Protecting our children must remain key as child abuse review continues
Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “Nothing matters more than protecting our children. As Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, I will continue to insist that the investigation of the handling of child abuse investigations by our police force is fully and thoroughly reviewed. The trauma of child abuse is almost unimaginable. Victims deserve the best and most professional support from Essex Police. People who abuse children must be brought to justice.
“As the review into the quality of child abuse investigations instigated by Essex Police progresses, regrettably I do not find it surprising that it has identified further cases of concern and fresh
referrals to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. It was essential that the review was
conducted, and it is equally essential that cases of concern are brought to the attention of the independent watchdog.
“It is distressing that the number of child abuse cases being referred has increased. I was aware of a third independent investigation by the IPCC into Essex Police’s handling of a rape allegation in 2011, and I was surprised at their decision not to include this in the announcement made on February 11, although it is not related to the North Child Abuse Investigation Team.
“I would stress that the number of cases being investigated independently or under the management of the IPCC still remains a small proportion of the total number of such cases investigated by Essex Police each year.
“I am convinced the force is making real efforts to identify and resolve problems with the quality of child abuse investigations. I am deeply committed to ensuring that the standard of professionalism of all investigations matches the standards of the best, and I am holding the Chief Constable to account for this.
“I want the public to continue to have confidence in Essex Police. Most cases of child abuse are investigated thoroughly and professionally. I strongly encourage anyone who feels their case may not have been properly investigated by Essex Police to contact the force on 101.
“The urgent review of child abuse investigations instigated by the Chief Constable will shortly be completed and will identify areas where Essex Police must revise their practice. I also hope that the IPCC will quickly identify any common strands or themes where investigations could have been better conducted. My judgement is that as soon as some of these common themes or strands are identified, then any other cases displaying some or all of those elements should be proactively and rapidly reviewed by the force, and by independent experts if necessary.”