A report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) found the protection and safeguarding of vulnerable children is not being given high enough priority by police due to a lack of awareness of the issue.
There is an “under-recognition and under-estimation of risk” regarding children across the police service. More than 1/3 of the 576 cases examined by HMIC inspectors across eight police forces were deemed "inadequate".
The report – In harm's way: the role of the police in keeping children safe – states its worries over the number of vulnerable children, such as those in care and with mental health problems, held in police custody, and the “weak support” often offered to children due to poor risk assessments.
HMIC said that on too many occasions, investigations into child abuse and neglect were delayed, while responses to reports of offences against children were not good enough.