Durham Constabulary has improved child protection, but more work is needed
Durham Constabulary has improved the way it protects vulnerable children, but further changes are needed to help keep them 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 Durham Constabulary’s child protection services in 2019, the police force had made positive changes.
The inspectorate said this included improvements in dealing with registered sex offenders, the control room response to incidents involving children, and dealing with cases where children are reported missing.
However, HMICFRS said that despite Durham Constabulary’s good progress, several areas still require improvement, including:
- the response to children at risk of online sexual exploitation, including prioritising investigations and sharing information with safeguarding partners earlier;
- the detention of children in police custody, including ensuring appropriate adults arrive promptly and children are not detained unnecessarily after charge; and
- there are still not enough accredited investigators in specialist safeguarding teams to meet demand.
Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Andy Cooke said:
“Durham Constabulary has worked systematically to address the recommendations from our 2019 child protection inspection, and the force can show clear improvements in most areas as a result.
“However, the force still needs to improve in other areas. For example, we are concerned about the force’s response to children at risk of online sexual exploitation. Processes are not always followed and information is not always shared promptly with safeguarding partners, which potentially leaves children at risk.
“We are encouraged by the progress Durham Constabulary has already made, and I have confidence in the force’s continued commitment to making further improvements.”
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- For further information, the HMICFRS Press Office can be contacted at 07836 217 729 or HMICPressOffice@hmicfrs.gov.uk.