HMICSouth Yorkshire Police has responded to criticism of its child protection work, following the recent publication of an inspection report by HMIC.

Published earlier this week, the document highlighted flaws in the force’s response regarding complex cases, as well as an ‘inconsistency of approach’ in the investigation of sexual exploitation. Inspectors also named Doncaster as a particular location where better work needed to be done, particularly in relation to the safeguarding of children in care homes.

Speaking of the report, HM Inspector of Constabulary Dru Sharpling said: “We are concerned that force practice is inconsistent so not all children receive the standard of treatment they deserve. More must be done to improve the care of children in custody.

“We were also concerned about the lack of understanding of the risk posed by offenders who target vulnerable children, and shortcomings in the protection of children in care.”

Alongside the criticisms, HMIC also commended the force on its continuing ‘prioritisation’ of child protection, as well as the general progress it has made in the improvement of services – for instance in the areas of training and partnership working.

South Yorkshire Assistant Chief Constable Ingrid Lee said: “South Yorkshire Police has made, and continues to make, great strides in child protection and this report makes recommendations which allow us to progress further.