Inspector Allen Davis from the Metropolitan Police Service talks about the new resource the force has created to support teachers and school staff in keeping children safe online.
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Guidance for Schools is a comprehensive resource that helps front line professionals in schools and colleges responding to all Harmful Practices, Child Sexual Exploitation, Sexting and Rape. Housed on the National FGM Centre website and freely available for download, it aims to increase sharing of information between schools and police, increase engagement with (and support to) schools around complex safeguarding issues, and promote consistency when dealing with disclosures.
This guidance covers:
- What the relevant legislation says
- What options police have from both a safeguarding and enforcement perspective
- What resources are available to that support readers to give them a better understanding of each of these highly complex issues
- What vulnerability signs schools could look for and
- Some suggestions as to how schools can respond to these hidden harms within existing referral procedures.
We do not want to be prescriptive and we recognise the challenges schools face when responding to vulnerability. Not least that:
- Abusive behaviours are increasingly ‘normalised’ by adults and young people, so much so that they do not realise that they are the victim of an offence;
- There is a lack of consistent understanding by professionals as to whether and at what point police should be informed of safeguarding matters
We recognise that each safeguarding case will be different and there are many grey areas when responding to vulnerability in schools.
The Guidance ends with ‘Considerations for Schools’ based on some of the learning identified in developing this resource. We hope this is a useful checklist for schools.