Dyfed-Powys Police inspected on child protection
HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has today published an inspection report into the child protection work carried out by Dyfed-Powys Police following an inspection in October 2014. This is part of a rolling programme of child protection inspections of all police forces in England and Wales.
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Protecting children is one of the most important tasks the police undertake. Only the police can investigate suspected crimes and arrest perpetrators, and they play a significant role in monitoring sex offenders. Police officers have the power to take a child who is in danger into a place of safety, or to seek an order to restrict an offender’s contact with children. The police service also has a significant role working with other agencies to ensure the child’s protection and well-being, longer term.
Inspectors were pleased to find:
- a strong commitment to improving child protection services;
- staff responsible for managing child abuse investigations were highly committed, hard working, knowledgeable and dedicated to providing the best possible outcomes for children;
- officers responded quickly and undertook thorough initial enquires about the immediate safety of children; and
- good relationships with local authorities and other partner agencies, and full engagement with the work to develop the regional safeguarding board.
However, inspectors were concerned to find:
- significant delays in the investigation of child protection cases;
- children were being unnecessarily detained in police custody overnight;
- a lack of understanding of the extent of child sexual exploitation and an inconsistent response across the force area; and
- poor recording on police systems.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Dru Sharpling said:
“I was pleased to find that Dyfed-Powys Police has a strong commitment to improving the protection of children. It was evident from our inspection that staff were highly committed and that officers were quick in their initial response to issues of child safety.
“However, there is room for improvement in some important areas. For instance, a number of the cases we looked at where children had gone missing from home showed that the risk of child sexual exploitation had not been considered. In one case this resulted in children being referred to as ‘attention seekers’ which left them exposed to the risk of sexual exploitation.
“Dyfed-Powys needs to reduce the delays in investigations. We found in a number of cases that despite good initial investigative work, too often there were delays that would have an impact on the welfare of the children.
“I encourage Dyfed-Powys Police to act on our recommendations as a matter of urgency, and I have asked that within six weeks it provides me with an action plan to demonstrate how it will take forward our recommendations for improvement”.
Over the next two years 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.
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- 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.
- 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.