Police in Gloucestershire are working hard to prioritise the protection of children, according to a post-inspection review published today by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
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A previous inspection had revealed that poor organisation had resulted in a lack of oversight in areas linked to child protection.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams said:
“I was pleased to find that Gloucestershire Constabulary has worked hard to improve the way it keeps children safe from harm. The Constabulary has redoubled its efforts since our last inspection and is taking on its child protection duties with a renewed focus.
“As a result of the force’s work, our post-inspection review identified some areas of improved practice. I was particularly pleased to see how frontline officers work with children affected by domestic abuse to make sure their voices are heard. The force’s training plan and focus on real-life scenario planning is equally encouraging, although we recognise it will take time for the learning to bed in.
“However, many of the measures have only recently been implemented and I found evidence that they have not yet translated into better outcomes for children. The results of our child protection case file audit show there is still much work to do.
“While there is clearly room for improvement, Gloucestershire Constabulary remains deeply committed to improving outcomes for children. I look forward to seeing how the force builds on its successes and addresses our remaining concerns.”
Inspectors were pleased to find Gloucestershire Constabulary has:
- launched Operation Guardian to improve training and supervision of the workforce, strengthen partnerships with other agencies and raise awareness of child protection;
- introduced an improved new computer system that makes the process of risk management more efficient and effective; and
- provided training to those who provide foster care, so they are better prepared to take in children who are denied bail.
However, inspectors were concerned to find that:
- the constabulary still needs to improve the consistency and quality of frontline practice and supervision;
- it has not increased resourcing in line with demand, meaning that the cumbersome and inefficient referral and information sharing processes in the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub found during the initial inspection have not improved (although the constabulary is aware of this and has a well-developed plan for improvement); and
- children detained in custody are left too long without the presence of an appropriate adult.
- 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.
- 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 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday on 020 3513 0600.
- HMICFRS’s out-of-hours press office line for urgent media enquiries is 07836 217729.
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