Secure accommodation should be a safe, secure environment offering a short term placement to young people facing difficulties in their life and with their presenting behaviours. It must be recognised however that there are circumstances and situations where young people may have items or use everyday items in such a manner that they may be of danger to the young person or others and therefore room searching will take place.The basic principles that underpin the practice of room searching must be the same as that of other practices in that respect for the young person must be shown.
This policy should be used in accordance with related procedures and related policies.
Carrying out searches
The frequency of room searching will be determined by the individual circumstances of each young person and will be underpinned by relevant information and risk assessments.
The following must be taken into consideration when carrying out room searches:
The young person must be given every opportunity to discuss the situation and to hand over any items before a search is conducted if there is a "one-off" concern.
This may not be appropriate if regular room searches are deemed necessary.
If and when it has been decided to conduct a search, staff must evaluate the risk in searching the room with the young person present, as this may provoke the young person to be angry and aggressive; but where possible searches should be carried out in the presence of the young person.
- Any search must be undertaken by two staff where possible
- The room search must be carried out in a sensitive manner, as a young person's bedroom has great significance and personal items must be handled carefully
- All items that are found must be locked in the office, recorded as found in the young person's file, in the daily log book and in the room search record. It is accepted that some items if related to a criminal act must be passed to the Police. The young person's social work department should be informed of any items found and action taken.
- After a room search, the young person should have an opportunity to talk through their feelings and to discuss any issues resulting from the search, including if and when items that have not been forwarded to the Police or Social Worker will be returned to the young person.
- Child protection
- Youth Offending
- Children with Disabilities