Date lodged: 23 June 2016
To ask the Scottish Government whether it is Police Scotland procedure to detain in custody children under the age of 16 overnight in cells and under what circumstances this would occur.
Answered by: Michael Matheson 13 July 2016
When very minor crimes are committed it is common for children not to be taken to a custody centre but rather taken home and, if deemed necessary, cautioned and charged in front of their parents/carers. If a child has been charged with an offence and the police decide not to release them, they must be kept in a place of safety. Only in extreme circumstances would they be kept in a police station after they have been charged. Such circumstances are prescribed in section 43 the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995.
Children will only be kept in police custody as a last resort.