Northamptonshire - National child protection inspection assessment of progress
Protecting children is one of the most important tasks the police undertake. Only the police can investigate suspected crimes, arrest perpetrators and monitor 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.
We inspected Northamptonshire Police’s child protection services in 2018 as part of our National child protection inspections rolling programme of all police forces in England and Wales. This inspection raised a number of serious concerns about how the force protected children, in particular:
- how it managed violent and sexual offenders;
- responding to missing children;
- the quality of its child protection investigations; and
- significant backlogs of electronic devices requiring examination was leading to delays.
Following this inspection, in March 2019 HMICFRS conducted a post-inspection review to assess the progress the force had made against our recommendations from the previous year. Although the force had made a number of changes, we found that overall progress since our initial inspection was slow and the force was not yet effectively managing risk.
Due to these concerns, HMICFRS carried out a third inspection between November and December 2020 of the force’s child protection arrangements. This report sets out our findings.