Use of force on young people in custody

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • in 2017/18, there was an average of 549 incidents per month where staff used force on young people in custody 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
Things you need to know

The circumstances are different for each use of force. You should avoid simple conclusions or direct comparisons between ethnicities or institutions.

The use of force figures show the average number of incidents in each month based on a 12-month period. Incidents are recorded on the ‘Minimising and Managing Physical Restraint’ (MMPR) system. Any physical intervention is counted as a use of force.

Parc Young Offender Institute started using the MMPR system in July 2017. 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 institution staff used force. Some young people may be involved in repeated incidents, in which case they will be included in the data more than once. This means that the rates of use of force should be considered with some caution.

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

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 includes:

  • staff physically intervening to stop an assault or fight between young people
  • planned interventions to prevent serious harm to one or more young people
  • a last-resort means of resolving ‘passive non-compliance’, where it is in the interests of the young person or other young people

The rate shown is the average number of incidents per 100 young people per month. Data is shown for each young offender institution and secure training centre that uses the MMPR system.

'Young people’ are 10 to 17 years old. 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 make reliable generalisations about 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

2. 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 than White
Establishment White Average number of incidents per 100 young people White Average number of incidents Other than White Average number of incidents per 100 young people Other than White Average number of incidents
Cookham Wood YOI 29.3 20 40.2 50
Feltham YOI 38.7 26 40.6 47
Medway STC 110.0 22 177.1 39
Oakhill STC 97.1 50 130.4 47
Parc YOI 64.7 22 67.3 11
Rainsbrook STC 115.1 62 142.0 35
Werrington YOI 21.8 14 26.0 17
Wetherby YOI 28.2 56 42.8 40

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity of offender’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity of offender’ (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2017/18 there was an average of 549 incidents per month where force was used by staff on young people in custody in England and Wales, at a rate of 52.4 per 100 young people in custody
  • in every young offender institution and secure training centre, 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
  • among White young people in custody, Rainsbrook secure training centre had the highest rate of use of force incidents, at 115.1 incidents per 100 people
  • among young people from all other ethnic groups combined, Medway secure training centre had the highest rate of use of force incidents, at 177.1 incidents per 100 people

3. Methodology

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

The numbers of young people in custody are counted at the beginning of each month. They are updated to include new admissions during the month, and then averaged across a 12-month period.

Rounding

Percentages have been rounded to 1 decimal point. Due to this, some figures may not add up to 100. Counts have been rounded to the nearest whole number. All calculations have been made using unrounded figures.

See the Youth justice statistics for 2017/18 for unrounded figures and the percentages calculated from them.

Related publications

Youth justice statistics.

Quality and methodology information

Further technical information

Figures published before the release of the 2017/18 youth justice statistics may have been revised since their original publication.

4. 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 offenders in England and Wales.

5. Download the data