Nottinghamshire Police inspected on child protection
HMIC has today published an inspection report into the child protection work carried out by Nottinghamshire Police, following an inspection in September 2014. This is part of a rolling programme of child protection inspections of all police forces in England and Wales.
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Protecting children is one of the most important tasks the police undertake. Only the police can investigate suspected crimes and arrest perpetrators, and they play a significant role in monitoring sex offenders. Police officers have the power to take a child who is in danger into a place of safety, or to seek an order to restrict an offender’s contact with children. The police service also has a significant role working with other agencies to ensure the child’s protection and well-being, longer term.
Inspectors were pleased to find:
- staff responsible for managing child abuse investigations were highly committed, knowledgeable, and dedicated to providing good outcomes for children;
- good management of registered sex offenders;
- neighbourhood officers with good knowledge of those who posed the highest risk to children;
- the force has delivered training for frontline officers and staff on vulnerability and safeguarding; and
- the force has good relationships with partner agencies and local safeguarding children’s boards.
However, inspectors were concerned to find:
- significant delays in some child protection investigations;
- a lack of supervisory oversight and management of cases;
- children were being unnecessarily detained in police custody overnight; and
- lack of awareness of child sexual exploitation in some parts of the force leading to an inconsistent response.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoë Billingham said:
“It is clear that that despite good work in many areas, Nottinghamshire Police needs to do more to improve its approach to protecting children.
“Staff managing child abuse investigations are dedicated, knowledgeable and hardworking. We found some areas of practice that are uniformly good, for example, the management of sex offenders.
However there is often a lack of effective supervision of child protection investigations, which sometimes results in unacceptable delays and an inconsistent approach across the force.
“We are also concerned to find that officers do not routinely check the welfare of children when investigating domestic abuse incidents.
“Another area of significant concern is in the detention of children in custody for their own protection under the mental health legislation. The most serious case we found was where a 16-year-old-girl had been detained in police custody for 44 hours, before custody staff realised that she had gone without food or water. It is essential that the force takes steps to ensure that this never happens again.
“I encourage Nottinghamshire Police to act on our recommendations as a matter of urgency, and I have asked that within six weeks it provides me with an action plan to demonstrate how it will take forward our recommendations for improvement”.
Over the next two years 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.
Get the report
- Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) is inspecting the child protection work of every police force in England and Wales. The reports are intended to provide information for the police, the police and crime commissioner (PCC) and the public on how well children are protected and their needs are met, and to secure improvements for the future.
- 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.
- For further information, HMIC’s press office can be contacted during office hours from 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday on 020 3513 0600.
- HMIC’s out-of-hours press office line for urgent media enquiries is 07836 217 729.