Asylum: Children

Home Office written question – answered on 24 March 2023.

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Photo of Lord Scriven Lord Scriven Liberal Democrat

To ask His Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Greater Manchester Police concerning any evidence of instances of unaccompanied children seeking asylum who have gone missing while staying in hotels, and who may have been taken by gangs involved in crime.

Photo of Lord Murray of Blidworth Lord Murray of Blidworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

We have no unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) hotels in Greater Manchester. The Home Office can confirm that those responsible for the care of UASC in temporary accomodation have not had discussions with Greater Manchester Police.

The Home Office takes the wellbeing, welfare and security of children and minors in our care extremely seriously. Robust safeguarding procedures are in place to ensure all children and minors are safe and supported as we seek urgent placements with local authorities.

When a young person who has previously gone missing from an emergency interim UASC Hotel is encountered or located, the Police force where the young person is missing from should be notified. If the young person was located by another Police force in a different area then the force dealing with the missing persons case will liaise with them regarding the circumstances of the encounter and how they came to locate the young person. This will assist both forces with identifying whether there are any concerns regarding possible trafficking; exploitation or other potential criminal activities that may require investigation.

The Department for Education’s statutory guidance on any children who run away or go missing from home or care home, states that young people who go missing should be offered a Return Home Interview. This can help understand why the young person went missing as well as identify any harm that may have occurred to them as well as possible risks that might need to be addressed.

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