'Children still at risk' from Met Police failings, report says

Metropolitan Police
Image caption Children in London are still being put at risk due to Met Police methods of dealing with chid sexual abuse

Children in London are still being put at risk by Met Police investigations into child sexual abuse, six months after a watchdog raised the alarm.

In November HM Inspectorate of Constabulary found 75% of child abuse cases were dealt with "inadequately" or needed improvement.

A new audit found a string of flaws were still apparent in some inquiries.

The Met Police admitted "there is still a lot of work to be done" but said "progress had been made".

Met Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty said Scotland Yard "fully accepted" the "tough messages" of the initial report.

"The improvements required which will take some time to fully deliver," he added.

Image copyright Kirsty O'Connor
Image caption An internal audit team examined 170 case files following a 2016 report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary

HM Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr said: "We have started to see some encouraging progress being made.

"We are aware that some actions will take time to become part of routine practice."

But "these findings do not indicate that any significant improvement has occurred", the report added.

Examples of 'failings'

  • Delays in officers visiting victims
  • Investigating officers not communicating effectively with each other
  • A lack of investigation to trace suspects in child sexual exploitation cases
  • Crimes not being recorded according to Home Office counting rules for underage sex
  • Delays in efforts to trace missing youngsters

In its latest report, the inspectorate said: "At present, these findings do not indicate that any significant improvement has occurred in the quality of investigations or the nature of decision making. This is of concern.

"There are signs that improvement activity in some principal areas is not leading to better outcomes for children or improvements in practice."

The original inspection - described as the most damning ever produced by the watchdog - found an "indefensible" lack of leadership in child protection.

The latest assessment covers the three months to the end of June.

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