Child protection in Kent has improved but more work is needed
Kent Police has made improvements, but further changes are needed to keep vulnerable children safe, a new report has found.
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Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) found that since its last inspection of Kent Police’s child protection services in 2019, the force had made positive changes.
These include improving how it manages the control room and how it notifies local schools about children affected by domestic abuse. The inspectorate also said that investigations falling within the remit of the specialist child protection teams are generally well conducted.
However, HMICFRS said that despite Kent Police’s strong progress since 2019, it still had some concerns, including:
- domestic abuse investigations where children are affected were impeded by ineffective supervision, investigative delays and poor focus on the voice of the child;
- frontline officers don’t consistently speak to children or record their worries, behaviour and demeanour; and
- vulnerable children who are detained in custody don’t always receive timely support.
Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary said:
“Kent Police has made some good progress since we last inspected how it keeps children safe in 2019. In particular, the way the force manages its control room is much improved, with better recognition of risk and officers responding more quickly to incidents involving vulnerable children.
“But there is still more work to do to provide better outcomes for vulnerable children in Kent – from police officers speaking directly to children more often to ensure their worries are heard, to better training for staff in the specialist teams that deal with sexual and violent offenders.
“I have every confidence that Kent Police’s leaders will take all the steps necessary to achieve the improvements we have recommended, and we will continue to work closely with the force to monitor its progress.”
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- For further information, the HMICFRS Press Office can be contacted at 07836 217 729 or HMICPressOffice@hmicfrs.gov.uk.