Norfolk Constabulary: significant improvements in child protection

Norfolk Constabulary has made clear improvements in child protection, according to a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) out today.

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Norfolk national child protection inspection: post inspection review

HMIC inspectors went back to Norfolk Constabulary to review the progress made by the force since the initial report into child protection in August 2014.  HMIC found that the force had taken the findings of the initial report seriously, and had made steps to improve its child protection services.

HMI Zoë Billingham said:

“We first reported on child protection in Norfolk Constabulary in August 2014 – now we’ve been back to see the progress it has made against the recommendations we gave them over a year ago.

“Norfolk Constabulary’s strong commitment to improving the protection of children is apparent, and it was evident that it has taken important steps to address our recommendations.

“I feel confident that child protection services in Norfolk Constabulary have improved and continue to improve as a result.”

Overall, inspectors found that Norfolk Constabulary has a strong commitment to child protection with a clear set of priorities and plans that support it, and strong leadership.

Key findings from the report include:

  • the force has introduced a robust governance process which ensures that officers correctly record information on the use of police protection powers;
  • it has successfully reduced delays in reviewing third party material, following the introduction of an information sharing protocol with Norfolk County Council;
  • the constabulary could do more to assess the risk suspects could pose to other vulnerable people, particularly in cases of child sexual exploitation;
  • some serious cases were allocated to non-specialist teams, enquiries and investigations were undertaken by insufficiently skilled and knowledgeable staff;
  • the force has ensured that officers attending an incident have access to information about the possible presence of registered sex offenders or families ‘at risk’, and of any plans in place to manage risk and safeguard children; and
  • the force has made significant investment in advanced technology and a robust governance process was in place in order to reduce timescales in the examination of digital media.

The way the force protects vulnerable victims, including children, will continue to be inspected as part of HMIC’s annual rounded assessments known as PEEL. HMIC will be reporting further on how well the force is protecting vulnerable victims before Christmas.

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Norfolk national child protection inspection: post inspection review


  1. The report into child protection was the first in a rolling programme of inspections of all police forces in England and Wales and was published in August 2014: Norfolk National Child Protection Inspection report
  2. HMIC has published reports on:
    • South Wales Police – published July 2015
    • West Mercia Police – published February 2015
    • Nottinghamshire Police – published February 2015
    • West Yorkshire Police – published January 2015
    • Greater Manchester Police – published December 2014
    • West Midlands Police – published October 2014
    • South Yorkshire Police – published September 2014, post-inspection review published in July 2015.
    • Norfolk Constabulary – published August 2014
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. A copy of the full report can be found on the HMIC website.
  6. 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.
  7. For further information, HMIC’s press office can be contacted during office hours from 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday on 020 3513 0600.
  8. HMIC’s out-of-hours press office line for urgent media enquiries is 07836 217 729.