Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) report into Child Protection, published today, March 8th 2018, makes for difficult reading for Lancashire Constabulary.
We are determined to work hard and make the changes needed to continue to keep our children safe.
Children are among the most vulnerable in society and their welfare is a priority for us and all our partners.
We have been working closely with the HMICFRS since the inspection and appreciate the time and effort they have taken to look at this most complex and growing area of work.
Our aim is to provide the best possible protection to children and we are sorry that this has not always been the case, especially, to the children involved in the examples highlighted in this report.
Lancashire Constabulary’s Deputy Chief Constable Sunita Gamblin said: “I take the findings of this inspection extremely seriously and I fully acknowledge that the Constabulary has a lot of work to do to improve in this critical area. This work has already begun.
"Protecting children, especially those who are most vulnerable, is one of the most important things we do as a police force and we are determined to improve and we have a clear commitment to do so as a matter of urgency.
"Since the HMIC inspection we have revisited all the cases they examined. We have identified no further harm to children and no further offenders have been charged or cautioned as a result.
"I welcome the fact that the inspectors recognised our clear commitment to child protection and the dedication of our staff who are working hard to improve outcomes for children, but I know there is much more to do.
"We will use this report as a launch pad for a force-wide movement to change the approach to child protection to ensure that every member of staff is a safeguarder, no matter what their policing role.
"To help take this forward we are investing significantly in investigation and safeguarding.
"Since the inspection we have been working tirelessly to address the issues raised by the inspectors and we have already developed a Child Protection Action Plan for 2018, which I hope demonstrates our understanding of the work to be undertaken and our determination to improve Child Protection in Lancashire.
"For example we have commissioned a significant programme of training to frontline staff with the ambition of delivering this to officers and police staff within the next year. This training is bespoke and delivered by a mix of surviving victims of child abuse and other experts, in an effort to raise awareness of child protection, increase the ability of staff to engage with children and place the ‘voice of the child’ at the centre of child protection within Lancashire.
"We are working hard to improve in this vital area and will continue to do so until we can deliver an outstanding service to the children and young people within Lancashire."