A report published today (Friday 30th August) by the Policing Inspectorate has identified that Merseyside Police have successfully implemented changes to improve its child protection services.
Last year Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) published its inspection into Merseyside Police as part of its National Child Protection Inspections.
The report, whilst highlighting the good work being undertaken by officers in relation to child protection, also made recommendations in relation to a number of its findings, including the management of sex offenders.
Since that report the HMICFRS has returned to the force and carried out a review of its initial findings, which have been published today.
This review identifies that Merseyside Police has taken significant steps to improve its child protection capabilities.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “I welcome this report which reviews Merseyside Police’s implementation of recommendations enhancing child protection. A huge amount of hard work has gone into embedding these improvements and it is pleasing that inspectors found these to be long-term, sustainable changes.
“I applaud the Force at all ranks for their effort in making these improvements so quickly and effectively.
“The safeguarding of children is a complex area of work which is continually evolving and developing. While this report contains lots of good news, there are still areas of improvement identified. I know there is no room for complacency. Changes and improvements in the way the force works to protect young people continue and I will monitor how the additional areas of work highlighted by inspectors, particularly in regards to child detention, are addressed through my own inspection meetings.
“The detention of children is rare but always closely monitored. There are physical infrastructure limitations but a collaborative approach with partners is very much key to resolving this.”
Merseyside Police Assistant Chief Constable Ian Critchley, said: "Merseyside Police is dedicated to the protection and safeguarding of children across the county and I fully acknowledge the review findings.
"I am grateful for the work we have done together with HMICFRS as we continue to develop our service regarding child protection.
"Prior to last year’s inspection the force had already carried out a self-assessment and had commenced work into many areas highlighted by the inspection team which was recognised by HMICFRS at the time.
"It’s pleasing to see that the review states the force ‘is clearly committed to providing a high quality service’ and that ‘it has in place clear governance procedures to provide proper oversight and scrutiny for its child protection work’ and this is testimony to the team effort at Merseyside Police and the work we do with our partners – protecting children from harm is the responsibility of us all.
"The HMICFRS has identified that further work is required regarding how the force manages the detention of children in custody facilities and we recognise there is still work to do with our partners to move this forward."
ACC Critchley added: "Protecting children, especially those who are most vulnerable, is one of the most important things we do as a police force and we will work tirelessly to ensure our service prevents as much harm as we possibly can and gives confidence to children and families in our service.
"The HMICFRS review says Merseyside Police has acted on the recommendations we made after the 2018 inspection.
"The force has used our findings to help it understand which factors affect the quality and consistency of its service to children. The force’s response to our recommendations aim for long-term, sustainable changes rather than temporary quick fixes.