PRAISE for Hampshire officers’ work in child protection is a testimony to how exceptionally hard they have worked in the face of cuts, Hampshire Police Federation has said.
HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services commended Hampshire Constabulary’s officers and staff for how they investigate child abuse, look after children in custody, and respond to higher risk missing children last month.
Garry Smith, Federation Secretary, said: “With the cuts that we had, I know that officers in those teams have been really under-resourced. I remember speaking to a sergeant who had left the team because she was really struggling. She said every single job that had to be allocated out to officers was serious, yet all the officers are already bogged down with serious stuff and they’ve got to prioritise.
“The strain of not having enough officers to do the job was really, really difficult because you know there’s a child victim at the end of every single one of those crimes who deserves a really prompt service, and the restrictions of numbers, all the cuts that we’ve faced, have made that difficult. That probably reinforces what an amazing job that department has done to get this recognition.”
The force was also praised for providing health and wellbeing support for officers and staff investigating horrific crimes that can be very psychologically damaging.
HMICFRS Inspector Roy Wilsher said the force was “good at working with other organisations, such as schools and social care services, to keep children safe”, and pointed out “many examples of good work by frontline officers responding to incidents involving children”.
Assistant Chief Constable Craig Dibdin praised officers and staff, saying it was especially welcome that their commitment and dedication to protect children and to get justice for victims in an increasingly complex and demanding environment was being acknowledged. He commended those in specialist teams and custody, and highlighted the force’s use of police protection powers and work with partner agencies.
The report can be seen here: National Child Protection: Hampshire Constabulary 7–18 June 2021 (justiceinspectorates.gov.uk)