Keeping London’s children safe
Keeping London’s children safe: The Met’s role in safeguarding children
The Metropolitan Police unit responsible for investigating allegations of rape and sexual assault against children is being stretched by a significant increase in the number of reported incidents.
The Police and Crime Committee report found that from 2009/10 to 2013/14 the number of alleged child rapes and sexual assaults against children rose by 34 per cent to 583 allegations of child rape and 1803 allegations of sexual assault. In the last year alone allegations of these serious offenses rose by well over 10%.
Over the same five year period the number of police officers dedicated to investigating sexual offences, including those against adults, exploitation and child abuse has risen by 22% to 966 officers but despite the extra financial resource committed, the Met has not yet filled all of these posts.
While the report recognises significant improvements in the way the Met approaches child protection, including improved cooperative working with many other agencies, it calls for increases in the number of officers dedicated to tackling the one third increase in reported cases of the sexual abuse of children in London.
Some of the recommendations the report makes to the Met and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) include;
The Met should appoint sufficiently senior officers with the authority to direct resources to Multi Agency Safeguarding Hubs (MASH) and explore closer working between the MASH and Child Abuse Investigation Teams
Within the next year the Met should review the evidence and impact of the Child Sexual Exploitation Protocol (CSE) on reporting and identification of CSE in London and the level of resource dedicated to tackling CSE
MOPAC and the Met should conduct a mapping exercise to understand the nature of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) within different communities in London, to identify which children are at risk, and to establish the extent to which FGM is practised in the capital in order to target resources
MOPAC should set out a clear performance monitoring framework for holding the Met to account on their safeguarding children duties