Sussex Police’s child protection services have improved, finds report

The way that Sussex Police manages child protection cases has improved over the past 12 months, according to a new report.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) previously inspected child protection work at Sussex Police in 2018, finding that while the force was generally performing to a high standard, there were some problems.

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Sussex – National child protection post-inspection review

Today’s follow-up report found that the force had since invested time and effort into improving its child protection services. Specific improvements included:

  • An effective internal communications campaign to raise awareness of child protection and safeguarding issues;
  • More comprehensive risk assessments for missing children (including the removal of the ‘no apparent risk’ category on force IT systems);
  • Establishing an action plan to assess the effectiveness of investigations; and
  • Better procedures for collating, accessing and sharing information.

However, today’s report said that some issues remain. For example, ‘prevention interviews’ with children who went missing (but are subsequently found) are not always carried out. Prevention interviews allow police to identify and act on triggers for a child’s disappearance and, in doing so, reduce the likelihood of an incident happen again.

HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoë Billingham said:

“Child protection work is one of a police force’s most important duties. Children, whether they are victims or offenders, present forces with particular challenges with regards to keeping them safe from harm.

“That is why I am pleased with the results of this inspection, which show that Sussex Police has improved how it looks after children. The force has taken action on the recommendations we issued to it last year, and their monthly Vulnerability Board closely monitors the results of internal audits. The force is clearly committed to long term sustainable changes that are effective in improving outcomes for children, and we saw how senior leaders have engaged effectively with their partners to improve child safeguarding practice.

“There is still room for further improvement, which the force recognises. We have highlighted areas where further work is needed to fully embed some of the changes we recommended.

“However, it is clear that the force’s senior leaders, and its officers and staff remain deeply committed to providing an excellent protection and safeguarding service for children. I look forward to seeing continuing improvement.”

Get the report

Sussex – National child protection post-inspection review


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. HMICFRS also inspects all 45 fire and rescue services in England.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. In 2018, HMICFRS published a report into Sussex Police’s child protection services. This report included a list of recommendations aimed at improving the service provided to children in the Sussex area.
  7. For further information, HMICFRS’s press office can be contacted from 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday on 020 3513 0600.
  8. HMICFRS’s out-of-hours press office line for urgent media enquiries is 07836 217729.