Dorset Police needs to improve child protection

Dorset Police needs to improve how it keeps vulnerable children safe, despite a clear commitment from its leaders to prioritising child protection, a new report has found.

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Dorset – National child protection inspection

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) found examples of good work, including a good understanding of those children most at risk from exploitation, and the swift exchange of information with children’s social care services.

However, HMICFRS said in too many cases there were inconsistent practices and decision making.

The inspectorate made several recommendations, including that Dorset Police should immediately:

  • improve its management of registered sex offenders, including how it monitors offenders through home visits;
  • review its missing persons arrangements to ensure there is always an effective response to missing children; and
  • review its child protection and exploitation investigations, including improving the way cases are risk assessed and recorded.

Wendy Williams, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary said:

“Dorset Police’s leaders are clearly committed to prioritising and improving child protection, and we found evidence of good work by dedicated frontline officers. In particular, the force is good at working with other organisations – such as schools and social care services – to keep children safe.

“But there is more work to do to provide better outcomes for vulnerable children in Dorset, including improving how the force responds to reports of missing children, investigates online sexual exploitation, manages registered sex offenders, and treats children detained in custody.

“We are optimistic that Dorset Police can turn its commitment into tangible improvements for children. We have made several recommendations that, if acted on, should lead to better results for children, and we will revisit the force within six months to review its progress.”

Get the report

Dorset – National child protection inspection


  1. For further information, the HMICFRS Press Office can be contacted at 07836 217 729 or