Met launches child-safeguarding internal comms campaign in response to criticism from policing watchdog

The Metropolitan Police has launched an internal comms campaign to help officers and staff spot signs of children who are at risk of coming to harm, following a critical report from the policing watchdog last autumn.

The campaign will challenge Met employees to think differently about child safeguarding
The campaign will challenge Met employees to think differently about child safeguarding

The campaign, which launched last week, is entitled ‘Spot It to Stop It. Think Child. Think Safeguarding’ and will run for 12 months with the aim of reaching all 44,000 of the Met’s police officers and staff.

It will challenge the force’s employees to think differently about the signs that a child may be at risk of harm.

The primary message is that all Met employees have a duty to protect children, whether they are first responders, detectives or ward officers, in every incident and investigation they attend. 

The campaign will also focus on missing children, child abuse and children who are drawn into gangs and then criminally exploited.

Campaign activity will include intranet articles, blogs, a podcast and a range of resources for staff to help them understand best practice in child safeguarding.

Additional training on child safeguarding will also be made available to staff and officers.

The Met’s comms team worked with its colleagues in operational policing to develop the strategy and ran an online survey with 4,000 staff to provide a baseline for campaign measurement.

The campaign will initially focus on awareness and a follow-up survey in 12 months will ask the same questions in order to test its effectiveness.

Spot It to Stop It uses everyday objects to show how sometimes subtle signs that are not always easy to see straight away, can represent that something is not right in a child's life.

Oya Dervish, Met Police communications business partner and lead for the campaign


The comms team brought in design agency Yello Belly to develop a design identity and straplines for the campaign.

Oya Dervish, Met Police communications business partner and lead for the campaign, said: "Spot It to Stop It uses everyday objects to show how sometimes subtle signs that are not always easy to see straight away, can represent that something is not right in a child's life.

"Through this concept we are supporting training, policy and information for our officers and staff and making sure that protecting children at risk of harm is always at the forefront of their minds."

Spot It to Stop It was launched to support the delivery of recommendations made by policing inspectorate Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary into child safeguarding.

The force was criticised for its approach to child safeguarding in last year’s HMIC report, which found in its investigation that failings in this area were systematic and involved errors in leadership, training and judgement.

The Met said the new approach to child safeguarding was a campaign-based approach to communicating, which would protect staff from a high volume of comms at a time when they were busy with their jobs and did not have mental space to absorb it all.

The force has adopted a ‘two-way’ comms plan whereby the campaign attempts to change behaviours by gaining a thorough understanding of staff attitudes to the issues around child safeguarding.

The fresh approach to the issue will include working with colleagues in the Met with experience of child safeguarding to act as influencers for the rest of the force.

Yvonne O’Hara, head of internal comms at the Met, concluded: "The Met has a duty to protect children and this applies to anyone in a policing role – from first responders to detectives. The campaign works to get staff curious about the signs of children being harmed. Spotting those signs aren’t always easy, so the campaign aims to get officers and staff thinking about the circumstances of children being harmed and to act on their instincts when they feel something is not quite right."


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