Is the Met’s approach to safeguarding London’s children working?

12 February 2014

This meeting took place on 13 February 2014. Read the transcript here.

The London Assembly will tomorrow begin a review of the Metropolitan Police’s approach to safeguarding children in the capital.

In 2012/13 the Met received 18,576 allegations and investigated 8,814 crimes involving the ill treatment of children. [1]

Following a number of high profile cases and reviews [2] revealing systemic failings across a range of public sector services, the Met established the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command (SOECA) in June 2013 to investigate all situations of ill treatment of children, including physical and emotional abuse, infanticide and child homicide.

The review will look at what improvements in safeguarding have been made following the establishment of SOECA and how the recommendations of the Laming and Munro reviews have been implemented.

It will also assess how the roll out of multi-agency safeguarding hubs (MASH) is working to ensure adequate sharing of information between the various agencies involved in child protection, and examine whether the Met has sufficient resources to fulfil its role in safeguarding London’s children.

Caroline Pidgeon AM, who is chairing the investigation, said:

“The Met have a central role to play in protecting London’s children, by definition the most vulnerable in our society, from neglect, assault, abuse and rape.

“Far too often headlines about cases of child abuse have a familiar ring, information isn’t adequately shared between agencies, warning signs are missed and under-resourced staff fail to step in before tragedy occurs.

“Our review will look at the progress the Met have made in addressing these systemic flaws, check that the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime is building on the work of its predecessor, the Metropolitan Police Authority, and make recommendations for improvements in the safeguarding of London’s children.”

The first meeting of the Police and Crime Committee Safeguarding Working Group will question the following guests:

From 10am safeguarding children in London – priorities and challenges

  • Sue Berelowitz, Deputy Children’s Commissioner, Office of the Children’s Commissioner;
  • Kathy Evans, Chief Executive, Children England;
  • Rosie Winstanley, Assistant Director Children’s Services, Barnados; and
  • Malcolm Ward, Independent Social Work, Training and Child Protection Consultant.

From approx. 11am: the response in London – the role of the MPS and multi-agency working

  • Dave Sanders, Chair of the pan-London Local Safeguarding Children Board Chairs’ Group;
  • Lee Hopkins, Children Services Manager, London Borough of Merton;
  • Jeanne King, London MASH Operational Delivery Group;
  • Dominic Clout, Chair, Camden Safeguarding Children Board; and
  • Detective Chief Superintendent Keith Niven, SOECA, Metropolitan Police Service.

The meeting will take place on Thursday, 13 February from 10am in The Chamber at City Hall (The Queen’s Walk, London SE1).

Media and members of the public are invited to attend. The meeting can also be viewed via webcast.

Notes to editors

  1. For a more detailed figures, including borough breakdowns see MQ 51/2013
  2. Lord Laming (2009) The Protection of Children in England: A progress Report and Department of Education (2011) The Munro Review of Child Protection .
  3. The Police and Crime Committee is responsible for examining the activities of the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime and investigating matters it considers to be of importance to policing and crime reduction in London.
  4. The Police and Crime Committee is established under s32 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011.
  5. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.