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Two forces urged to improve child protection training by HMI

But Cheshire and City of London have been praised for improvements in safeguarding and custody referrals

Cheshire and City of London were ordered to improve training for officers – including how to deal with online harm and child exploitation.

The findings followed re-inspections into child protection work carried out last year. Both had previously been given specific issues to address.

They were praised for their commitment and improvements made since.

Cheshire was praised for its responses to domestic abuse incidents where children have been witnesses and safeguarding referrals.

City of London Police has improved the way it protects vulnerable children and how custody staff refer detained children to children’s social care services.

The force has also made gains on using data systems to improve awareness for response officers.

It now updates intelligence records about high risk children who live in the force area and the Met adds homes in the City of London where children are on child protection plans to its CAD system.

But both forces now need to step up on specific issues.

Cheshire needs to progress some investigations into children sexual exploitation and ensuring all frontline officers deployed to incidents involving children have the expertise to manage them.

City of London must now make sure staff are trained to recognise vulnerability and are able to respond to all forms of online child abuse.

HM Inspector Matt Parr said: “Cheshire recognises that it isn’t providing the level of response and quality of service that children in Cheshire require, and the leadership team is clearly committed to improving.”

Mr Parr added: “We have highlighted several areas for improvement which, if acted on, will help improve outcomes for children in the City of London.”

The reviews were carried out last year and HMI acknowledged chiefs were aware of the issues and already working on improvements.

Detective Chief Superintendent Gareth Lee, head of Cheshire’s Public Protection and Criminal Justice team, said: “We have addressed some of the recommendations, including introducing a new public protection structure that will help us better manage and respond to child protection issues across the county.

“We’ve recruited more officers into our specialist online child abuse team, which only last month cracked down on this activity by arresting 28 people for suspected online paedophilia, and safeguarding 24 children in the process.”

City of London welcomed the findings that showed improvements made already.

Assistant Commissioner Paul Betts said: “Work is already underway on the other areas identified by this report and we will continue to move at pace in making those improvements identified by this post-inspection review, such as training, ensuring risk management plans are improved and working with our local authority to improve the timeliness of access to appropriate adults.”

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