Daniel Pelka: Police must do more to protect children, PCC says
- 18 September 2013
- From the section Coventry & Warwickshire
Police officers need to be more vigilant in cases involving children, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner has said.
A serious case review into the death of murdered Daniel Pelka in Coventry found missed opportunities by police, the city council and the NHS.
Officers were called to 26 separate incidents at the family home, many involving domestic violence.
PCC Bob Jones said officers needed to be trained to be "more assertive".
Daniel was starved and beaten by his mother and partner before he died in March 2012.
Magdelena Luczak, 27, and Mariusz Krezolek, 34, were jailed for 30 years each after being found guilty of his murder.
Mr Jones said officers acted "professionally" when responding to several calls of alcohol-fuelled domestic violence incidents at the family home.
However, he said they did not question the welfare of four-year-old Daniel and his two siblings, who were said to have witnessed some of the fights.
The review found there was no record of "any conversation" held with Daniel about his home life or his experiences outside school.
'Not enough done'
"Daniel Pelka's case indicates (officers) need to be more vigilant," Mr Jones said.
"Clearly we need to raise consciousness on that issue and train officers to be more assertive in this area.
"There was some checking (in terms of the children involved) but the outcome clearly indicates it wasn't enough and we needed to have done more."
Ron Lock, the author of the report which was published on Tuesday, said the professionals involved in the months leading up to Daniel's death were "too optimistic" about what they saw.
It did not blame or identify any individual agency.
Mr Jones said better communication was needed between the police and social services as well as the health service.
"It's essential we get the communication right, we see it time and time again (in serious case reviews) and there is always a pattern of a lack of communication," he said.
"If all the partners had been aware of all the issues they would have taken different action."
Mr Jones added the force was looking at developing a new "multi-agency safeguarding hub" and improving training among officers and social workers.
He said the force had devised an action plan to make sure "we up our game" to avoid future stories like that of Daniel.
On Tuesday Sharon Binyon, medical director of the Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, said efforts had been made to double the number of health visitors in the area.
The city council's chief executive, Martin Reeves, said staff needed to "learn quickly" from the review.