Friday, 23 August 2013

Police Training

I see that the Home Secretary is reported by the Daily Mail as having “… ordered special child protection training be given to 4,000-plus officers in the National Crime Agency”. 

That seems a bit odd to me, as one of the Home Secretary’s favourite refrains is ‘I don’t interfere in operational police matters’. But if they say it in the Daily Mail then it must be true … surely!!

What I’m not at all clear about is that the new NationalCrime Agency (NCA), which will include the Child Exploitation and OnlineProtection Centre (CEOP), is to be a national body that will have a few staff based in central locations. However, most child protection work in Britain is undertaken by local authorities supported by local police forces.

I would certainly support more training in child protection for local police officers, but I am not clear what the cost effectiveness is of training NCA staff, some of whom will presumably be involved in dealing crimes like with complex frauds. 

It seems to me that what we want is some sort of national training strategy for all staff engaged in child protection, with priorities clearly identified. My gut feeling is that recognition and initial response to abuse would be the area in which money spent on training would deliver the greatest improvement in performance, but I accept that that is an empirical matter which needs some research before priorities become set in stone.