Lincolnshire Police – working hard to improve its service to vulnerable children
The commitment that the Lincolnshire Police leadership team has shown in improving its service to vulnerable children, now needs to lead to better outcomes, a report by HMICFRS into the force’s child protection capability warns today.
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Inspectors at HMICFRS were impressed by the clear undertaking made by senior leaders to improve the way it manages risks to children, against a backdrop of increased demand. However, the force has more work to do to ensure children in Lincolnshire were fully protected.
The report identified that while Lincolnshire Police works effectively with partner organisations and has worked hard to improve training for officers, most teams dealing with child protection investigations are not fully staffed. The force also needs to be swifter to pursue people suspected of downloading and distributing indecent images of children and in driving down their backlog of visits to registered sex offenders.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoë Billingham said:
“It was clear from our inspection that Lincolnshire Police’s top team is committed to protecting vulnerable people, especially children.
“Whilst those good intentions have yet to translate into a consistently good service for children, it is to its credit that the force took swift and decisive action when we reported our findings to them.
“We found many examples of good work by frontline officers responding to incidents involving children. And Lincolnshire Police’s specialist officers are committed and dedicated. But most teams dealing with child protection investigations are not fully staffed, meaning that some children get poorer service than they should.
“As a result of our inspection, we’ve asked the force to draw up an action plan to address our concerns. We plan on revisiting Lincolnshire later this year to see what progress has been made. I’m encouraged by the positive and prompt response we’ve already had from the senior team. The people of Lincolnshire can be reassured that Lincolnshire Police will do what it needs to do, to make vulnerable children safer.”
HMICFRS examined 81 cases where the police had identified children at risk and assessed those cases as ‘good’ in nine cases, but ‘requires improvement’ in 47 cases. In 25 cases, the response was ‘inadequate’. Inspectors identified that the force needs to do more to ensure a consistently good service for all children.
This is the first time HMICFRS has inspected Lincolnshire Police’s child protection provision. The inspectorate has made recommendations and will revisit the force within the next six months to assess how these are being implemented.
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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 is an independent inspectorate, inspecting policing and fire & rescue services in the public interest. It assesses and reports on the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces 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.