When do the police refer to social services in the UK?  

When do the police refer to social services in the UK?When do the police refer to social services in the UK?  

In the UK, the police must refer a case to child social services, often referred to as the local authority children’s services or children’s social care, in situations where they have concerns about the welfare or safety of a child. The police work closely with social services to safeguard children and promote their well-being. 

The specific circumstances in which the police may refer a case to child social services can vary, but some common reasons include: 

  • Child protection concerns: If the police have reason to believe that a child is at risk of harm or is being abused, they may make a referral to social services. This can include cases of physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect or emotional harm. 
  • Domestic violence incidents: If the police respond to a domestic violence incident involving a child or witness concerns about the child’s well-being in such a situation, they should involve social services to ensure the child’s safety and provide appropriate support. 
  • Parental substance abuse or addiction: If the police come across situations where a child’s parent or caregiver is involved in substance abuse or addiction, and it poses a risk to the child’s welfare, they should refer the case to social services for assessment and intervention. 
  • Parental mental health issues: When the police encounter instances where a parent or caregiver’s mental health problems are impacting their ability to provide adequate care for a child, they should involve social services to ensure the child’s welfare. 
  • Missing children: If a child goes missing and there are concerns for their safety or well-being, the police will work closely with social services to locate and protect the child upon their return. 

It’s important to note that the decision to refer a case to child social services ultimately depends on the judgment of the police officers involved. They follow specific protocols and guidelines to assess the level of risk and determine when involvement of social services is necessary to protect a child’s welfare. 

Bretherton Law provide child law advice for people located in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and London. If you and your family are being investigated by children’s social services and you need Legal Advice then please do get in touch either by calling the number above (9am – 5pm Monday – Friday) or by requesting a callback using the form at the bottom of this page. The first call is always free of charge and we can advise you if you are likely to be eligible for Legal Aid.  It’s important to take advice early so you can understand the process and try and achieve the best outcome. 

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