Thames Valley Police has some good child protection practices, but further improvements must be made
Thames Valley Police works well with other organisations but must improve the consistency of its service to ensure all children are protected, a new report has found.
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His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) found that Thames Valley Police has some good child protection practices with dedicated officers and staff who are committed to keeping children safe.
The inspectorate said good practice included how the force has built strong professional relationships with its partners and other safeguarding organisations and how specialist officers carry out child-centred investigations.
However, HMICFRS identified several areas which require improvement. These include:
- the governance of child protection is inconsistent and there are no clear reporting structures;
- the force does not consistently listen to and record the voice of the child;
- the force is not effectively investigating cases of child neglect;
- there is an unacceptable number of overdue visits to registered sex offenders;
- investigations to locate missing children are ineffective and not focused on risk; and
- the use of intelligence is not effective.
His Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Roy Wilsher said:
“During our inspection, we found that Thames Valley Police has a committed and dedicated workforce, often working in difficult and demanding circumstances.
“While we found some areas of effective practice, we also saw inconsistent practices and decision-making. In too many cases we examined, children weren’t being seen, their voices weren’t heard, and they weren’t being appropriately protected by the force.
“Thames Valley Police needs to ensure that its commitment to improving the service leads to better results, and it provides a consistently good service for all children.
“We have made a range of recommendations which, if acted on, will help improve outcomes for children. We will continue to work closely with the force to monitor its progress.”