“Kesia’s Law” - Greater protection to be given to 17-year-olds in custody

An amendment made to the Criminal Justice & Courts Bill has closed an historic legal anomaly, which meant that 17-year-olds were not given the same rights as other children in police custody. The amendment means that 17-year-olds in police custody will have the same rights as all other under-18s following a last-minute legislation change. As a result 17-year-olds will be transferred to local authority accommodation, rather than being detained at police stations overnight. Also a parent or guardian responsible for the welfare of the 17-year-old will now informed that they have been detained.

Campaigners said this anomaly was to blame for three deaths in the past three years 17-year-old including, Kesia Leatherbarrow, who was found dead in December 2013, shortly after being released from police custody, where she had been held for three days and two nights. - See more on this story at CYP Now.

Reach Out North East welcomes this news but still have grave concerns for the well being of vulnerable young people (18 years and above) held in custody. Navpreet Kang, Young People’s Lead said “Many  young people are terrified at the even the idea of spending time locked up in a police cell’ – see ‘In Custody’ report compiled by MHNE in 2013.