Bedfordshire Police urges public to report any child welfare issues Image by listercz AdobeStock_37755377

Police urges members of the public to report any child abuse and neglect concerns 

Bedfordshire Police has said that due to families isolating themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic, many children and young people could be at a heightened risk of abuse and neglect.

School is often regarded as a safe place by children who are victims of abuse. But at the moment children are no longer regularly interacting with trusted adults such as teachers, social workers, grandparents, and neighbours.

So there is less opportunity for any safeguarding issues to be flagged with the relevant authorities.

Detective Superintendent Zara Brown, head of the Public Protection Unit at Bedfordshire Police, said:

“Cases of child abuse and neglect are taken extremely seriously by our force.

“We are working closely with the local authorities and our partner agencies on the best ways we can keep children safe during this difficult time. With schools and activity centres closed and everyone staying at home, it’s becoming harder for people to spot the signs of abuse or neglect.

“This is why I want to encourage you to be our eyes and ears and if you see or hear something you don’t think is right, for example from neighbours in your street or through speaking with friends, then please report it. Even if you’re not sure, as this could potentially save a child’s life.

“We also want to reassure any children or young people who may need help at the moment and aren’t able to tell a trusted adult, or if you have any concerns about younger siblings, cousins or other family members that support is still available and there are many places you can turn to for advice and guidance.

“Safeguarding is everyone’s business and now, more than ever, we all need to be doing our bit to keep children safe.”

Help is available online and on the phone

If you are worried or have any concerns about a child, whether that be a neighbour, relative or friend, please call Bedfordshire Police on 101 or you can report through the Force’s online reporting tool.

In an emergency always call 999.

You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Also, you can visit the NSPCC website for advice and guidance, particularly during this pandemic, or complete this online form. They can also be reached on 0808 800 5000, or via email help@nspcc.org.uk.

ChildLine also has a lot of information on its website for any child or young person who is struggling with issues at home. You can call 0800 1111 or chat online with a counsellor.