Sarah Champion MP, Shadow Minister for Preventing Abuse and Domestic Violence, has criticised West Yorkshire Police after a report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) revealed a series of child protection failings that could put some children at significant risk. The post-inspection report into West Yorkshire Police's handling of child protection found that the force had made no progress in recording all relevant information regarding the welfare of children to ensure that good quality decisions were made to safeguard children at risk.

Among the failings highlighted were the force's very poor standards of recording and the failure to record the views of children in child protection matters. HMIC also reported that important information about children was not always available to frontline officers, children continued to be detained unnecessarily in police custody and the timeliness of specialist medical examinations of children had not improved.

The report does acknowledge, however, that West Yorkshire Police has taken some steps to improve child protection practice.

The report was carried out to assess the progress of a West Yorkshire Police action plan, drawn up after HMIC found evidence of child protection failings at the force in 2014.

Sarah Champion said:

It is alarming that Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabularies have identified serious concerns in the way West Yorkshire Police protects children.

HMIC identified a number of cases where risks to children had been incorrectly graded and staff had not received training on new child protection policies.

HMIC also found that children continue to be detained unnecessarily and that there were delays in the provision of specialist medical examinations for children.

It is of particular concern that recording standards remain low. Accurate recording of reports is crucial in order to spot possible child abuse. HMIC found important information about children was not always available to frontline officers which would greatly hamper their ability to act appropriately.

Individually these failings would be concerning, but together they create a situation where vulnerable children aren't getting the service or protection they deserve.

It is vital that West Yorkshire Police respond to these concerns and ensure that all children are protected.

You can read the report from HMIC here

NewsVanessa Johns