YJB to probe safety standards at secure training centres

By Neil Puffett

| 13 January 2016

The Youth Justice Board (YJB) has said it will investigate safety standards in three secure training centres in the wake of allegations of abuse at one of the units.

The YJB has said it will increase monitoring of England's three secure training centres. Picture: Guzelian

The government quango said that it will commission an independent review of young people's perceptions of safety at Medway Secure Training Centre (STC) – which was the subject of an undercover investigation by the BBC’s Panorama programme.

Today, Kent Police said three men have been arrested on suspicion of child neglect in relation to allegations made in the programme.

Meanwhile a review of safeguarding arrangements at Oakhill and Rainsbrook STCs, which are also currently run by private firm G4S, will be carried out by the YJB.

“Work on this is likely to begin next week and will give the YJB a clear view of young people’s perceptions of safety as well the systems in place at all three STCs,” a statement from the YJB said.

The YJB has also said further enhancements to the system of monitoring at Medway STC will be made.

“We have already increased the time the YJB’s monitor is spending with young people at the centre and there will also be an increased number of YJB staff on the ground each day this week,” the statement said.

“The enhanced monitoring will focus on increased sampling of CCTV records (beyond the restraint incidents which are already reviewed) and testing levels of supervision and assurance around standards of staff behaviour.”

The YJB also said it will seek funding to extend CCTV coverage across all three STC sites, and asked G4S to extend a pilot programme for body-worn cameras, which are already in use at Rainsbrook STC to Medway and Oakhill STCs.

YJB chief executive Lin Hinnigan said: “We are taking action to ensure the children at Medway, as well as those at Rainsbrook and Oakhill STCs, are safe and supported. We will take further action if required.”

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