Child Protection Guidance 2021

Part 2A: Roles and responsibilities for child protection 48 National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 Version 1.0 September 2021 2.70 It should be borne in mind that these measures are used in emergency situations and only last for 24 hours. When a child is removed to a place of safety the Constable must inform the Principal Reporter as soon as is practical thereafter. Where a child is removed to a place of safety, the local authority may seek a child protection order to ensure the on-going protection and safety of that child. 2.71 Where the police have reasonable cause to believe that a child may be in need of compulsory measures of supervision, they will pass information to the Principal Reporter whether or not there are grounds for criminal prosecution. Section 61 of the Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 provides a statutory duty on a constable to provide information to the Principal Reporter, Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA), where the constable considers: a) that a child is in need of protection, guidance, treatment or control, and b) that it may be necessary for a Compulsory Supervision Order to be made in relation to the child. 2.72 The police will share proportionate information and consult as part of an inter-agency referral discussion (IRD) to determine whether the matter is a child protection concern. If so, the police will share information with other core agencies, health and social work, as part of the IRD, and will attend Child Protection Planning Meetings (CPPM) (see Part 3). 2.73 Where appropriate, the police should attend and contribute to Child Protection Planning Meetings. Police are unlikely to play an active role in the Core Group responsible for developing the “Child Protection Plan”, unless their involvement is crucial to the successful implementation of the plan. 2.74 The police are responsible for investigation and evidence gathering in criminal enquiries. This task may be carried out in conjunction with other agencies, including social work services and medical practitioners, but the police are ultimately accountable for conducting criminal enquiries. In cases of child abuse and neglect, a criminal offence may have been committed. The police have a statutory duty to investigate the circumstances. All child protection investigations should be dealt with in a child-focused manner, taking into account, as appropriate, the views of the child when decisions are made, unless this places them at further risk. 2.75 Information about suspected or actual child abuse or neglect can come to police attention from a number of sources, both internally and externally. All concerns must be dealt with comprehensively and impartially. Sources can include victims, witnesses, health services, social work or education professionals, housing providers, Third Sector organisations, anonymous reporters or police officers through routine contact with the public. 2.76 Officers should be sensitive to the impact of adults’ behaviour on any child normally resident within the household when attending incidents or conducting investigations relating to, for example domestic abuse, or problematic alcohol or drug use. Officers may attend homes where living conditions are poor. When conducting investigations, they may become aware of children who are at home when they should be at school, or they may have suspicions or concerns about a child’s circumstances or presentation. 2.77 Police officers should be mindful that there may be occasions when concerns and/or risks to children are not easily identifiable while maintaining an awareness of the communities they serve, and also of the indicators of different types of child abuse such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and child sexual or criminal exploitation (CSE/CCE). Other complex forms of abuse such as honour-based abuse, forced marriage (FM), and human trafficking (HT), are not specific to children but should be considered when attending any incident.