Written evidence submitted by Just for Kids Law (CVB0051)

About Just for Kids Law  

Just for Kids Law (JFKL) was founded in 2007. Through a unique model of holistic representation, we provide client-led support, advice and legal services to children and young people in London and push for nationwide systemic change through strategic litigation and policy and public affairs work. The Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) merged into JFKL in 2015. CRAE was established in 1991 when the UK ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and pushes for full implementation of the CRC in England. The Youth Justice Legal Centre (YJLC) was set up by Just for Kids Law in 2015 to provide legally accurate information, guidance and training on youth justice law. It aims to raise standards in criminal courts and supports lawyers doing vital work representing children and young people across England and Wales.

This submission is informed by our work monitoring implementation of the CRC in England, as well as our direct advocacy and legal case work with children and young people. We share your concerns about the impact that Government measures to tackle Covid-19 is having on BAME people and welcome this inquiry. We are particularly concerned about Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) children and young people coming into contact with the police and criminal justice system – some of the most vulnerable in our society.

All primary and secondary legislation relating to the pandemic should be subjected to a full and transparent Child Rights Impact Assessment (CRIA), with input from the Children’s Commissioner and other relevant children’s rights organisations, so measures taken can be monitored, are proportionate to the crisis, and can be revoked as soon as possible.

Factors that made BAME communities vulnerable to the effects of the virus

In our response to the Unequal Impact: coronavirus and the impact on people with protected characteristics inquiry we submitted that, before the coronavirus pandemic, BAME children and young people were disproportionately coming into contact with the police and criminal justice system. For example:

The impact of the pandemic on BAME communities

Since the UK government imposed lockdown measures in England on 26 March 2020, BAME children and young people have been further disproportionately impacted by the effect of the virus. For example:

These figure point to the significant levels of disproportionality within the criminal justice system. Further, BAME children and young people have been at a heightened risk of contracting the coronavirus thorough arrest and detention.

Below, we give some examples from our legal casework and frontline work relating to the arrest and detention of BAME children and young people during the coronavirus pandemic:


The Government must:



July 2020


[1] Children's Rights Alliance for England, 2019, State of Children’s Rights 2018: Policing and Criminal Justice http://www.crae.org.uk/media/127098/B8_CRAE_POLICINGCJ_2018_WEB.pdf

[2] Ministry of Justice, 2020, Stop and Search data https://www.ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk/crime-justice-and-the-law/policing/stop-and-search/latest

[3] Home Office, 2019, Police use of force statistics, England and Wales: April 2018 to March 2019 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/853204/police-use-of-force-apr2018-mar2019-hosb3319.pdf

[4] Children’s Rights Alliance for England, 2020, Children’s rights and policing: Tasers and children’s rights https://yjlc.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/CRAE_POLICING-TASER-PRINT-1.pdf

[5] Children’s Rights Alliance for England, 2020, Children’s rights and policing: Spit-hoods and children’s rights https://yjlc.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/CRAE_POLICING-SPITHOODS_PRINT.pdf

[6] Lancashire could not supply data for the years ending March 2017, 2018 and 2019. Data have been removed for this force for all years so valid comparisons can be made. In the years for which data were available, figures show Lancashire’s arrest numbers contributed between 2% and 4% of the total. Youth Justice Board / Ministry of Justice, 2020, Youth Justice Statistics 2018/2019: England and Wales https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/862078/youth-justice-statistics-bulletin-march-2019.pdf

[7] Notifiable offences are those offences which require the police to record an incident as a crime and report the occurrence to the Home Office.

[8] Youth Justice Board / Ministry of Justice, 2020, ibid

[9] Responses to FOI requests by Just for Kids Law. Overnight signifies that a detainee was held within Custody for four or more consecutive hours between 00:00 & 08:00. FOIA/MOPAC Ref Number 01/FOI/20/013397

[10] Youth Justice Board / Ministry of Justice, 2020 ibid

[11] Guardian, 8 July 2020, Met carried out 22,000 searches on young black men during lockdown https://www.theguardian.com/law/2020/jul/08/one-in-10-of-londons-young-black-males-stopped-by-police-in-may

[12] Liberty Investigate, 26 May 2020, BAME People Disproportionately Targeted by Coronavirus Fines https://libertyinvestigates.org.uk/articles/bame-people-disproportionately-targeted-by-coronavirus-fines/

[13] Ibid

[14] The Guardian, 6 May 2020, BAME people fined more than white population under coronavirus laws


[15] The Telegraph, 3 June 2020, Met Police data shows BAME people almost 50 per cent more likely to be arrested for breaching coronavirus laws