A new agreement has been signed aimed at better supporting children in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight who are looked after by local authorities. The partners include the Crown Prosecution Service, Portsmouth City Council, Hampshire County Council, Isle of Wight Council, Southampton City Council, the Police and Crime Commissioner, and Hampshire Constabulary.
The document aims to minimise factors that lead to offending by Looked After Children. As outlined in the new protocol this “will only be achieved through improved joint working between all agencies and local authorities across the whole region”.
It is in line with a wider South-east protocol that provides an overarching agreement ensuring that any Looked After Child is afforded the same protection and consideration wherever in the south-east they may live.
Looked After Children include those in foster care and children’s homes. Despite the efforts of all agencies, they continue to be significantly over-represented in the youth justice system and prison system compared with their peers.
Michael Lane, Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “I am delighted that one of my first actions as Commissioner is to do something for children, particularly those at risk where we have potential to improve their life opportunities. This protocol formalises a strong partnership of services and agencies, and highlights another of my key objectives to create partnerships that maximise the value of our joint endeavours. I look forward to building upon the work around the region.”
Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary, and national policing lead for Children and Young People, Olivia Pinkney said: “Looked After Children are some of the most vulnerable people in our society. This agreement will help improve the support they need, not just from one local authority or agency but from all of the partners working together.”