Inspectorate praises Lancashire Constabulary’s significantly improved approach to child protection
Lancashire Constabulary has successfully implemented a range of measures to strengthen its handling of child protection issues, according to a report released today by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
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As part of a rolling programme of child protection inspections of all police forces in England and Wales, HMICFRS assessed Lancashire Constabulary in 2017. That inspection found that, whilst the force was generally proficient in its child protection responsibilities, there were some areas which required improvement.
Today’s report details the findings of a further inspection of the force by HMICFRS, which took place in December 2018. The Inspectorate found that there has been a ‘cultural change’ across the force at all levels, from senior leadership to junior officers. There has been a real prioritisation of child protection, meaning that the force is now well-placed to tackle all forms of child abuse.
Specific improvements include:
- the introduction of the “Think Child” campaign;
- enhanced training for all frontline officers and staff;
- the introduction of child protection coaches;
- technological initiatives, including a business intelligence performance dashboard and a child protection app; and
- the development of a qualitative audit process.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Phil Gormley said:
“Lancashire Constabulary has made good progress in implementing our previous recommendations and is now performing to a high level when it comes to protecting children from harm.
“I am particularly impressed with the force’s approach to using new technologies, as well as its commitment to working directly with social workers and other relevant third parties. What is most noticeable, however, is the widespread cultural change throughout the entire organisation, with officers and staff now well aware of their responsibilities when responding to and investigating child protection matters.
“It is encouraging that, despite already having made progress, the force is striving to make further improvements. Through its own audit trails and analysis, it has identified several areas for improvement – we have incorporated these into our own recommendations. Given the force’s prior record, I expect that these will be addressed and implemented in the coming months.”
HMICFRS will continue to regularly monitor Lancashire Constabulary’s child protection capabilities.
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- HMICFRS is inspecting the child protection work of every police force in England and Wales. The reports 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, HMICFRS 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 HMICFRS 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.
- On 19 July 2017, HMIC took on responsibility for fire & rescue service inspections and was renamed HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services.
- HMICFRS inspects all 43 police forces in England and Wales together with other major policing and law enforcement bodies. It also inspects all 45 fire and rescue services in England.
- For further information, HMICFRS’s press office can be contacted from 9:00am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday on 020 3513 0600.
- HMICFRS’s out-of-hours press office line for urgent media enquiries is 07836 217729.
- HMICFRS is an independent inspectorate, inspecting policing and fire and rescue services in the public interest. It assesses and reports on the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces and fire and rescue services.