West Yorkshire Police has made improvements to how it protects children, however there are still some areas of concern
HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has today published a post-inspection review on the child protection work carried out by West Yorkshire 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 an initial report in August 2014, on the child protection work of West Yorkshire Police. This found that there were areas of concern that meant children were not receiving the service they deserve, although the force was clearly committed to improving its child protection work.
HMIC carried out a post-inspection review in August 2015, and was pleased to find:
- a continued commitment to improving outcomes for children who are at risk from harm, with evidence of some positive developments;
- the force had significantly increased the number of officers and staff in the public protection units;
- the force had established multi-agency safeguarding hubs with partner agencies;
- the force had established child sexual exploitation teams to investigate allegations of non-recent sexual abuse.
However, inspectors were concerned to find:
- recording standards remained very poor;
- children continued to be detained unnecessarily in police custody;
- there were delays in the provision of specialist medical examinations of children;
- important information about children was not always available to frontline officers; and
- the force was not recording the views of children in child protection matters
HM Inspector of Constabulary Mike Cunningham said:
“Following our post-inspection review in 2015, we found that there is a continued commitment by the force to improve how it protects children. There has been an increase in the number of officers in public protection units, and the force has established specialist teams to tackle child sexual exploitation. The force has also established working arrangements with partner agencies to ensure child protection services are joined-up. Despite these improvements however, there are some important areas the force still isn’t getting right.
“In 2014 HMIC recommended the force improve how frontline officers record child protection issues. HMIC has concerns that the force has made no progress against this recommendation. As a result, officers are still failing to properly record concerns about children and refer cases to social services where necessary.
“The force also needs to improve its understanding of why it detains children in custody. Although there was some good practice in this area, five of the seven cases inspectors looked at, where a child was detained in custody, were judged to require improvement.
“I expect the force to implement our recommendations from 2014 in full. I would also like to see the force carry out a review of the effect these changes are having on the on the quality of its frontline child protection services.”
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. So far, HMIC has published reports on:
- Nottinghamshire Police post inspection review – published February 2016
- Dyfed-Powys Police post inspection review – published January 2016
- West Mercia Police post inspection review – published January 2016
- Surrey Police – published December 2015
- West Midlands Police follow up inspection – published December 2015
- Norfolk Police – published October 2015
- Devon and Cornwall Police – published September 2015
- South Wales Police post inspection review– published July 2015
- West Mercia Police – published February 2015
- Dyfed-Powys Police – published February 2015
- Nottinghamshire Police – published February 2015
- West Yorkshire Police – published January 2015
- Greater Manchester Police – published December 2014
- West Midlands Police– published October 2014
- South Yorkshire Police – published September 2014
- Norfolk Constabulary – published August 2014
- 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 NCP 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.
- 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.