Use of force on young people in custody

The main facts and figures show that:

  • overall, in 2016/17, there was an average of 418 incidents per month where force was used by staff on young people in young offender institutions and secure training centres in England and Wales
  • the rate of use of force incidents was lower for White young people in custody than for young people from all other ethnic groups combined
  • the greatest differences between White young people in custody and those from all other ethnic groups combined in the rate force was used were found in Feltham Young Offender Institution and Cookham Wood Young Offender Institution
Things you need to know

Simple conclusions or direct comparisons between ethnicities or institutions should be avoided, because the circumstances are different for each use of force.

The use of force figures reflect the average number of incidents in each month, based on incidents over the year. Incidents are recorded on the Minimising and Managing Physical Restraint (MMPR) system, which counts any physical intervention as a ‘use of force’.

Feltham Young Offender Institute started using the MMPR system in October 2016. Monthly averages for this institution are calculated based on the number of months it used the system, instead of the full 12 months.

The data counts every incident where force was used by institution staff. Some individual young people may be involved in repeated incidents where force was used, so they will be included in the data multiple times. This means that the rate per 100 young people in custody per month should be considered with some caution.

What the data measures

This data measures the rate of incidents in which staff at young offender institutions use force with young people.

Use of force can range from minor incidents to staff physically intervening to stop an assault or fight between young people. It also includes planned interventions to prevent serious harm to one or more young people, and a last-resort means of resolving ‘passive non-compliance’, where it is in the interests of the young person or other young people.

Use of force is recorded under the Minimising and Managing Physical Restraint (MMPR) system, which is used in some young offender institutions (YOIs) and secure training centres (STCs).

The rate shown is the average number of incidents per 100 young people per month, broken down by ethnicity (White or Other ethnic group) and shown for each YOI and STC using the MMPR system.

'Young people’ are aged between 10 and 17 years. The data may also include some 18 year olds.

The ethnic categories used in this data

The number of young people involved in incidents of use of force was too small to draw any firm conclusions based on specific ethnic categories. Therefore, the data is broken down into the following 2 broad categories:

  • White – White ethnic groups (including White British and White ethnic minorities)
  • Other – all other ethnic minorities

Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected

Use of force on young people in custody by ethnicity of offender

Average rate of use of force incidents per 100 young people in custody per month, and average number of incidents per month, by ethnicity

White Other
Establishment Average number of incidents per 100 young people Average number of incidents Average number of incidents per 100 young people Average number of incidents
Cookham Wood YOI 30.8 22 47.1 52
Feltham YOI 25.7 16 43.5 47
Medway STC 60.0 8 88.1 15
Oakhill STC 101.0 43 135.1 54
Rainsbrook STC 78.5 36 94.6 21
Werrington YOI 17.7 12 24.7 16
Wetherby YOI 22.3 45 30.9 31

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • overall, in 2016/17, there was an average of 418 incidents per month where force was used by staff on young people in young offender institutions and secure training centres in England and Wales, at a rate of 43.1 per 100 young people in custody
  • the rate of use of force incidents was lower for White young people in custody than for young people from all other ethnic groups combined in all young offender institutions and secure training centres
  • Oakhill Secure Training Centre had the highest rate of use of force incidents per month for both White young people and people from all other ethnic groups, at 101 incidents per 100 White young people and 135.1 incidents per 100 young people from other ethnic groups
  • in Feltham Young Offender Institution and Cookham Wood Young Offender Institution, the average rate of use of force incidents per month was more than 1.5 times higher for young people from Other ethnic groups compared with White young people, the highest of all young offender institutions and secure training centres

Methodology

Methodology

Young people report their own ethnicity. Staff working in secure training centres and young offender institutions then record this information on an administrative system.

Use of force incidents are measured as the rate per 100 young people in custody. The numbers of young people in custody are counted at the beginning of each month, updated to include new admissions during the month, and then averaged across a 12-month period.

The data does not include young people in custody for whom ethnicity wasn’t known.

Rounding

Rates per 100 young people have been rounded to 1 decimal place.

Quality and methodology information

Further technical information

Data received from the establishments through monthly returns is validated through a reconciliation process on an annual basis. Figures published before the release of the 2016/17 Youth justice statistics may have been revised since their original publication.

Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Ministry of Justice

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

The data is used by the government to develop, monitor and evaluate criminal justice policy for young people in custody. It reports on activity in the criminal justice system for England and Wales, giving information for the latest year and also longer-term trends.

Download the data

Use of force on young offenders in custody - Spreadsheet (csv) 3 KB

This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, geography, value, numerator