Inquiry wants key role for police

The child protection system is not equipped to
deal with the risks posed to children by people from outside the
family, according to a report into the murder of a boy by a man
with mental health problems.

The report by London’s Camden area child
protection committee was published last week and follows an
18-month inquiry.

It says that police involvement in child
sexual abuse cases should be reformed so that abuse by people from
outside the family is always dealt with by police child protection
teams. Under the current system such abusers are often dealt with
by CIDofficers. Yet not all officers have had training relating to
child sexual abuse or neglect.

The recommendation is one of 59 made in the
92-page report into the murder of 12-year-old Diego Pineiro, who
was stabbed to death by 53-year-old Edward Crowley in London in
2000. Crowley had been stalking the boy for months and was
suffering from a psychotic disorder.

The report concludes that the case was so
unusual it could not have been predicted or prevented.

But, despite clearing all agencies of blame,
it highlights several weaknesses in the child protection system and
criticises it for being too focused on family-based protection.

The report calls on the government to issue
guidance so that all cases of child sexual abuse are dealt with by
police child protection teams.

It claims that if a team had been leading on
Diego’s case it would have worked more closely with staff at a
hostel where Crowley was living and where several children,
including Diego, visited him.

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