Mayor to oversee change in Met’s approach to keeping children safe

25 November 2016

In response to a highly critical report that has exposed significant failings in the way the Metropolitan Police work to protect children in London, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has set out a programme of action to ensure these deeply worrying and distressing failings are not repeated.

A comprehensive report from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), published today, has exposed serious failures in the way the Met interacts with vulnerable children. HMIC has identified poor practice in the police response to allegations of crimes against young people, in identifying clear signs of child sexual exploitation, and in dealing with missing children or children at risk.

In response, the Mayor has announced a detailed and wide-ranging action plan to address the failings, identified by the HMIC report. The plan includes:

- A new independent group of child protection experts and academics to drive the oversight and change necessary to ensure that children in our city are not let down when they are most vulnerable. The group will include Alex Marshall, from the College of Policing, and a representative from the National Police Chief’s Council.

- Dedicating a 'Justice Matters' public scrutiny session at City Hall on Monday to the HMIC report, as well as a new MOPAC study on sexual violence, with senior representation from the Met. Partners attending include the‎ National Probation Service, Women and Girls Network, Crown Prosecution Service, Survivors Trust and London Rehabilitation Company.

- Scrapping the previous Mayor’s overly crude crime reduction targets* which were strongly criticised by the HMIC in its report as having led to a greater focus on reducing certain neighbourhood crimes than upon child protection.

- Launching a new Police and Crime Plan for consultation in the coming weeks, ensuring the protection of vulnerable people, including children, is placed right at the heart of policing.

- Ensuring regular oversight of child protection in the Mayor's regular formal meetings with senior Met leaders.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I have discussed with the Home Secretary how we best address the findings identified in the HMIC report. Everybody needs to know that when a young person is in crisis the authorities are going to be there to help and protect them. This deeply troubling report has found that, too often, children in our city have been let down when they are most in need. This is simply unacceptable and things must change. These are complex and distressing cases, and it is absolutely essential that we get things right. Our new scrutiny group will ensure that improvements are made as we seek to do everything possible to help safeguard our most vulnerable Londoners.”

The Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden, said: “This comprehensive and deeply troubling report exposes serious failures to protect some of London’s most at-risk children, failures that must be addressed as soon as possible. I am encouraged by the commitment of the Met to ensure that lessons are learned and improvements are made to ensure that children and young people are offered the best possible protection and care. Our independent scrutiny group will play an important role in ensuring no stone is left unturned as we seek to ensure that we learn urgently from these findings‎."

It is the responsibility of the Mayor to oversee the Met police, and he and his Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden will continue to hold the Met to account over this important issue.

Notes to editors

Notes to editors:

* MOPAC 7 neighbourhood crimes. The previous Mayor focused on driving down crime by at least 20 per cent in seven key categories: burglary; vandalism/criminal damage; theft from motor vehicles; theft of motor vehicles; violence with injury, robbery; and theft from the person.