PSNI not ready to tackle child sexual exploitation

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An inspection has found that the PSNI’s response to missing children is not consistently good and that it is not yet prepared fully to tackle child sexual exploitation.

In an inspection of the effectiveness of the PSNI at protecting vulnerable children and supporting victims Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary found: “The service has a detailed service procedure and its risk assessment process is well structured, but it recognises that the way it conducts risk assessments and works with partners to prevent children going missing could be improved.

“The assessment of missing children who are known to be at high risk of child sexual exploitation as at medium risk of coming to harm, without a clear explanation, means that the service may not appropriately prioritise and resource its search for these children.

“The PSNI is not yet prepared fully to tackle child sexual exploitation. The service, with partners, has introduced a governance framework and is developing good links between specialists and social workers.

“However, the PSNI has work to do to train specialists and frontline staff and develop links with private sector companies including hotels, fast-food outlets and taxi drivers to prevent and gather intelligence about sexual exploitation.”