Changes have been made to address recommendations from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Service (HMICFRS), after their inspection into Derbyshire Constabulary’s child protection arrangements.
The report comes following their visit in May 2021 which highlighted some key areas where the force needed to improve. These included:
- Information sharing with partner agencies
- Culture and training
- Online child protection
- Dealing with missing people and exploitation
Chief Constable Rachel Swann said: “My officers and staff work extremely hard and are committed to keeping people safe and working with our partners to reduce the threat of harm to the public.
“HMICFRS inspected us earlier this year and highlighted some areas of work which needed urgent change. As Chief Constable, I am accountable for ensuring our service to the public is the best it can be and as such we have responded to their recommendations and taken swift action.
“I welcome the independent scrutiny, which has shown that there are areas where collectively we have got to do better, and it is my responsibility to put things in place to enable officers and staff to achieve these improvements.
“New and refresher training is happening across the force as a priority, and we are having regular dialogue with our partners, to ensure that our processes are effective and where possible we are seeking to co-locate our staff to improve communication and joint working.
“Since the inspection, we have made changes in our governance arrangements, and vulnerability is a key priority, placed at the heart of what we do.
“The inspection identified some areas of business where we were working in silos, which meant that the public received a different level of service depending on where they lived. Work is ongoing to address this, ensuring that no matter where in Derbyshire you reside, the same approach is taken, and people know what to expect.
“I recognise that there are things that we can improve. We have recruited more detectives to support the workload of the frontline, and we are developing a joint action plan with our partners, to ensure we are all addressing the same risks.
“We have changed our approach and attitude to dealing with online child protection, focusing on identifying and safeguarding victims first and foremost, and we have bolstered our resources, which is already helping to reduce an outstanding backlog and improve the quality of investigations. Face to face visits with sex offenders have resumed, having been constrained during the Covid19 lockdown, and systems are being checked to ensure a wider scope of intelligence is available.
“All the steps we have taken seek to ensure we are listening to the voice of the child, understanding the risks posed to them and that we are providing a consistent level of service. As police officers and staff, it is our job to protect and keep people safe from harm. We are committed to continuing to improve and we are working hard to ensure that when the public need us, we are there.”