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National figures released by the children’s charity NSPCC today show a 36 per cent rise in cases of child abuse across the region.

In 2012/13 police investigated 1,003 reports of abuse compared with 1,366 in 2013/14. This equates to a 36 per cent increase. 

Commenting on the figures West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said,

“One case of child abuse is one too many. It is welcome that more people have the confidence to come forward, but we must continue to do more to tackle this issue.

“In the West Midlands thanks to Stephen Rimmer’s strong leadership the police are working together with local authorities and other partner agencies to share best practice and make sure that services are as strong as they can be.

“By working with partners we are also identifying more cases and have increased the accuracy of recording them, which is another reason for the rise. We take nothing for granted and this is a crucial issue that we will continue to work hard on to tackle.

“The way to tackle hidden crimes is to bring them out into the open. It is positive that we are talking about crimes like this, but I am under no illusions that there is still much to do.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Danny Long, head of West Midlands Police’s Public Protection Unit, the team responsible for child abuse investigations, said,

“The Savile effect has undoubtedly prompted more people to speak out about abuse they suffered as a child. But that’s not the only reason we’re seeing a rise in our region. 

“Here in the West Midlands we’ve seen the number of detectives dedicated to investigating abuse almost triple. We’re also in our second year of Sentinel − an initiative to raise awareness and increase reports of crimes which were once taboo.” 

Officer numbers in Public Protection-type roles have increased from 390 to 820 over the past two years. 

Many of these are now based in covert roles uncovering those exchanging abuse images online. Other new officers are based in multi-agency safeguarding hubs (MASHs). 

MASHs have been created in Birmingham, Coventry and Sandwell with Dudley, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton soon to follow suit. 

Formed in 2014 the units see detectives, social workers and others operate as one team to instantaneously and dynamically assess the risks posed to children referred to them. Working together and sharing information in real-time means the teams are better able to identify the early and often hidden signs of abuse and take immediate steps to protect youngsters.

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