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PCC responds to HMIC report into Essex Police Child Protection

A REPORT into Essex Police Child Protection has been published by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary.

Following the publication of the report Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex Nick Alston has released the following statement:

Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “I have said before that nothing is more important than protecting our children. I still firmly believe this and it remains an absolute priority for the Chief Constable and me. Victims must be at the heart of all we do. Given this, the latest inspection report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) into Child Protection in Essex Police makes for both difficult and disappointing reading.

“No Chief Constable or PCC wants to hear that their force is considered to be inadequately protecting at-risk children due to “widespread serious and systemic failings”. The public of Essex will be rightly concerned at hearing this.

“However it is important to place the findings of this report into context. Essex Police has a clear understanding of the problems highlighted and has made great strides to resolve issues and learn from them. It was Essex Police itself that identified the scale of the issues in late 2014 after which it introduced a comprehensive improvement programme. Significant progress has been made in the six months since HMIC inspectors visited.

“Historically, both nationally and in Essex, there has been an under investment in detective training which has led to a workforce that has become de-skilled. Until last year, the quality of specialist child abuse investigation training for detectives nationally was poor. This is not where British policing should be in this day and age, let alone Essex Police.

“In Essex detectives are now receiving this specialist training, frontline officers have undergone public protection training and – at vulnerability training conferences held by the force – many staff and officers have heard first-hand from a survivor of child abuse about how policing can help and how it can go wrong. Essex Police has tackled this training gap head on, but it would be fanciful to suggest that such specialist skills can be learnt in a short space of time.

“My own office has also commissioned sexual abuse support services to ensure victims receive consistent support across the county and I have continued to drive partnership working, as we all have a responsibility to ensure child sexual abuse and the trauma it causes is tackled as professionally as possible in our county.

“Despite the very disappointing news today, I know that day by day, Essex police officers continue to handle many cases well, and for that they have my full support. As Police and Crime Commissioner I will continue to support and challenge the Chief Constable in improving the performance of Essex Police in protecting the most vulnerable in our communities and will work in partnership with other agencies to keep our children safe, as nothing is more important.”

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PFCC for Essex, Kelvedon Park, London Road, Rivenhall, Witham, Essex, CM8 3HB
01245 291600

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