Met Police dealing with 700 reports a day about at-risk children and adults

Police in London have raised concerns with safeguarding authorities about vulnerable children and adults on average 700 times a day in recent years, newly reported figures show.

Nearly 1.3 million records were created under Scotland Yard’s Merlin system in the five years to the end of 2018, the Guardian said.

The system is used by the Metropolitan Police to record information about vulnerable or missing children and adults, which can be shared with partner agencies and authorities as part of the force’s safeguarding responsibilities.

The newspaper reported that data released under a freedom of information request showed the highest number of records – 472,307 – related to “child care/welfare”.

Among the figures were 138,551 records related to domestic violence, and 87,980 on missing persons.

Other reports related to child sexual exploitation and forced marriage.

Scotland Yard said records on its Merlin system are created when people have been encountered or identified because they are potentially at risk for criminal reasons such as female genital mutilation, or non-criminal reasons including people in mental health crises.

In a statement the force said: “The number of records created over the last five years is indicative of how seriously police take these matters.

“The Met will continue to create reports for any incident where a person may be at risk, or poses a risk to themselves or others, regardless of the situation.”

Almudena Lara, head of policy at the NSPCC, told the newspaper the Government must make sure local authorities have enough resources to support those at risk.

She said: “Many of these children could have been previously invisible to local children’s services so it is a valuable tool. But if there aren’t the resources in place to deal with these referrals, the children will just disappear back under the radar.

“The Government needs to ensure local authorities are properly resourced so they are able to step in and support these children whenever and wherever they need it.”

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