PCC orders review to help keep children safe

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PREVENTING harm, abuse and neglect must be and remain at the heart of policing, Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner has said.

Simon Hayes spoke out at the annual Local Safeguarding Children Boards conference.

Mr Hayes said there needs to be a focus on ensuring children are believed and initial procedures support the welfare of victims.

He said there are no barriers to prosecution, enabling victims to properly access justice in a timely manner.

Mr Hayes also stressed that all partners have a responsibility to protect vulnerable children and the need for every single police officer, police community support officer and police staff member in Hampshire Constabulary to understand their individual responsibility to protect and safeguard vulnerable young people and prevent crises.

Mr Hayes said: ‘Protecting children and the most vulnerable members of our society goes to the heart of policing responsibilities. Because of this I’ve requested the Chief Constable to undertake an in-depth review into the historic situation across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight from 1997 to 2013. This will involve children’s social services departments from the four top tier councils in the constabulary area.

‘I’m pleased that all four Local Safeguarding Children Boards across our area will have oversight and involvement in this work.’

It will consider whether neighbourhood teams and response officers have understood, and are proactively identifying children vulnerable to sexual exploitation.