Improvements made to the way Wiltshire Police protects children

By Jamie Hill - 15 September 2023


Earlier this year, His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) revisited the Wiltshire Police following a National Child Protection Inspection last year.

Although the 2022 inspection found several aspects of effective practice, it concluded that the police needed to make fundamental changes in order to improve some areas of our child protection practices.

The revisit, which was not graded, gave the force the opportunity to demonstrate improvements the force have made at each stage of our interactions with children.

HMICFRS have now published their post-inspection review which recognises the good work the teams have started in this area and acknowledged a number of improvements.

Assistant Chief Constable Deb Smith said: “Protecting children is one of the most important things that we do, so I am pleased this updated report acknowledges the improvements we have worked hard to implement.

“Following our inspection in this area last year, we took prompt and comprehensive action to address a number of issues. This included a significant investment in and delivery of enhanced training across the organisation – from our call handlers knowing what signs of vulnerability to spot in children right through to over half our organisation receiving intensive training around domestic abuse -specifically on the impacts of domestic abuse on children.

“We have reintroduced detective roles back into our Child Abuse Investigation Teams and we’ve invested in our auditing functions so we have a richer understanding of the quality of our investigation work.

“As an organisation, we are determined to improve our service and deliver improved justice outcomes.”

In relation to areas requiring further development, HMICFRS have outlined that further focus is required in relation to missing children and domestic abuse incidents involving children. Also, that the police need to better understand our demand and the resources  available.

Wiltshire Police agree with these reflections and have been working hard to improve in these areas after the HMICFRS gave an interim update earlier in the summer.

ACC Smith said: “Although there are many green shoots of positive practice within this report, we will not become complacent and we will continue to invest in and prioritise the way we protect children and vulnerable people.”

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