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Police have not made enough progress on child protection, says Crime Commissioner

Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has admitted that youngsters are at risk of falling between the cracks after a damning report into the way child protection is handled.

Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary warned that police risked “failing a new generation of children” if services were not reassessed.

Matthew Ellis, the area’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said the report showed the scale of the problem – but warned that the issues couldn’t just be solved by the police alone.

Matthew Ellis

Matthew Ellis

“This report sets out in the starkest terms the scourge that is child abuse in this country and it must act as yet another wakeup call for us all nationally,” he said.

“While the police have a role to play in dealing with this problem, we won’t succeed unless there is a much more joined up and effective approach to dealing with child abuse across all agencies involved in keeping kids safe.

“All too often children who are at risk are still in danger of falling between the cracks in the system, despite some good work by individual organisations and some very committed people.

“Let’s stop fooling ourselves that we have made enough progress on this. We have made some progress, but many organisations are still not learning the lessons of recent years.”

Mr Ellis has been a long-term advocate of using technology to improve policing and believes child protection services would benefit from an upgrade too.

He also highlighted how public bodies could not afford to “hide behind” data protection laws.

“The public services remain a decade or more behind on the use of modern tech to share information and enable collaboration,” said Mr Ellis. “Organisations are still mostly bogged down in red tape, an obsession with process and preciousness over who is leading.

“No-one is fully providing the leadership young people seek or is prepared to make the transformational change they need.

“If the public services continue try to hide behind laws such as the Data Protection Act and avoid risk, children will carry on suffering and those who conspire to harm them will escape justice.”

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