Child Safeguarding & Public Protection Units
Each of the 5 districts within West Yorkshire Police have Safeguarding Units (SGU’s) and Public Protection Units (PPU’s) that include Police Officers and Support Staff who specialise in areas relating to Child and Public Protection. They routinely deal with child abuse allegations, including abuse within the family setting, abuse by professionals, carers, organised abuse in addition to those children who may be at risk of Child Sexual Exploitation.
The PPU’s are responsible for dealing with individuals who are registered sex offenders, under the terms of the Sex Offenders Act 1997 and other offenders who are regarded as a potential danger to the community MAPPA nominals.
SGU’s/PPU's work jointly with a range of other agencies, but primarily Children's Social Care in relation to Child Abuse and the National Probation Service, in relation to sexual and violent Offenders/MAPPA subjects.
A Detective Superintendent based at Police Headquarters, Wakefield, oversees the governance of this function in respect of policy and procedure. The Detective Superintendent represents the Force on strategic and policy matters in respect of Safeguarding.
The focus of police activity is the investigation of criminal offences, whilst the focus of Children’s Social Care is the needs of children and their families. In addition to their duty to investigate criminal offences, the police have emergency powers to enter premises and ensure the immediate protection of children believed to be suffering from or at risk of significant harm. This power also allows officers to ensure children are able to remain in such places of safety e.g. a hospital, where this is considered necessary. In such cases, the local authority Children’s Social Care will then assess the circumstances of the case and take a decision about future actions required to further protect the child.
In all cases of suspected child abuse, consultation will take place with the local Children’s Social Care and if necessary, a ‘Strategy Meeting’ or ‘Case Conference’ will be held to consider the best way forward. The Police are committed to sharing information where this is necessary to protect children. All of the five policing districts within West Yorkshire have a ‘Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub’, which means that when information is received regarding and concerns regarding a child or children information can be shared promptly.
The Police are invited to attend all initial case conferences and in all cases a written report will be provided to the Chair of the conference as a minimum, detailing all the relevant information held by the police.
Where it is necessary to conduct a medical examination of a child, the most appropriate course of action should be determined between the Police and Children’s Social Care during the strategy discussion. All allegations received against any professional, e.g. foster carer, teacher, social worker, will be referred to the local SGU Detective Inspector for the relevant SGU office to discuss with Children’s Social Care (LADO).
Public Protection Officers (PPO’s) and Public Protection Reviewing Officers (PPROs) are based in each of the 5 districts and are responsible for the administration, monitoring and management of registered sex offenders, in accordance with the Sex Offenders Act 1997.
Local Officers regularly attend Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangement meetings (MAPPA), at which a multi-agency discussion takes place on the risk posed by individuals living within the community. These panel meetings, which are confidential, share all relevant information about individuals who have the potential to be a danger to children and others within the community and appropriate risk management plans to combat this risk are then developed and in time, reviewed.
There is also a ViSOR unit (violent and sex offender register) based at Bradford. This unit ensures accurate records are maintained across all Police systems, it is multi-agency to facilitate sharing of information between Police, Probation and Prison. They provide specialist advice to the PPU’s and act as a SPOC for all intelligence relating to RSO’s.
Page last reviewed January 2020