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This term is commonly used to refer to the transfer of children from police custody to local authority accommodation under s.38(6) Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (‘PACE’), and the related requirement in s.21 Children Act 1989 with respect to the care of children who have been charged with an offence and have been denied bail.

Section 38(6) PACE requires that when a child or young person is detained after charge, the custody officer must seek to transfer them to local authority accommodation pending appearance at court, unless either:

  • It is impracticable to transfer them, or
  • In the case of a juvenile aged 13 or over, that no secure accommodate is available and other local authority accommodation which is available would not be adequate to protect the public from serious harm from that juvenile.

When a local authority receives a request from the police to accommodate a children or young person, they have an absolute duty,  under s.21(2)(b)  the Children Act 1989, to do so.

From October 2015, the Criminal Justice and Court Act 2015 will amend the Police and Criminal Evidence Act so as to extend the requirement to 17 year olds detained in police custody after charge.

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