Our children deserve to feel safe and protected. That is not something to be debated, it is a must-do for any civilised society.
Which is why we are concerned by an inspection’s finding that not enough is being done to protect children from sexual exploitation in this county.
Not enough? There is no excuse for that, it is simply not good enough.
We have already had the shocking cases in Rotherham, which took too long to come to light due to concerns about the suspects’ ethnicity.
Now we have a report which says the force still seems reluctant to act.
It would be wrong to lay all the blame at the door of current Chief Constable David Crompton.
He has inherited a situation which clearly needs addressing. And he has made it clear that ‘preventing and responding to child sexual exploitation is a top priority for the force.’
Sadly, that has not translated into action as staff on the ground are not giving the issue as much attention as crimes such as burglary and vehicle crime.
Mr Crompton now faces the task of driving home the importance of ending child sexual exploitation.
There needs to be a consistent approach from the police which guarantees the quality of protection children receive.
We don’t doubt the commitment of staff, but there needs to be more operational activity on the ground at a local, district level
Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright would agree.
He wants the force to do more and do it faster.
Now is the time for Mr Crompton to deliver and the inspectors’ report should be seen as an opportunity to do this.
The current situation has to change and the report gives a time frame in which this can happen.
Encouragingly, the police say they intend to respond by acting on the report’s recommendations.
Let us hope this time, the words translate into action which reassures us all that our children’s safety is a police priority.