In September 2016, Essex Police implemented a new Public Protection centralised Operations Centre Triage Team. Within this team is incorporated the roles and functions of the previously named ‘Child Sexual Exploitation Triage Team’. This team will be the primary point of contact for Public Protection related referrals from partner agencies.
The Triage Team is subdivided into a Child Triage Team (managing all child abuse, including online and CSE referrals), and an Adult Triage Team (managing all vulnerable adult referrals). The team is supported by Missing Person Liaison Officers (MPLOs), Hate Crime Officers (HCOs) and an Intelligence Support Team, and consists of Detectives and police staff that are responsible for:
The responsibility of the Missing Person Liaison Officers is to maintain a comprehensive overview of missing people within a defined area in order to identify those who are at risk of significant harm and to co-ordinate the response from Essex Police and its partners, so as to reduce the likelihood of harm occurring to vulnerable people. There are 10 MPLOs; one for each Essex Police District Policing Area.
There is one dedicated Hate Crime Officer per local policing area. The HCO will concentrate their safeguarding and multi-agency working through focus on high risk victims and repeat victims of hate crimes.
Email for the Triage Team – OC.firstname.lastname@example.org
The Whole Essex Information Sharing Framework (WEISF) is the overarching information sharing framework under which all information sharing agreements across the county are based. Information shared in respect of a risk to children will be shared under the Southend, Essex, Thurrock (SET) Child Protection Procedures, safeguarding children information sharing guidelines and the Caldicott Guidance. Information shared in respect of a risk to vulnerable adults will be shared under the auspices of the SET Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Guidance. The manner in which information can be disclosed takes into account the following:
Any information which may relate to sexual exploitation of a child or vulnerable adult can and should be shared.
This may be clearly significant in nature; e.g. the name of a suspected abuser or victim, or the make, colour and registration number of a vehicle used by a suspected abuser.
In some cases the significance or clarity of the information may be less clear; e.g. a child reporting they have seen a potential victim getting into a blue car on their way home from school or a pattern of unexplained behaviour.
If the source is another professional or third sector worker who has obtained this information as part of their role, they should not be considered as a confidential source and their details should be disclosed. Any information about risk posed by disclosure of this information should be included on the information sharing form. The police will then be in a position to make an informed judgement on risk and further contact.
If the source is not a professional and does not wish their details to be passed to the police this can be respected in the majority of cases. However the originating agency / organisation MUST keep details of the source and record on the information sharing form where that information can be found and any reference number. In some cases there will need to be discussions with the originating organisation about risks to the source if their details are not disclosed and further information may be required to judge any risk to the source of the information.
If the information or development of the information shows a defined risk to a child or vulnerable adult, the police will make a safeguarding referral to the relevant Local Authority in the usual way. The LA will then be responsible for safeguarding in accordance with the guidance relating to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.
If the information or development of the information shows a potential criminal offence may have been committed, information will be shared with the most appropriate agencies. This may include on a case by case basis organisations such as: Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Unit (MSHTU), CEOP, another police force, any Local Authority where the adult or child resides, Health agencies, the Salvation Army (for human trafficking), the Missing People charity and others who may be able to provide additional information or assist in a specific investigation.