North Wales Police is “clearly committed” to child protection work but some improvements are still needed, confirms report
North Wales Police demonstrates a thorough understanding of its responsibilities towards protecting children from harm, according to a new report.
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Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) inspected how the force protects children and investigates reports of child abuse. It found that the force is performing to a generally good standard with respect to child protection and safeguarding.
The subsequent report, National Child Protection Inspection. North Wales Police, identified the following areas of positive practice:
- effective working arrangements with partner agencies (for example, in the Royal Society for Public Health’s ‘Early Action Together’ programme);
- control room staff conduct a thorough search of systems for relevant information, which is then shared with frontline response officers to help them make better decisions about the best way to protect children; and
- good investigations conducted by specialist officers, with joint decisions and clearly recorded investigative activity.
However, HMICFRS did also identify areas of concern, including the practices it uses to manage those who pose a risk to children. Other areas for improvement included:
- the treatment of children detained in police custody;
- the training for officers and staff who investigate child abuse; and
- the force’s response to children who have been reported missing.
Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams said:
“Child protection work is one of the most important duties any force carries out. It is crucial that police forces identify children who are at risk of harm and intervene in a sensitive and appropriate manner.
“I am therefore pleased overall with the results of our inspection into North Wales Police, which revealed that the force is doing a good job at protecting children from harm.
“What really came across during our inspection was the genuine commitment to child protection and safeguarding. We saw this commitment at all levels, from the force’s senior leadership to frontline officers and support staff.
“This commitment is demonstrated in a variety of positive outcomes, from good frontline response work to effective decision-making.
“Unfortunately, we did also identify some problems. Most notably, we have concerns about the way the force manages people who pose a risk to children. We also believe that the force could do better work directly with children themselves, including listening to, recording and acting on their concerns and behaviour.”
As a result of the report, HMICFRS issued the force with a list of recommendations for improvement. The Inspectorate will carry out a follow-up inspection of the force within the next six months.
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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.
- HMICFRS also inspects 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.