August 2005 and is available


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