Sometimes, in an emergency, it is not the social worker who will remove a child but the police. Our care solicitors are used to dealing with cases involving the police using their powers of protection and understand the fears that parents have when the police are involved in this way. We can offer urgent advice, contact us today
What are police powers of protection?
The Children Act gives police officers the right to remove a child from accommodation, or to prevent a child being removed from a place, such as a hospital, if they have reasonable cause to believe the child would otherwise be likely to suffer significant harm. These powers only last for 72 hours. A child could be kept at a police station, but this will try to be avoided as it is not a good environment for children to be in for long, or taken to a relative’s home, foster placement etc.
Sometimes this is referred to as a police protection order but this is wrong as no court order is needed for a police officer to exercise this power and only a Judge sitting in a court can make a court order.
If a police officer decides that a child would be likely to suffer significant harm if they don’t use their powers they don’t get any rights over the child. It does not mean the police have parental responsibility but it does mean that the police officer has to do what is reasonable in the circumstances to safeguard or promote the child’s welfare during the time they are using their power of protection.
If you are told that the police have used their power of protection contact us for urgent advice. It is usually the case that children’s services will ask their lawyers to make an emergency application to court so getting a lawyer on board as soon as possible will help you. Contact our family team today