The Met now has a better understanding of child protection cases – but there are still too many delays and poor outcomes for children, finds HMICFRS inspection
The Metropolitan Police Service leadership team has shown commitment to improving its service to vulnerable children, but this now needs to lead to better outcomes, a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) into the force’s child protection capability warns today.
Get the report
Following our critical report in 2016, inspectors were encouraged to see that the Metropolitan Police Service has continued to make improvements to how it protects children in some important areas. However, outcomes for children at risk of harm have not consistently improved. The force now needs to focus its efforts on children who are at risk of harm today, and not simply wait for improvements to structures and processes to filter down to the frontline.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr said:
“Since our 2016 inspection, the Met has taken some significant steps to improve its safeguarding practice for vulnerable children. This has resulted in better and more effective oversight of child protection practices across the force, but oversight isn’t everything. We remain concerned about the current service the Met provides, given the extreme vulnerability of many of the children who come into contact with the force.
“There has not been enough improvement to the actual protection provided to all children. We also have significant concerns about the Met’s approach to tackling online child abuse and exploitation. Limited capacity in specialist teams, backlogs and resourcing pressures have all led to the force being overwhelmed by cases and not able to provide the service victims need and deserve. Although we recognise that the increase in online exploitation of children is a national problem, we have made a further recommendation for the Met to address in this area.
“The Met’s better understanding of child protection cases across London must now result in quicker, more significant and more sustained improvements in the experiences of children who need help and protection.”
We will revisit the Metropolitan Police Service within a year to assess progress. This will allow the force to complete its major restructure and to continue work against our previous recommendations.
Get the report
- HMICFRS is inspecting the child protection work of every police force in England and Wales. The reports provide information for the police, the police and crime commissioner 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, HMICFRS 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.
- In 2016, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) published a highly critical report of the Metropolitan Police Service’s (MPS’s) child protection practices. This included a series of recommendations aimed at improving the service provided to children in the London area.
- Because of the severity of the failings we found in 2016, the Home Secretary commissioned us to publish quarterly reports over the course of 2017, setting out the progress made by the MPS in improving its practices. In the fourth of these reports (published February 2018), we concluded that progress had been made in some important areas – but this had not translated into consistently good outcomes for children in London. We therefore committed to further reinspection activity in 2018.
- 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.
- On 19 July 2017, HMIC took on responsibility for fire & rescue service inspections and was renamed HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services.
- HMICFRS is an independent inspectorate, inspecting policing and fire & rescue services in the public interest. It assesses and reports on the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces and fire & rescue services.
- HMICFRS inspects all 43 police forces in England and Wales together with other major policing and law enforcement bodies. It also inspects all 45 fire and rescue services in England.
- For further information, HMICFRS’s press office can be contacted from 9:00am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday on 020 3513 0600.
- HMICFRS’s out-of-hours press office line for urgent media enquiries is 07836 217729.