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Agencies still need better co-operation on child protection

Protection of vulnerable children is still suffering from a lack of co-operation between public agencies, the president of the Superintendents’ Association said today on the final day of the Police Federation conference.

Chief Superintendent Gavin Thomas called for more work to be done at government level to look at how a joined-up approach could be used to help vulnerable children and domestic abuse victims.

“It is only once a serious case review has been undertaken, that we as public agencies collectively understand who knew what, when and where, but if this information has been shared at the right time, in the right place between the right professionals, maybe just maybe that child, or victim of domestic violence may have survived and lived,” he said.

Chief Superintendent Thomas also warned that police officers were not receiving sufficient training for public protection.

A recent survey showed that 82% of police officers working in public protection received no training before starting their role, 48% had no previous experience of public protection and 70% had not received a health check before starting the job.

However, he said that the work of police units had significantly improved since the Bichard Enquiry, which looked at how information was shared between police forces following the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

Gareth Edwards of the National Police Chiefs’ Council said that the biggest growth area in crime is child protection and abuse, with an 88% increase in incidents reported to the police in the past year.

Central government temporarily took control of Rotherham District Council last year after an investigation found the council’s cabinet ‘not fit for purpose’ over systematic failings to investigate child abuse.

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