Minister: Agencies must work together - The Worcester Observer

Minister: Agencies must work together

Worcester Editorial 4th May, 2016 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016   0

A HOME Office Minister has called for a ‘changed culture’ within police forces to tackle child sexual exploitation during a visit to Worcester.

Karen Bradley, who has responsibility for preventing abuse, exploitation and crime, made the comments whilst out canvassing with Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner candidate for West Mercia, John-Paul Campion, on the city’s High Street last Friday (April 29).

This year a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary raised concerns about West Mercia’s inconsistency in protecting vulnerable children and its lack of effectiveness in tackling child sexual exploitation.

Speaking to the Observer, the minister said there needs to be a multi-agency approach in tackling the issue.

“The key thing about child exploitation is you need to change culture in a force, you need those frontline officers to understand how to deal with children and to work across agencies,” Mrs Bradley said.

“The worse thing you can imagine if you’re a victim of child sexual abuse is two big burly coppers turning up on your doorstep.

“What you actually want is the sympathetic social worker, you want to have people you can trust, you want police officers who you can trust.

“It’s about making sure the force has the right capabilities and has the capacity to do that, but it’s working across all the agencies.

“There’s no way any one agency, police or social services, can tackle these kinds of problems alone, you’ve got to work in partnership.”

Also during her visit to Worcester, Mrs Bradley threw her support behind Mr Campion to become West Mercia’s next Police and Crime Commissioner.

“West Mercia needs somebody who understands West Mercia, understands the issues that are faced here and addresses them in the right way for the area,” she added.

“I can see in John is a local champion who is going to go in, look at the police, look at it dispassionately and independently and say what we can do better, what will work better for the residents of West Mercia and to make sure we deliver really good effective community policing that works here.”

There are five other candidates vying to become the force’s PCC: Peter Jewell (UKIP), John Raine (Green Party), Margaret Rowley (Liberal Democrat) and Daniel Walton (Labour) and Barrie Sheldon (Independent).


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