Police in Lancashire have significantly improved the way they handle child protection cases, says a new report.
In March last year, a number of weaknesses were highlighted in Lancashire Police’s work in this area, including some methods of working which led to the risk of child protection opportunities being missed at the first opportunity.
But the latest report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) notes the force has taken significant steps to address the issues and to improve the protection of children.
The HMICFRS found the force had prioritised child protection by providing further training for all frontline officers and staff; introducing child protection coaches; rolling out the ‘Think Child’ internal awareness campaign; improved governance and management systems.
The inspectors said the force had worked hard to improve the culture of its workforce and that most officers understood their safeguarding responsibilities and were child focused.
They highlighted the ‘impressive’ commitment and dedication to change shown by the chief officer team.
The constabulary has plans in place to continue to improve in areas, namely where children are detained in custody, where children go missing and recording and supervision of cases.
Deputy Chief Constable Sunita Gamblin (inset) said: “I’m really pleased with the findings of the report which recognises the huge amount of hard work our officers and staff have done to improve how protect children - one of the most important things we do as a police force.”
come the significant steps taken by the Constabulary to ensure children are safeguarded and the ‘voice of the child’ is being heard.”
*** some of the constabulary’s basic processes for recording child protection incidents are weak;
many frontline officers see their responsibility for safeguarding children as limited to identifying children as vulnerable on the police system. This can result in missed opportunities to protect children at the earliest opportunity; and
overall, the service provided to children in need of help needs to improve.