Thousands of children and teenagers have been injured while being physically restrained in secure facilities, new figures have shown.
Ministers have been urged to rethink heavy-handed techniques for restraining minors after official statistics revealed there have been more than 4,800 cases since 2010 where young people were hurt by being pinned down by officials.
Campaigners said it was a “scandal” that officers are trained to deliberately inflict pain on teenagers in young offenders institutions and secure training centres, despite concern from two UN Committees over the practice.
It comes as the safety of using force in institutional settings was called into question when a long-awaited report on adult deaths in custody by Dame Elish Angiolini warned that “all restraint has the potential to cause death”.
Proposals to reform the use of restraint in mental health units also recently passed their first Commons hurdle when MPs backed a private members’ bill from Labour MP Steve Reed in memory of a man who died after being restrained by 11 officers.
Labour MP Luciana Berger, who obtained the figures, told The Independent: “It is clear that we urgently require more effective and rigorous legislation that allows further accountability around the use of physical restraint.
“The Government must take action to ensure that inhumane treatment of those in custody is prevented at all costs.
“The Government claims to be committed to prioritising the safety of young people in custody, but the number of injuries sustained by children through restraint since 2010 is shocking.
“The same applies to force used against people in mental health crises. Restraint should only ever be used as a last resort, and the protection of vulnerable people in situations such as this should be a guarantee, under all circumstances.”
Analysis of the figures found there were 49 cases in each secure training centre per year, on average, compared with 14 in…