The IPCC have investigated Sussex Police in relation the restraint of an 11-year-old girl with a neurological disorder. It has been revealed today that she was restrained, handcuffed and placed in a mesh ant-spit hood with leg straps whilst being held in custody.

Child H, as she is known, was arrested three times and detained under the Mental Health Act between February 2nd and March 2nd by Sussex Police. She was held for a total of 60 hours without an appropriate adult.

Child H’s mother, issued a statement through her solicitors, which said: "My daughter's contact with the police in 2012 was nothing short of a nightmare for both of us. At the time her disability meant that she could behave in very challenging ways, but what she needed was patience, respect and the support of her mother. Instead she was locked up in a police station without me or anyone else who knew her for support…”

"I know that some of the officers were doing their best, but I cannot understand why others thought it was appropriate to put an 11-year-old girl in handcuffs and leg restraints. I can't accept that it will ever be appropriate for the police to hood a disabled child, regardless of how they behave. I call on Sussex Police to stop doing this to children immediately."

She described her daughters treatment as "degrading and barbaric".

IPCC Commissioner Jennifer Izekor said: "This was a complex investigation, which found Sussex Police officers failed to respond effectively to the needs of a vulnerable child…”

"While it is clear Child H had significant behavioural problems arising from her disability, Sussex Police and indeed other agencies which were - or should have been - involved, did not appear to have the skills and capacity to respond to her effectively.."

Lee Hollins, who heads up work SecuriCares work on managing restraint risks says “Quite apart for issues surrounding the deprivation of liberty and failure to provide access to an appropriate adult this case highlights the potential for harm, psychological, emotional and physical. I cannot begin to imagine what the experience of this child was like, with grown adults bearing down on her and applying all sorts of restrictive devices; cuffs, leg straps and an anti-spit hood… It must have been extremely traumatic..”

“Furthermore we mustn’t forget this is a child, a child whose anatomy and physiology is different to that of an adult. Anyone who is involved in restraining a child must always be mindful of the unique dangers that arise because of this disparity, and ensure safety protocols are followed. That having been said one has to wonder why this restraint took place in the first instance…. There are still many unanswered questions..”

SecuriCare offer a range of courses designed to enable support workers, carers and foster families to best respond to any ‘Challenging Behaviour’ that may occur. All programmes are finalised after full training needs analysis and delivered by experienced frontline practitioners. Click to see our ‘Preventing & Managing Challenging Behaviour’ Course which includes ‘Positive Behaviour Management’ techniques designed to minimise the need for any kind of restrictive intervention. You can also take a look at our person centred Behaviour Planning Service.

Securicare also offer a ‘Restraint Reduction’ support service and training in support of improving safety. Check out our ‘Physical Intervention’ courses and our online ‘Restraint Risks’ course, or ask for details about our newest course 'Physical Interventions: Removing Risk & Reducing Use' a course that provides practical guidance on how to manage risks within the context of an incident as well as prevent future restraint use. 

Contact us for more information and to discuss your needs: E: or T: 01904 492442

Click for the full story from The Telegraph