Dyfed-Powys Police has made improvements to how it protects children. However, it is still not performing well in some areas
HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has today published a post-inspection review on the child protection work carried out by Dyfed-Powys Police.
Get the report
As part of a rolling programme of child protection inspections of all police forces in England and Wales, HMIC published an initial report in December 2014 on the child protection work of Dyfed-Powys Police. This found a clear commitment to protecting children but also identified a need to drive consistently high standards across the force and to tackle a number of areas of concern, including delays in the investigation of a number of child protection cases. HMIC carried out a post inspection review in August 2015.
Inspectors were pleased to find:
- a clear commitment to improving services for children in need of protection;
- the force had increased the number of officers and staff in the child protection teams;
- detention of children in custody under section 136 of the Mental Health Act had reduced;
- an improvement in the recording of observations of the behaviour and demeanour of children present at domestic abuse incidents; and
- the force had taken some steps to improve its action to tackle perpetrators of child sexual exploitation.
However, inspectors were concerned to find:
- that little progress had been made in improving the timeliness of forensic medical examinations in child sexual abuse cases;
- continuing delays in the examination of computers and electronic devices continued to undermine investigations;
- cases involving on-line grooming of children were allocated to untrained, rather than specialist, staff; and
- recording practices within custody were of a poor standard and children were still being unnecessarily detained overnight.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams said:
“Since our last inspection, it is clear the Dyfed-Powys Police has improved some services vital to protecting children. There has been an increase in the number of staff in specialist child protection units, which has gone a long way to improving the services children at risk receive. It has also made efforts to reduce the number of children detained in custody and instead worked to find more appropriate places that suit better the needs of these vulnerable children.
“There has also been a particular improvement in the way the force records instances of domestic abuse. When called to a domestic abuse incident, officers are now making particular efforts to recognise the behaviours of children present. These are recorded and appropriate action is taken to ensure the children are kept safe.
“I am encouraged by these improvements; however there are still a number of areas that require improvement. Delays in a number of areas, such as forensic medical examinations, and examination of computer equipment and electronic devices, are still undermining investigations. There was concern that cases involving online grooming of children were not being handled by specialist staff. Further, despite the reduction in the numbers of children detained in police custody on mental health grounds, the force still needs to reduce the overall number of children detained in custody overnight.
“HMIC will continue to monitor how the force continues its progress, and expect to see the areas we have identified as concerns improved upon.”
Get the report
- Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (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 (PCC) 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 NCPI 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.