Leeds & West Yorkshire

Police and council pay damages to children kept in care too long

Two children who were kept in care for too long have been awarded damages from a police force and council.

Mr Justice Cobb said the case exposed "serious and systemic flaws" in West Yorkshire Police and Wakefield Council.

The children aged seven and two at the time were taken into care after their parents' arrest, the Family Division of the High Court in Bradford heard.

They spent nearly 10 months away from their mother despite her not being charged with any offences.

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The family members could not be identified, said the judge.

Each child would get £5,000 and their mother £10,000 in damages.

'Breached rights'

The joint police and investigation started about two years ago when the children were placed into foster care following their parents' arrest.

The children's father had been jailed after admitting offences but the mother had not been charged with any offences, said the judge.

Mr Justice Cobb said the upshot had been the children had unfairly stayed in care and not been reunited with their mother for nearly 10 months.

The investigation had casual regard, and in some respects total disregard, of "ordinary principles of good professional practice".

The judge also criticised "a lack of discipline" in the officer in charge.

He said the investigation had been conducted in a way that "profoundly and obviously" breached rights to a fair trial and to respect for family life.

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