Lincolnshire Police Assistant Chief Constable, Paul Gibson, has responded to calls from the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) for police forces to guarantee that they are ‘putting children at the heart’ of their policing mission.
The NSPCC’s demands follow the publication of a broadly positive report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) yesterday.
‘We want a guarantee from all police forces that they are putting children at the heart of their mission to keep us all safe.’NSPCC spokesman
A spokesman from the charity said: “With recorded child sex offences at an all-time high it’s clear that police have a mammoth task on their hands but this must not be allowed to have an impact on child protection.
“This report makes clear that more can be done by Lincolnshire Police to tackle child sexual exploitation.
“Prioritising this horrendous crime and making improvements to how offences are identified and dealt with will better protect young lives.
“We want a guarantee from all police forces that they are putting children at the heart of their mission to keep us all safe.”
In response, Assistant Chief Constable Paul Gibson said that significant work is being done to tackle the issues surrounding child sexual exploitation, grooming, and similar issues.
Mr Gibson said that the areas identified by HMIC as ‘requiring improvement’ have been addressed and improved since the inspection.
He continued: “We carried out work last year, which was well publicised, to adjust our resources and diverted about fifty officers and staff to emerging issues which include on-line grooming, child sexual exploitation, missing person and domestic abuse.
“This programme of work has continued this year, by increasing the number of analysts we employ in order to further enhance our understanding of the scale of the problem with regard to missing persons and child sexual exploitation within Lincolnshire.
“We set up the new and specialist sections to address these specific areas of concern and as they establish themselves within the structure of the organisation I believe their activities will lead to improvements in the way we deal with child sexual exploitation and missing people.”
Mr Gibson added that call takers in the Force Control Room have a structured and standardised way of assessing the urgency and importance of first calls about incidents, which is designed to improve efficiency and effectiveness and also make optimum use of time. He said: “The knock-on effect is that it gives frontline officers the time to focus on intelligence-led and proactive policing. This simple procedure ensures our call takers are constantly aware of the potential vulnerability of callers and prioritise in the most efficient and appropriate way.”
“Protection of people from harm is an absolute priority of ours and we constantly review our procedures to ensure that we learn from any shortcomings and constantly strive to provide a high quality service to those who need it most.
“We have received three good gradings from HMIC for our effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy within the past twelve months. This shows considerable progress, but we will always continue to strive to improve the services we provide to the people of Lincolnshire.”
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