Merseyside Police has taken "significant steps" to improve its child protection capabilities, says report

Merseyside Police has successfully implemented changes designed to improve its child protection services, according to a new report.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) previously inspected the force’s child protection work in 2018. It found that, while the force was generally performing well, there were several problems. It issued the force with a list of recommendations for improvement and committed to undertaking a follow-up inspection.

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Merseyside – National child protection post-inspection review

Today’s report, Merseyside Police: National Child Protection Post-Inspection Review, found that the force has made the following improvements since the 2018 inspection:

  • An increased emphasis on observing and responding to the needs of children in domestic abuse cases.
  • Better management of registered sex offenders (resulting from increased investment in this area and improved briefing practices to neighbourhood policing teams on high and very-high risk offenders).
  • Increased use of technology for safeguarding purposes, such as the automatic provision of relevant data to frontline officers, and the establishment of a Vulnerable Persons Referral Unit.
  • Improved investigations into child protection and exploitation cases (for example better allocation processes and standardised recording practices).

HMICFRS praised the force for making these changes, and acting on the 2018 recommendations, in a manner which aims for long-term, sustainable changes rather than temporary quick fixes.

However, the report noted continuing concerns around how the force manages the detention of children in custody facilities.

HM Inspector of Constabulary Phil Gormley said:

“It is crucial that police forces understand the needs of children so that they are able to provide the best possible service to these groups.

“I am very pleased with the results of this latest inspection into Merseyside Police’s child protection capabilities. We found that the force has taken significant steps to implement the recommendations we issued in our previous report.

“The force is clearly committed to providing a high-quality service. It has in place clear governance procedures to provide proper oversight and scrutiny for its child protection work.

“It is important to recognise, however, that there is still work to do. We were disappointed to see that the force’s detention of child offenders still requires improvement.

“However, given the force’s undeniable improvements in other areas, as well as its continuing commitment to child protection matters, I am confident that it has the will and ability to successfully address these concerns.”

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Merseyside – National child protection post-inspection review


  1. HMICFRS is an independent inspectorate, inspecting policing and fire and rescue services in the public interest. It assesses and reports on the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces and fire and rescue services.
  2. HMICFRS inspects all 43 police forces in England and Wales together with other major policing and law enforcement bodies. It also publishes data and thematic reports on areas of particular interest. It also inspects all 45 fire and rescue services in England.
  3. Under the National Child Protection Inspection (NCPI) programme, HMICFRS assesses how effectively each force in England and Wales safeguards children and young people at risk, makes recommendations to forces for improving child protection practice, highlights effective practice in child protection work and drives improvements in forces’ child protection practice.
  4. 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
  5. In 2018, HMICFRS published a report into Merseyside Police’s child protection services. This report included a list of recommendations aimed at improving the service provided to children in the Merseyside area.
  6. For further information, HMICFRS’s press office can be contacted from 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday on 020 3513 0600.
  7. HMICFRS’s out-of-hours press office line for urgent media enquiries is 07836 217729.