‘UK police mismanaged 1 in 3 of child abuse cases’
The British police force has been accused of mismanaging over one third of child abuse investigations since 2013, a report says.
The Inspectorate of Constabulary report by the British Police Watchdog, titled “In harm’s way: The role of the police in keeping children safe,” suggested a large number of cases had been neglected over the past two years.
The watchdog said in its report that the “level of child abuse and neglect is so high that it is difficult to process or comprehend.”
“We found limited evidence that the police listened to children, and poor attitudes towards vulnerable children persisted in some teams. We also found that investigations were often inadequate, with insufficient action taken to disrupt and apprehend some perpetrators,” the report added.
The investigations involved 576 cases across Norfolk, South Yorkshire, West Midlands, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Nottingham, Dyfed-Powys and West Mercia since 2013. The report said that 220 of the cases had received “inadequate” responses.
The watchdog said in its report that it had found “weaknesses and inconsistencies” in all levels of the British child protection system. The investigation also points to delays in the collection of data.
The watchdog warned that police forces risk failing yet another generation if they did not change their current approach.
The so-called Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) said it was “surprised” to find that some police officers had accused children of being responsible for crimes, instead of treating them as victims and preventing such instances from taking place in the first place.
The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) said the HMIC prioritized the protection of “vulnerable people” by all police forces.
“We are at a crossroads. We have got to fundamentally change our approach to policing so that our absolute focus is on working proactively with other agencies to protect the public from harm committed on or offline.”