Changes are being made to support child abuse victims says PCC

Posted: 17th April 2023

Shropshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) says West Mercia Police are making the “right improvements” to tackle the “evil” of child sexual exploitation.

John Campion says he has been reassured that changes are being made to support victims in the county following the latest accountability meeting between the PCC and the force’s Chief Constable.

The formal meeting was the latest opportunity for Mr Campion to seek reassurance from Chief Constable Pippa Mills about the progress West Mercia Police is making to ensure the recommendations are fully implemented.

The inquiry into child sexual exploitation that have taken place in Telford over the past 40 years, produced 47 recommendations for stakeholders and organisations to implement to prevent significant failings happening again. Of those, 13 recommendations were for West Mercia Police.

It follows the Telford child sexual exploitation scandal where more than 1,000 children were victims of abuse going back decades.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) found the abuse of children in the town dated as far back as the 1970s and that key organisations including the police “ignored” the problem.

During the latest meeting, the PCC focused on a range of subjects in relation to the inquiry’s recommendations including the importance of continued collaboration with partners, focusing on putting victims first.

During the meeting, Mr Campion said the Chief Constable confirmed there are clear plans to publish the partnership report in June.

Mr Campion was also reassured improvements continue to be made to improve the quality of investigations and that police officer training has been reviewed to ensure it remains victim focused but also up to date on best practice

However, it was noted that steps need to be undertaken to ensure the training is embedded in the whole workforce, particularly in longer serving officers.

John Campion said: “I understand the pain and life-changing impact this horrific crime has had in our communities and still has to this very day.

“My first holding to account meeting in 2016 was on child sexual exploitation. Seven years later, I am as focused as ever on ensuring West Mercia Police has the correct steps in place and resources it needs to tackle this evil in our society.

“The latest accountability meeting was another opportunity to understand where I can better support the force to make the necessary improvements and to find out when the force will implement of all the inquiry’s recommendations.

“I want to reassure communities across West Mercia that the force is taking CSE seriously, carrying out some amazing work and making the right improvements. However, I am unrelenting in my commitment to ensuring positive changes are implemented both quickly and properly.”

Source: Shropshire Star

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