Number: B 1200 Date Published: 11 November 2020 Version 9 – November 2020
1.0 Summary of Changes
This policy has been updated within section 2.3 to amend the location of the South Hubs to Southend and Basildon.
2.0 What this Policy is about
This policy sets out expectations for service delivery, standards, operational procedures (in associated procedures) and roles and responsibilities.
This policy details the aims and objectives to be achieved in the investigation of allegations of child abuse. It will ensure working and investigative arrangements reflect current legislation and national guidance, whilst providing an agreed multi-agency approach to the investigation of child abuse.
We will continue to develop a multi-agency approach to safeguard children through our commitment to supporting the development and improvement of Local Safeguarding Partnerships. Essex Police recognise our position as a key partner in this process and this is reflected in the Child Abuse/CSE action plan. We will effectively encourage a managed and joint approach with all relevant organisations in promoting and safeguarding the welfare of children within the County of Essex.
2.2 Legal Responsibilities
All Essex Police personnel have a responsibility to promote the welfare of children, in accordance with the Children Act 2004, and shall therefore adhere to this policy. Staff must also be aware of their responsibilities under the Human Rights Act 1998 and take these responsibilities into consideration when undertaking Child Protection activities.
The legislation and enquiries which form the foundation of this policy, in terms of ethos, legal requirements and structure of child abuse investigations, are noted at the end of this policy.
All members of Essex Police routinely come into contact with children. All personnel have a duty to ensure the best interests and welfare of the child is maintained at all times.
The Child Abuse Investigation strand of the Crime and Public Protection Command is made up of Specialist Child Abuse Investigation Teams (CAITs) who investigate all aspects of child abuse and victim safeguarding.
These teams have force-wide responsibility for investigating child abuse allegations and form part of the forces Public Protection Investigation Hubs (PPIU). Hubs are located in:
The South Local Policing Areas (Southend and Basildon);
The North LPA (Colchester and Chelmsford) and;
The West LPA (Harlow and Grays).
Each PPIU is led by a Detective Chief Inspector. The other teams are located at Police Headquarters under C&PPC Investigations, these teams are:
Child/CSEA Triage Team assess information received by Essex Police;
Quest Team who deal with historic cases of child abuse/CSEA;
CSE Proactive Investigation Team who deal with complex and organised cases of child abuse/CSEA.
Compliance with this policy and any linked procedures is mandatory.
3.0 Statement of Policy
This policy’s objective is to inform personnel of their responsibilities regarding the protection of children from abuse. Definitions of terms used in this policy are documented in Appendix A.
This policy should be used in conjunction with locally agreed multi-agency child protection procedures and national guidance.
Essex Police will record and fully investigate all allegations of abuse or neglect of a child. We will work with other statutory agencies, including Social Care, Health and Education Services, to safeguard children against abuse or neglect, investigate allegations of this nature and prosecute any identified offenders.
To provide consistency in investigations and management of cases Public Protection Investigation Hubs will utilise the Public Protection SOP when investigating allegations child abuse unless other arrangements have been agreed by the Commands Superintendent for investigations
CAIT will work in partnership with other agencies to investigate all sudden and unexplained child deaths for the Child Death Review Panel in line with the Child Death Review Process (see B 1204 Procedure – Child Death Review).
Essex Police will attend all child protection conferences chaired by Social Care where Essex Police has an involvement in the family or has information to share that is relevant to child protection.
3.1 Child Abuse Investigations
CAIT will investigate:
All child abuse investigations that occur within the family and extended family; including suspicious deaths;
All child abuse investigations where the offender is entrusted with the care of the child at the time of the offence. This would be people such as teachers, babysitters and youth workers;
Cases as outlined above but where the victim is now an adult and the abuse occurred whilst they were a child (‘Historical Abuse’) will be investigated by Op Quest.
Organised child abuse, this is defined as per SET procedures 2019 (see section 8.1);
All unexpected child deaths in partnership with other agencies (as outlined in Chapter 5 Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018);
Child Abduction Offences as defined by Section 1 Child Abduction Act 1984, but not during the phase when the child is a missing person (See B 1203 Procedure -Child Abduction);
Child to child abuse which will include all sexual offences where the children are known to each other and at least one of them is under 13 years of age.
Cases of Child Sexual Exploitation as part of a substantive criminal investigation where offences have been committed.
Any other offence against a child as assessed by the local PPIU DI as warranting investigation by Child Abuse specialists.
Essex Police recognises the investigation of allegations of child abuse as a key priority and have established investigating child abuse and safeguarding children as a mainstream policing activity under the Force Plan 20/21.
We will fully engage with our statutory partners in developing a multi-agency approach to identify children who are potentially at risk from abuse and neglect and then implement plans to address the risks. We will ensure the implementation of an investigative strategy which:
Draws upon the experience of all agencies to ensure the welfare of the victim is the primary concern;
Creates a framework within which we will ensure that all relevant information and intelligence is documented and made available to all other agencies upon request;
Effectively targets suspects and known offenders to ensure the risk they pose to the children and the wider public is minimised and that they are brought to justice at the earliest opportunity
Promotes early consultation for certain offences with the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure that we maximise our opportunity of securing a conviction particularly were children are aged 10 years or younger.
4.0 Implications of the Policy
4.1 Finance / Staffing / Training / Other
There are no known additional financial implications other than those already incurred.
All officers and staff involved in all aspects of child abuse investigation will receive appropriate training and refresher training such as enrolment on the Initial Crime Investigation Development Programme (ICIDP), and the Specialist Child Abuse Investigation Development Programme (SCAIDP) in order to best support the aims and objectives of the Children Act 2004.
4.2 Risk Assessment(s)
There is no risk assessment specifically tailored for the investigation of rape and serious sexual offences. Risks and health and safety considerations arising from such investigation must be decided on their own individual merits and where appropriate, Form PERS52 should be completed. There already exists a number of Generic Risk Assessments that may aid the investigative process and these are to be found on the HR, Health & Safety
Risk Assessments website.
4.3 Equality Impact Assessment
• EIA – December 2019
The following have been consulted during the formulation of this document:
Head of Crime and Public Protection
Equality of Service Sergeant
Equality and Diversity Co-ordinator
Health & Safety
Strategic Change Team
6.0 Monitoring and Review
Monitoring of this policy will be the responsibility of The Head of Crime & Public Protection Command and will take place within the annual review process or when a significant event necessitates an earlier change.
The Head of Investigations, C&PPC will review this policy and ensure it remains accurate and compliant with both legislation and national / local drivers.
7.0 Related Force Policies or Related Procedures
B 1201 Procedure – Child Abuse Investigations
B 1202 Procedure – Police Online Investigation Team
B 1203 Procedure – Child Abduction
B 1204 Procedure – Child Death Review
B 1205 Procedure – Serious Case Review
B 1206 Procedure – Police Protection Powers
7.1 Data Security
Essex Police have measures in place to protect the security of your data in accordance with our Information Management Policy – W 1000 Policy – Information Management.
7.2 Retention & Disposal of Records
Essex Police will hold data in accordance with our Records Review, Retention & Disposal Policy – W 1012 Procedure/SOP - Records Review, Retention and Disposal.
We will only hold data for as long as necessary for the purposes for which we collected. Victims/public should be reminded that Essex Police take the protection of personal data seriously as described in the privacy notice https://www.essex.police.uk/hyg/fpnessex/privacy-notice/.
8.0 Other Source Documents, e.g. Legislation, Authorised Professional Practice (APP), Partnership Agreements (if applicable)
Practice Advice on Resources and the People Assets of the National Intelligence Model, 2007,
ACPO Practice Advice on Investigating Indecent Images of Children on the Internet 2005,
ACPO The SIO Handbook – The Investigation of Historical Institutional Child Abuse 2002
ACPO Guidance on Investigating Domestic Abuse 2008
Protocol between the Police Service and Crown Prosecution Service in the investigation and prosecution of allegations of rape
Authorised Professional Practice
Authorised Professional Practice – Child Abuse
Authorised Professional Practice – Investigation,
Authorised Professional Practice – Information Management,
NPIA ‘Investigating Child Abuse and Safeguarding Children’ 2009
• HMIC Reports
Joint HMIC report ‘Safeguarding Children’ 2009
Home Office reports
Every Child Matters: Next Steps 2008,
Home Office report ‘Every Child Matters; Change for Children’ 2003
Home Office Counting Rules For Recorded Crime,
HM Government ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children: A Guide to Inter-Agency Working to Safeguard and Promote the Welfare of Children’ 2018,
HM Government: Safeguarding Children and Young People from Sexual Exploitation: Supplementary Guidance to Working Together to Safeguard Children,
HM Government ‘What To Do If You’re Worried A Child Is Being Abused’ 2006,
The Investigation of Child Sexual Abuse, H/O Circular 36/2002,
HM Government Statutory Guidance on Making Arrangements to Safeguard and Promote the Welfare of Children Under Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 2007
Victoria Climbie Inquiry Report 2003,
Child Abduction Act 1984,
Children Act 2004,
Education and Inspections Act 2006,
Equality Act 2010,
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,
Ministry of Justice reports
Ministry of Justice Guidance on Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) 2012,
Other Agency Guidance
Department of Health Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families 2000,
Southend, Essex and Thurrock Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures 2019
Appendix A – Definitions
Public Protection SOP
EIA – December 2019
APP Secure Site
APP Public Site
The legal basis within which this policy is to operate can be found in: