Encouraging progress made by Surrey Police in how it protects children, but still more to do
In August 2016, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) carried out a follow-up inspection of the child protection work carried out by Surrey Police, to check on the progress made against a series of recommendations from a previous inspection in 2015.
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Inspectors were encouraged to find that the force is very committed to improving child protection services, supported by training and good sharing of information with partner agencies (such as health and education services). The message that child protection is important is now far better understood by officers and staff across the force; but inspectors found this has not yet resulted in consistent action and improved practice for children. The force recognises this and is working hard to improve where necessary.
In 2015, HMIC found some serious failings in Surrey Police’s response to child protection issues, and made a series of recommendations to improve practice. We returned in 2016 to re-inspect the force, and see if outcomes for children had improved. Today’s report sets out findings from the re-inspection.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoë Billingham said:
“In December 2015 we reported that Surrey Police had substantial improvements to make in how it protects children. After our follow-up inspection, I am very pleased that Surrey Police demonstrates a strong commitment to improving services for children in need of protection. It is clear to me that officers and staff across the force have made a concerted effort to recognise and act on the recommendations we previously identified. This commitment is to be commended. The force recognises it now needs to focus on translating this commitment into further improved services for children.
“We found developed arrangements for managing high risk sex offenders and it is encouraging to see that the force shares information with partner agencies like local councils well, although we have some concerns over the quality of this information. More work is required to target more effectively those who pose the greatest risk of harm to children, although improvements are being made.
“While the force understands how to safeguard children and recognise child sexual exploitation, inspectors found this does not always translate into actual safeguarding activity. This is concerning as it can affect the speed of response when children are reported missing, and is an area where the force still has work to do.
“I am very pleased with how the force has responded to this vitally important area, and expect to see further improvements – the force is most certainly on the right track. We will continue to monitor the progress Surrey Police makes.”
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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.