There is still important work for South Yorkshire Police to do to improve the protection of children, however there are signs of progress
HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has today published a post-inspection review on the child protection work carried out by South Yorkshire Police.
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As part of a rolling programme of child protection inspections of all police forces in England and Wales, HMIC published an initial report in September 2014, which found that South Yorkshire Police had an inconsistent approach to child protection and improvements to the care of children in custody.
Following a post inspection review in April 2015, inspectors were pleased to find:
- improvements to the force’s initial response when attending incidents involving children at risk;
- child protection has been prioritised and there is a strong desire to improve outcomes for children who are at risk of harm; and
- the force is developing new joint working arrangements and structures to improve consistency across its four districts.
However, inspectors were concerned to find:
- that although the force had undertaken a review of arrangements with care homes and provided guidance to police staff, this had not resulted in improvements in practice;
- the force was still failing to recognise risks to some children and work jointly with other agencies; and
- that recording practices remained poor, which limits the ability of staff to make good decisions about children.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Mike Cunningham said:
“It is common knowledge that South Yorkshire Police’s approach to protecting children has been severely lacking. In September last year HMIC raised serious concerns about the way the force was approaching this kind of work, which was undermining the service it provides to children.
“We carried out this post-inspection review in order to understand what progress South Yorkshire Police had made since our initial inspection, and we found there were still areas that need major improvements.
“I am keen to stress however, that the situation in South Yorkshire is not irretrievable. There are tangible signs that the force is improving its service to children in some elements of its service to children, so I am encouraged that the senior leadership of South Yorkshire Police demonstrated the determination to make improvements.
“HMIC will continue to monitor South Yorkshire Police approach to child protection.”
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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.
- 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.