More than 100 children a week are being held overnight in police cells due to a lack of suitable council accommodation, new figures have revealed.
The figures from the Metropolitan police show that over a period of six months, more than 3,000 under-18s were held in cells overnight in London alone.
The law states that local authorities should provide children with temporary accommodation if there is no appropriate adult to collect them from custody. However, a shortage of temporary placements means that many are being left in police cells overnight or at weekends.
The figures were obtained by Labour London assembly member, Andrew Dismore. He said: ‘The police tell me that a combination of budget cuts and housing shortages are having a devastating impact on councils’ ability to place young people and prevent them spending the night in a police cell.
‘It cannot be right that young people, many arrested on relatively minor offences, end up forced to spend the night in a cell just because the Government won’t give councils the resources they need to provide safe alternative accommodation.’