PCC Philip Wilkinson responds to today’s publication of HMICFRS’ National Child Protection Inspection report which concluded Wiltshire Police’s child protection arrangements aren’t consistently providing a good enough response to effectively safeguard children in Wiltshire.
Mr Wilkinson said: “Protecting and safeguarding children from harm is a fundamental role for any policing service and it saddens me greatly that this hasn’t been consistently provided in Wiltshire.
“While progress has been made since the inspection took place, this report has highlighted Wiltshire Police has serious work to do to ensure it is proactively protecting children and subsequently providing a quality service to child victims when they need it too.
“The themes within this report are consistent with those identified by PEEL and work is underway to address them. I am confident the Force have identified the areas which need work and are progressing against each of the recommendations.
“However, we cannot underestimate how reports like today’s chip away at the confidence the public have in their police force. Residents need to know the police will be there when they need them, that they will do a good job investigating, support them as victims and ensure perpetrators are bought to justice as a result.
“I am providing the scrutiny and challenge to the Chief Constable to ensure improvements are delivered, as well as supporting him by making the necessary investments to try and counter the situation the Force currently finds itself in. This year there has been precept-funded investment in additional training and boosting the numbers within the child internet exploitation team, as well as in the child abuse investigation team.
“The Force is also looking at how it responds to victims, especially child victims and how it handles safeguarding issues and multi-agency responses.
“My office regularly holds performance and accountability sessions with the Force’s senior leadership to ensure progress and delivery against HMIC recommendations in both of its latest reports. The latest police and crime plan sets the policing strategies which allows Wiltshire Police to deliver their core policing role without getting wrapped up in excessive governance and national policing issues.
“I have set an expectation the concerns highlighted in today’s report are looked at in parallel with the earlier PEEL recommendations so I would expect Wiltshire Police to be able to demonstrate improvement and change in these areas in the same timeframes as set out by HMICFRS, this will contribute to enabling the Force to exit ‘special measures’ in the shortest time possible.”
The report is available in full here.
Published Friday 5 August 2022