Police took five days to speak to a 15-year-old girl who told teachers she had been sexually assaulted, a watchdog found. HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) found Bedfordshire Police had “weaknesses” in its approach to child protection.The report examined 81 cases, with 29 rated inadequate, 34 requiring improvement and 18 rated good.The force said it had requested more funding but had addressed many issues.Cases highlighted in the report include that of a 14-year-old boy sexually assaulted in a park not being properly referred.In another case it took a month for claims that a 15-year-old boy was being encouraged to truant from school by an older woman to be properly investigated.However, the force was praised for its dealings with a 15-year-old suspected of engaging in sexual activity with his four-year-old sister. Inspectors acknowledged the force’s weaknesses were linked to the level of resources it had available.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr said: “The force still has work to do in some important areas. “I commend Bedfordshire Police for the good work it is undertaking, and have made recommendations to help the force improve where it needs to.”Deputy Chief Constable Garry Forsyth said: “While there were areas which needed attention, these were immediately dealt with and we are working closely with all of our partners to ensure we are safeguarding and protecting children.”It is no secret that we have repeatedly made the point around the need for adequate funding; however, we are not waiting for the government to respond and have already amended many of the issues identified in the report.”
Source: BBC Beds