Conclusion - Rethinking the Use of Police Custody for Children

Bevan, Miranda. 2024. Conclusion - Rethinking the Use of Police Custody for Children. In: Miranda Bevan, ed. Children in Police Custody: Adversity and Adversariality Behind Closed Doors. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 308-345. ISBN 9780192855497 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

This is the concluding chapter from a book which shines a light on the hidden experiences of children in police detention in England and Wales. An episode in police custody is the single most common sustained experience of the criminal justice system for children in England and Wales. Yet, child suspects have previously been largely overlooked in criminological research. Drawing on the first comprehensive study in England and Wales to review the police custody process from the perspective of children, the chapters trace the child's journey from arrest, through detention and interview, to release or remand. Adopting a rights-based approach, this work investigates whether the present legal framework provides effective protection for child suspects. Utilizing the detailed insights provided by young participants in the research, and supplemented by the author's fieldwork, this analysis reveals the complex challenges facing children's legal agency in the adversarial setting of the custody block. In so doing, it evaluates the capacity of the available protections to enable children's participation in that setting. A parallel criminological exploration examines the intersecting adversities experienced by child suspects, and the complex power dynamics they navigate in police custody, to arrive at an understanding of the particular harms and impacts of police detention on for children and their longer-term impact. The book closes with a call for a retrenchment in the use of police custody for children, and a reappraisal of how those who must be detained should be supported to enable their effective participation in the criminal justice process, both in custody and beyond.

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Book Section

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police custody, child suspects, youth justice, effective participation, vulnerability, policing, detention, child rights, PACE protections, appropriate adults

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22 June 2023Accepted
4 January 2024Published

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Date Deposited:

13 Feb 2024 11:01

Last Modified:

13 Feb 2024 15:36


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