Nottinghamshire Police is making some progress on how it protects children, but there are still important areas for improvement
HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has today published a follow-up report on the child protection work carried out by Nottinghamshire Police.
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As part of a rolling programme of child protection inspections of all police forces in England and Wales, HMIC published a report in February 2015 on the child protection work of Nottinghamshire Police. This found that despite a clear commitment to protecting children, there were areas of concern that meant children were not receiving the service they deserve. HMIC carried out a post inspection review in August 2015.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoë Billingham said:
“Since our initial inspection in September 2014, Nottinghamshire Police has made a clear commitment to improving the services it provides to children. In particular, it has improved procedures for considering children’s welfare when attending domestic abuse incidents, and improved the supervision of missing children cases.
“Despite this commitment, there are still some areas that the force needs to improve upon. We were concerned to find that non-specialist staff were investigating cases without receiving the training they need to manage these effectively. We also found examples of poor supervision of investigations leading to unacceptable delays, which can leave opportunities for perpetrators to continue offending. For example one case we looked at concerned the investigation into a 14-year-old girl’s sexual relationship with a 21-year-old man. It took six months for the initial investigation work to be completed, and a significant delay before the suspect was arrested. During this period, two further offences relating to the suspect, involving the exchange of indecent images with other teenage children, were reported to other forces.
“On a more positive note, we were pleased to find that, following our recommendations in February 2015, the force had taken steps to ensure that children were not detained in custody under section 136 of the Mental Health Act. Although this is to be commended, the force still has not reduced the number of children being detained unnecessarily in police custody overnight when they should have been transferred to alternative accommodation. This still needs to improve.”
“We expect the force to continue its work to implement our recommendations from 2014, and we have also recommended the force gives full consideration to conducting reviews of children in custody.”
Key findings from the report:
- Nottinghamshire Police is committed to improving the way it protects children. Progress had been made to implement some of the recommendations from HMIC’s inspection in September 2014.
- The force had taken steps to improve its response when attending domestic abuse incidents. However, limited training and guidance has been provided to frontline staff about the importance of consistently recording the effect of exposure to domestic abuse on a child’s welfare.
- Nottinghamshire Police had improved supervision of incidents where children had been reported missing from home. However, other cases were handled less well with poor management and inadequate supervisory oversight of child sexual exploitation investigations.
- Nottinghamshire Police had improved the timeliness of responses to child protection referrals. However, attendance at initial child protection case conferences had not improved which means important information about a child may not be shared with partners.
- Nottinghamshire Police has taken significant steps to ensure that no child had been detained in police custody under section 136 of the Mental Health Act since April 2015. However, children and young people were still being detained unnecessarily in police custody overnight.
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- 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.
- 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.
- Follow up activity by HMIC 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. HMIC aims to revisit each force no later than six months after the publication of the initial NCPI inspection report to assess how it is managing the implementation of the recommendations.
- 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.
- 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.