Humberside Police demonstrates commitment to improving child protection services, however there is work to be done
HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has today published the report of inspection carried out in November 2016 of the child protection work undertaken by Humberside Police. These inspections are part of a rolling programme of child protection inspections of all police forces in England and Wales.
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Inspectors were pleased to find:
- the chief constable and PCC have prioritised the protection of vulnerable people, and it is clear that there is an increased focus on this across the force;
- the force has provided a new, three-day public protection awareness training course to almost 1,200 staff;
- the force has made a concerted effort to improve work with the local safeguarding children’s boards, which has been recognised and valued by the partnership; and
- no children with mental health problems had been detained in custody in the 12 months before the inspection.
However, inspectors were concerned to find:
- a lack of qualitative performance data, which prevents the force in understanding the nature and extent of the issues it faces;
- that the overall dedication and energy invested by senior officers has not translated into consistent improvements in policing practice across all areas of child protection work;
- the force needs to do more to increase awareness and understanding of the need both to safeguard children, and to look beyond the obvious risk factors to identify any wider or underlying problems which need to be addressed; and
- the response to child sexual exploitation remains an area for improvement.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Mike Cunningham said:
“I am pleased that the chief officer team at Humberside Police displayed a clear commitment to improving outcomes for children. This was widely recognised by the staff, officers and other agencies with whom we spoke as part of this inspection. “I was particularly pleased to find no evidence that any children with mental health issues had been detained in police custody in the 12 months leading up to the inspection. This is a very positive step.
“However, we found that the overall dedication and energy invested at this top level has not yet translated into consistent improvements in policing practice across all areas of child protection work. In particular the force needs to improve how control room staff identify vulnerability, in order to better respond to victims who are at risk. The force also needs to improve its approach to preventing child sexual exploitation. We found officers were failing to conduct timely and appropriate investigations, which could potentially put children at further risk of harm. The force also needs to improve its understanding of the link between child sexual exploitation and children who go regularly missing.
“Inspectors were also concerned about the poor standard of recording on police systems across the force. In a large proportion of investigations we looked at, we found that relevant information was not recorded. This prevents the force from being able to fully understand the issues it faces.
“We make a series of recommendations aimed at supporting Humberside Police in continuing this work. I am pleased that the force has responded positively to our findings, and that it is keen to show that its dedication to improving will translate into better services for children. We will continue to monitor the progress the force makes in these areas.”
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- HMIC is inspecting the child protection work of every police force in England and Wales. The reports are intended to provide information for the police, the police and crime commissioner and the public on how well children are protected and their needs are met, and to secure improvements for the future.
- Under the National Child Protection Inspection (NCPI) programme, HMIC will assess how effectively each force in England and Wales safeguards children and young people at risk, make recommendations to forces for improving child protection practice, highlight effective practice in child protection work and drive improvements in forces’ child protection practice.
- Follow up activity by HMIC is an integral part of the NCPI programme. It allows inspectors to assess the progress each force is making in its work to improve services for the safety and protection of children. HMIC aims to revisit each force no later than six months after the publication of the initial NCP inspection report to assess how it is managing the implementation of the recommendations.
- In July 2015, HMIC published ‘In harm’s way: the role of the police in keeping children safe’ – based on findings from 21 inspections on the police response to child protection conducted over the last two years. This incorporates inspections from the first eight forces inspected under the NCPI programme.
- HMIC is an independent inspectorate, inspecting policing in the public interest, and rigorously examines the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces to tackle crime and terrorism, improve criminal justice and raise confidence. HMIC inspects all 43 police forces in England and Wales, together with other major policing bodies.
- For further information, HMIC’s press office can be contacted during office hours from 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday on 020 3513 0600.
- HMIC’s out-of-hours press office line for urgent media enquiries is 07836 217 729.