Metropolitan Police is making progress on child protection
The Metropolitan Police Service has made progress in improving some areas of child protection, but the pace of change has at times been slow, a new report has found.
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Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) found that since its last review of the Metropolitan Police’s child protection services in 2018, the force had continued to make improvements.
These include increasing the number of staff managing registered sex offenders, and better recognition of the needs of vulnerable children coming into police custody.
However, HMICFRS said the Metropolitan Police’s progress had been slow in some areas, and it still had acute concerns about how the force investigates online abuse and the viewing and sharing of indecent images of children.
For example, the inspectorate saw cases where police investigators delayed alerting children’s social care to children living in a house with someone who was uploading images of child abuse, because they did not want to jeopardise the investigation – potentially leaving children at risk.
The inspectorate said several areas still require improvement, including:
- delays in uploading images to the national child abuse image database, meaning that victims are not identified and safeguarded as quickly as they should be;
- there are significant delays in the forensic examination of electronic devices, which could result in missed opportunities to identify abuse; and
- some officers and staff don’t have the right experience and haven’t had specialist child abuse investigation training.
Matt Parr, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary said:
“The Metropolitan Police Service has made some progress in how it keeps children safe since our last review in 2018, and we continue to see examples of good work by individual officers – but the pace of change has at times been slow.
“There is still much more work to do to provide better outcomes for vulnerable children in London – from more quickly identifying and protecting any children at risk from offenders, to undertaking a skills audit to identify what specialist training officers need.
“We are assured that the Metropolitan Police has plans in place to continue making improvements, and we will closely monitor their performance. If we think it is needed, we will increase our scrutiny of the force’s child protection services.”
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- For further information, the HMICFRS Press Office can be contacted at 07836 217 729 or HMICPressOffice@hmicfrs.gov.uk.