Middlesbrough children's homes to have police presence

Girl sitting on a swing Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There are hopes the new system will lead to a drop in the number of youngsters looked after by the state

Every children's home in Middlesbrough is set to have its own police presence part of a major shake-up in the way the town looks after youngsters in care.

As part of a £2.7m government-funded scheme, the council plans to create smaller "residential hubs".

Each will be staffed with its own on-site police officer or PCSO, as well as a speech and language therapist and a clinical psychologist.

The move follows the success of a similar scheme in North Yorkshire.

The proposals were discussed at a meeting of the children and young people's social care and services scrutiny panel, the Local Democracy Reporting Service reported.

Ian Wright, head of financial planning and support at Middlesbrough Council, described the new model as a "way to keep children safe in a different way and to build resilience in the families, or in the right foster care, so that those children don't have to be in a children's home."

He said: "There's a full-time police officer in each of North Yorkshire's hubs.

"They're not in uniform and that's about building relationships with the young people and, just as importantly, building relationships with the rest of the police service."

According to a report from North Yorkshire Council, "quantifiable evidence" showed the system had produced an 11% drop in the number of new children having to be looked after by the state, a 38% drop in arrests, and 68% fewer cases of missing children.

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