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Police powers of protection

What is police protection? If a child is believed to be at risk of significant harm, they can be removed from their home and placed under police protection for up to 72 hours in a safe location, under the Children Act 1989. This is an emergency and temporary measure, and no court order is required. It is important you seek legal advice as a matter of urgency if your child is placed in police protection.

Police powers of protection cannot be legally challenged. However, it is possible to challenge the care proceedings that follow. As such, if your child is has been removed by the police, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible, please call us on 01616 966 229 for a free, no obligation initial chat with one of our legal advisors.

If you hear the term ‘police protection order’ or PPO, it is not, as the name may suggest, an order issued by the court. Instead, the term is commonly used to describe the powers held by police officers to protect a child from harm if they believe there is an imminent danger. This includes, but is not limited to, the power to remove a child from the family home without a court order and to temporarily house them in a ‘place of safety’. This may be in accommodation provided by the local authority or with a relative or carer. It may be that a child needs to be kept in hospital. In some rare circumstances a child may be accommodated at a police station but this should be avoided.

A child can be kept in police protection for a maximum of 72 hours. The police do not acquire parental responsibility during this time.

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Formal care proceedings

The exercise of police powers of protection almost always precedes formal care proceedings being issued by the local authority. The police must inform the local authority as soon as reasonably practicable and it is likely that any accommodation will be provided or arranged by the local authority. At the expiration of the 72 hour period, the child must be returned home unless a court order is made. The local authority will usually issue an application for an emergency protection order or interim care order once they are alerted to any concerns by the police.

Stephensons’ family law team has a strong reputation for achieving positive outcomes for its clients. The department was voted the Family Law Firm of the Year in 2014 and is accredited in the Legal 500 and the Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession as ‘leaders in the field of child care’.

 

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4.6 score on Trustpilot Based on count 1253

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