29 March, 2022

Commissioner responds to National Child Protection Inspection of North Yorkshire Police

Zoë Metcalfe – Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire and the City of York
North Yorkshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe has responded to the National Child Protection Inspection of North Yorkshire Police, conducted by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, which has been published today.

Commissioner Zoë said:

“All children deserve to grow up in a safe environment, cared for and protected from harm. But too many do not, and our police forces have an important role in identifying those who are vulnerable, protecting them and meeting their needs. That is why we need to be candid in acknowledging that what this report has found is unacceptable.

“It is clear that sometimes not enough has been done to ensure that North Yorkshire Police can show that vulnerable children are as protected as they should be in North Yorkshire and York, and all too often the failings come despite the best efforts of those who have a policing role to safeguard them.

“As a new Commissioner, now responsible for scrutinising the work of the North Yorkshire Police, that is a serious concern. I know that is a view shared by the force’s leadership, and I am sure it will be a concern across the organisation and beyond.

“It is important to note that the report does say there is evidence that improvements were underway in November 2021 when the inspection took place, and I have been assured those have continued at pace, so many of the issues identified are now in the process of being addressed. Measures are in place to ensure there is a robust framework in place to track and review this progress. I and my team will closely monitor and review what happens next.

“I have also met with local authority partners who have offered their full support to North Yorkshire Police in addressing the report’s findings and ensuring that children are kept safe in the city and the county. North Yorkshire Police have also set out their commitment to me to ensure officers and staff are provided with the skills, capability and capacity to do their job well.

“I think it is important that the findings of this inspection are not seen as a reflection on individual North Yorkshire Police officers and staff and the important roles they undertake every day. Indeed, the Inspectors noted this, saying ‘we found that the officers and staff who manage child abuse investigations are committed and dedicated, while often working in difficult circumstances’.

“However, one issue is one issue too many in child protection where every interaction counts, and every moment matters, so I have asked the Chief Constable to urgently assess what more can be done to address the recommendations made and ensure officers and staff at every level understand their responsibilities.

“We must do better to safeguard those children who are at risk, and I will not rest until we do.”

Public Accountability Meeting

A Public Accountability Meeting focused on North Yorkshire Police’s response to the report will be held on Friday 8 April at 10am.

Broadcast live online, the meeting will include discussions from Commissioner Zoë and her executive team, Chief Constable Lisa Winward and the Deputy Chief Constable Mabs Hussain.

Anyone with questions can submit them in advance to info@northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk

To watch the live broadcast