West Yorkshire Police inspected on child protection
HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has today published an inspection report into the child protection work carried out by West Yorkshire Police, following an inspection in August 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:
- a clear commitment to improving child protection services;
- staff responsible for managing child abuse investigations were knowledgeable, committed and dedicated to providing the best outcomes for the child;
- officers responded quickly to clear and specific concerns about the immediate safety of children; and
- good relationships with partner agencies and local safeguarding children boards.
However, inspectors were concerned to find:
- in difficult, complex or prolonged cases the response was often weak, with delays in investigations;
- the response to child sexual exploitation was inconsistent across the force area;
- poor recording on police systems;
- children were being unnecessarily detained in police custody overnight; and
- a lack of a force-wide understanding of the demand generated by child protection issues.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Mike Cunningham said:
“West Yorkshire police is clearly committed to improving child protection services and its staff are dedicated and knowledgeable individuals, working to provide the best outcomes for the children of West Yorkshire.
“However there is more work to be done, particularly on the more difficult cases, to ensure that delays are reduced wherever possible and that instances of children being unnecessarily detained in police custody overnight are tackled.
“I encourage West Yorkshire Police to act on our recommendations as a matter of urgency, and have asked that within six weeks it provides us with an action plan to demonstrate how it will take forward these recommendations.”
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.
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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.
- 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