Kent Police demonstrates an “impressive and positive” approach to child protection, confirms inspection
Kent Police is strongly committed to providing effective child protection and safeguarding services, according to a new report.
HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) inspected child protection work in Kent earlier this year. It found that that the force places a high priority on child protection issues and provides a good service to children in the Kent region.
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The inspection of Kent Police identified the following areas of good practice:
- Good governance and oversight of child protection work (such as the force’s Protecting Vulnerable People board);
- Increased numbers of officers and staff working in teams dedicated to addressing different aspects of vulnerability and child protection;
- Examples of effective working arrangements with relevant partner agencies (for example, in cases involving child exploitation by criminal gangs in ‘county lines’ drug investigations); and
- The placement of specialist community support officers directly into its Community Safety Units.
However, the Inspectorate also identified some areas which required improvement. The report raised concerns around how the force works with local authorities to transfer children from police custody to local authority accommodation, and how the force records the behaviour and demeanour of children when completing risk assessments.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoë Billingham said:
“Child protection and safeguarding are some of the most important duties that any police force undertakes.
“That is why am I pleased with the findings of our inspection, which revealed that Kent Police is providing a good service to children and young people. We saw a genuine commitment to this area of policing from both senior leaders and frontline officers and staff in Kent Police.
“Increased funding has made a difference, and the force has implemented a variety of governance and operational changes, which have resulted in an impressive and positive service. The force has worked hard to improve awareness of child vulnerability by training frontline officers, and partners have told us about strong and effective joint working arrangements.
“There are some areas we have identified that would improve their service to children even further, and I would welcome an increased focus on how the force collaborates effectively with local authorities to improve their provision of accommodation so that children are not kept in police custody for any longer than necessary. “I am confident that the force will address our recommendations and look forward to seeing further improvements to the service it provides to children in the near future.”
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- 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.
- HMICFRS inspects all 43 police forces in England and Wales together with other major policing and law enforcement bodies. It also publishes data and thematic reports on areas of particular interest.
- Since 2017, HMICFRS has been responsible for inspecting all 45 fire and rescue services in England.
- Under the National Child Protection Inspection (NCPI) programme, HMICFRS assesses how effectively each force in England and Wales safeguards children and young people at risk, makes recommendations to forces for improving child protection practice, highlights effective practice in child protection work and drives 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.
- For further information, HMICFRS’s press office can be contacted from 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday on 020 3513 0600.
- HMICFRS’s out-of-hours press office line for urgent media enquiries is 07836 217729.