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6.16 Protocol Regarding Information Exchange and Referral with Children coming to Police Notice

In May 2005, the Metropolitan Police Service Child Abuse Investigation Command revised its practice in regard to the risk assessment of children coming to the notice of the Police. The main change was an enhancement to the Merlin database system.     

This has resulted in the following changes in the way that information is exchanged with and referrals are made to Southwark Social Services Children’s Division:     

  1. The Merlin child ‘Coming to Notice’ (CTN) report will be accompanied by additional pages of information, which will contain a summary of the results of any Police checks undertaken, a risk assessment category of high or low, any Strategy Discussion between the Police and Social Services, and whether this is classified as information exchange only or a formal referral.
  2. If the Merlin report relates to a crime investigation, details of the officer in the case will be noted on the Merlin and, wherever possible, the contact telephone number of the officer. Social workers should therefore contact the named officer, not the referral desk, for information regarding the case.
  3. Form 87A will no longer be used by Police in order to refer a child to Social Services. The new Merlin pages contain all the necessary information and will form the basis of any referral. Form 87A should continue to be used for referrals to the Police.
  4. A new form has been introduced which will be sent to Social Services whenever a request for Police information submitted via Form 87A is refused, stating the reason(s) for the refusal.

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