New online process to raise child protection concerns
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is making its child protection disclosure scheme “much more accessible to the public” with the launch of an online application facility.
This now enables anyone with concerns about someone who may be posing a risk to children to find out if they have a criminal record for sexual or violent offences via the PSNI website, instead of having to visit a police station to make an application.
The disclosure scheme was introduced in March 2016, and Detective Superintendent Lindsay Fisher, from the Public Protection Branch, explained: “This new online facility will make the process much more accessible to the public. These arrangements complement existing processes to manage sexual and violent offenders by the agencies involved in the Public Protection Arrangements for Northern Ireland. Those agencies, including the PSNI, Probation Board and Social Services, already disclose information about criminal convictions when it is necessary to protect a child.
“Members of the public will be able to apply directly through an online form via the PSNI website.
“Anyone making an application via the online form must be able to identify a specific child or children and a named individual about whom they have concerns. However, they will not automatically be the person to whom information is disclosed. Applicants must also be able to provide proof of their identity to police if required.”
Det Supt Fisher added: “The new online process builds on the PSNI’s existing safeguarding processes, however, it should be noted that this is not a facility to report crime.
“Once an application is submitted, initial checks should be carried out within 24 hours and the process should be completed within 28 days.”