Government action to protect vulnerable children will free up Bedfordshire Police officers

South West Bedfordshire MP, Andrew Selous has warmly welcomed the government‘s commitment to introduce minimum standards for unregulated accommodation for vulnerable children, and said today

‘There are 34 locations in Bedfordshire providing unregulated supported living for 16 and 17-year-olds, none of which Central Bedfordshire will place it’s own children in. Local authorities sending their children to Bedfordshire include Stockton-on-Tees, Sandwell, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottinghamshire, Devon, Enfield, Hillingdon, Haringey and Croydon. All these local authorities send their children to this unregulated provision without even informing local authorities in Bedfordshire and Bedfordshire Police. Three quarters of all missing person episodes in Bedfordshire in 2018, 779 in total came from these unregulated settings. On one occasion an unregulated home told the police that a child was missing when he was actually in his bed. Bedfordshire Police officers then had to spend half the night driving round trying to find the child who had not even gone missing. Often Bedfordshire Police spend days looking for children who they then find and return to these unregulated homes only for them to go missing again. This is a completely unacceptable abuse of precious police time and means that other vulnerable people in Bedfordshire who are victims of crime receive a slower response from Bedfordshire Police as a result.’

“I held a debate in Parliament on the 15th of October last year on this issue and called for action and I’m very pleased that the government has clearly signalled its intention to end the scandal and to do so urgently.”