Staffordshire Police still needs to do more to protect children, according to a report published on Friday.
His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) visited in March.
It said the force needed to improve the quality of its child protection investigations, such as its response to children reported missing from home.
The force said it had made “a number of positive changes” since the previous visit by the inspectorate.
That visit in 2021 found the force wasn’t adequately protecting all children who were at risk because of widespread and systemic failings.
It was given 15 recommendations by inspectors to improve including recognising missing children were particularly vulnerable and sharing information about online child abuse promptly.
The watchdog also said, after its 2021 visit, the force’s leadership and senior management structure needed to improve.
His Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, Wendy Williams, told the force after its latest inspection to provide an updated action plan within six weeks.
She said Staffordshire Police had improved since the 2021 visit but found some issues were still not fully addressed.
The areas which required further improvement were:
- The quality of child protection investigations
- Risk assessment and allocation of responses by the force contact centre
- Responses to children reported missing from home
- The accuracy of recording details of children’s ethnicity and cultural heritage
- Processes to assess and share information with other organisations
Staffordshire’s Assistant Chief Constable, Becky Riggs, said the force had improved its training, its structure, IT systems and approach to those who pose a risk to children online.
She said it had also improved its attendance at multi-agency case conferences and its sex offender management unit.
The quality of investigations would continue to improve, she added, and the force would continue to “work closely with HMICFRS”.