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Judge's rap for council's secure accommodation.

Byline: Paul Cole

A HIGH Court judge has highlighted a "striking" lack of secure accommodation for children in Birmingham.

Mr Justice Nicol said Birmingham City Council appeared to have no secure accommodation units for children and was dependent on arrangements with other local authorities.

The judge made his comments today in a ruling on a legal challenge launched by a teenager at a High Court hearing in London.

Earlier this year another judge warned of a "terrible national shortage" of places in secure units for dangerous youngsters. Judge Sarah Singleton said in July that there was a "gross shortage of resource" which created a "lack of protection for the public".

Mr Justice Nicol said: "Birmingham City Council apparently has no secure accommodation units for children of its own and is dependent on arrangements with others to accommodate children who need to be detained.

"The nearest such units were said to be in Bristol and Nottingham. This is striking evidence."

He added: "A court may well have to consider whether such arrangements are compatible with the council's statutory responsibilities."

Mr Justice Nicol, and another judge, had analysed a case in which a teenager from Birmingham complained about the length of time he had been detained in police cells following arrest, prior to being taken to a youth court.

Lawyers representing the youth, who is now 17 and has a string of convictions for offences including assault, said the case raised "questions of considerable importance". Mr Justice Nicol and Lord Justice Fulford blocked the teenager's attempt to launch a judicial review of decisions by West Midlands Police and Birmingham City Council.

But Lord Justice Fulford said issues raised were "important".


The High Court in London |

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 26, 2014
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