Missing Children (9722_16)

Request

Please find attached a Freedom of Information request to your police force concerning how you respond to reports of missing children. There is a particular focus on how you share information with statutory partners and others that a missing person coordinator or similar would be able to answer.

1a) At what time during a missing or absent child case do you notify the relevant local authority children’s social care department about the child? (please answer Yes, No, Sometimes, Don’t know in each box)

Children categorised as `missing’

Children categorised as `absent’

When the initial record is made on your force’s Command and Control System

When you initiate a missing person investigation record on your force’s missing person database

When the missing person investigation is closed on your force’s missing person database

Through a daily update of all new missing children investigations

Through another regular update of all new missing person cases (please state how frequent this update is)

Frequency:

Frequency:

Local authorities and/or return interview providers have access to our missing person database for identifying referrals on their own

When an absent child case is upgraded to a missing child case on your force’s missing person database

Not applicable

We do not notify local authorities

Other (please specify)

1b) How are the above notifications for absent and missing children made: (please select one answer in each column only)

Children categorised as `missing’

Children categorised as `absent’

An automatic notification sent by your missing person database in every instance

A notification sent by your missing person database once actioned by a member of staff

Using another method like, secure email

Other (please specify)

2a) When a looked after child from a local authority that is not contained within your force’s boundary is placed within your boundary and subsequently goes missing, who do you notify? (please select one answer only)

The local authority with responsibility for the child only

The local authority of the area where the child is placed only

Both local authorities

Neither local authority

b) When you find a child that is currently the subject of a missing person investigation by another police force who do you notify? (tick all that apply)

The force that polices the area where the child lives only

The local authority where the child lives only

The local authority in which the child is found only

A combination of the above (please specify what combination)

3a.) When the report of a missing child is made please indicate what kinds of information you have access to about the child concerned from police service sources

Yes, No, Don’t Know

Access to information about other missing investigations for the child held on the force’s missing person database (if applicable)

Access to information about other absent episodes concerning the child held on the force’s missing person database (if applicable)

Access to other information about the child, not related to missing or absent episodes, held on the Police National Computer or other police databases

3b) When the report of a missing child is made please indicate what kinds of information you have access to about the child concerned from each local authority children’s social care service (answer: Yes, No, Don’t know in each box)

Birmingham

Coventry

Dudley

Sandwell

Solihull

Walsall

Wolverhampton

Read only access to children’s social care database

An information request to children’s social care

Access to a multi-agency hub information system

Information obtained in a Return Interview conducted following a previous missing/absent episode

A multiagency risk assessment (if child is known to services/has a history of going missing)

For looked after children, a risk assessment provided by the child’s social worker

For looked after children in residential care, a risk assessment provided by the residential children’s home

4) What kind of information do you share with children’s services about missing children? (Please tick all that apply)

Name

Home address

Contact details

Who reported them missing

Time they went missing

Time they were found

Where they were found

Safeguarding information or risks to child

Whether they are looked after or not

Outcome of Safe and Well check

The full notes made by the officer conducting the safe and well check

Other (please detail)

None – we do not share information with the local authority about missing children

5) Police forces can have procedures in place to flag a child as high risk on their databases

a) Can your children’s services request to flag a child as high risk? (Yes/No)

b) If yes, how many requests for this were made between April 1st 2015 and March 31st 2016?

c) Can these high risk flags denote any kind of risk or are they reserved for specific issues like trafficking, sexual exploitation etc.? (Any risk/Specified risk)

d) If they are reserved for specific issues please list what those reasons are: –

g) If available, please provide us with a copy of the policy statement that describes how high risk flags can be requested and the process for doing so:

6a) Between April 1st 2015 and March 31st 2016 how many return interviews did you receive intelligence from/a summary of from your local authorities or their independent providers?

b) In each of your local authority areas, how are referrals made for a return interview?

Local Authority

Children’s services notified

Independent provider notified

Both notified

Birmingham

Coventry

Dudley

Sandwell

Solihull

Walsall

Wolverhampton

c) Do you receive, or have access to information obtained from return interviews conducted by each of your local authorities to inform your risk assessment and missing person investigations? (Tick whichever most closely matches your experience)

We never receive any information

On rare occasions we get some  information

We often receive information

We frequently receive information (applies to all areas)

Birmingham

Coventry

Dudley

Sandwell

Solihull

Walsall

Wolverhampton

d) What kinds of information do you receive (tick all that apply):

Risks the child is exposed to

Addresses of private homes where the child went

Places the child went that may have put them at risk (ie. specific park, canal etc.)

Other children and young people the child went missing with

Names of adults that could pose a risk to the child

Disclosures about abuse or neglect

Disclosures about crimes committed against the child

Disclosures about crimes committed by the child

Other (please specify)

e) Is information shared with you in a standardised manner across all local authorities or is it shared in a variety of ways? Variety.

f)  Please briefly describe how you record this information

RESPONSE

Our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide this information.

Please note that researching each individual case would exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12 (1)).

Response

Our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide this information.

Please note that researching each individual case would exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12 (1)).

Therefore, the cost of compliance with your request is above the amount to which we are legally required to respond, i.e. the cost of locating and retrieving the information would exceed the appropriate costs limit under section 12 of the Freedom of information Act 2000. For West Midlands Police, the appropriate limit is set at £450, as prescribed by the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, S.I. 3244.

A public authority which, in relation to any request for information, is relying on a claim that section 12 or section 14 applies must, within the time for complying with Section 1(1), give the applicant a notice stating that fact. In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this letter acts as a refusal notice.

Although excess cost removes the force’s obligations under the Freedom of Information Act, as a gesture of goodwill I have supplied information, relative to your request, retrieved before it was realised that the fees limit would be exceeded (please see attached). I trust this is helpful, but it does not affect our legal right to rely on the fees regulations for the remainder of the request.

Attachments

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