Children
Parents are requesting police to come to their houses for minor incidents like a fight over a TV remote control, a watchdog report reveals.Getty Images

Police are being called up by parents to discipline children, a watchdog's report has revealed.

Inspectors said they were, "called frequently to deal with incidents where parents or children's homes could not cope with a child's disruptive behaviour and sought to use the police as a way to discipline children."

According to the report finding, children are being detained when their parents and care homes fail to discipline them, said Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary for England and Wales.

The report findings reveal vulnerable children, as well as adults, are being locked up in police cells instead of being provided social care.

Parents and caretakers are requesting officers to come to their houses for incidents as minor as a fight over a TV remote control.

A girl who had a fight with her sister over a TV remote control is amongst those locked up in police cells, the report confirmed, reported BBC News.

Others held in police cells include a 17-year-old boy who pushed his stepfather and damaged a garden fence. In another incident, a 13-year-old boy was arrested for common assault on his 11-year-old sister.

The report highlights the difficulty families are facing in disciplining children since the rising trend in single parent households and breakdown of extended families.

Although a majority of people held by the police were well treated, inconsistent practices were noted to have led to poor treatment on some occasions, the report found.

HM Inspector of Constabulary Dru Sharpling said: "There can be no argument that the needs of a child, left abandoned by his or her parents, or a person in the midst of a mental health crisis, are often very different to those of a serial offender.

"Yet the bricks and mortar of the police cells do not and cannot make that distinction. I think the public would be surprised to learn that police cells are very often full of vulnerable adults and children, rather than suspects accused of serious crimes."

Home Secretary Theresa May who commissioned the report has stressed that more needs to be done to tackle the issue.

"Working with police forces, we already have a range of work under way to tackle some of the issues HMIC have highlighted, including improving data collection on the use of police powers in relation to people with mental ill health and the use of force, as well as reviewing police training on these issues," she said.

"We will review HMIC's findings and recommendations carefully to see how they can inform this work, and respond in due course."