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6.17 Protocol with Police Sapphire Team


  1. Introduction
  2. Referrals to the Sapphire Team
  3. Attendance at Strategy Meetings
  4. Referrals from the Sapphire Team
  5. Joint Working

1. Introduction

The Police Sapphire Team deals with the investigation of all sexual offences in Southwark, whether the victims are adults or children, subject to the exceptions below.

The first exception is where the victim is a child and the alleged perpetrator is a family member or a professional working with the child. These cases are referred to and dealt with by the Police Child Abuse Investigation Team.

Secondly, the Sapphire Team does not have a remit to become involved in the investigation of serial attackers and network/paedophile rings - these matters are referred to and dealt with by the Paedophile Unit at Scotland Yard.

The Team operates 7 days a week between 8.00.a.m. and 10.p.m. with some additional cover at weekends and overnight Mondays to Fridays.

2. Referrals to the Sapphire Team

The Police Sapphire Team will accept telephone referrals, but any referral must be confirmed in writing by fax, which should include details of any proposed Strategy Discussion or Strategy Meeting.

3. Attendance at Strategy Meetings

The Police Sapphire Team will not be able to attend all Strategy Meetings, but will endeavour to do so when the allegation is that penetrative sex has taken place.

In the event that they are unable to be represented at the Strategy Meeting, they will communicate verbally and by fax the input/actions they wish to take and provide advice to Social Services in relation to their investigation.

If the Sapphire Team does not consider that it has a role, they will confirm in writing that the investigation should be single agency.

4. Referrals from the Sapphire Team

Whenever the Sapphire Team is investigating a matter, which involves a child but has not been referred by Social Services, the Team will notify Social Services of the investigation, by telephone to the duty social worker in the North or South Team as appropriate.

Any such telephone calls will be given priority attention, preferably by the duty senior. The Police Sapphire Team will not be expected or required to complete an Inter-Agency Referral Form.

5. Joint Working

Where joint investigations or joint working takes place, Social Services staff will assist Police officers from the Sapphire Team in understanding the London Child Protection Procedures.

The Sapphire Unit will be invited to attend all Liaison Meetings between Social Services and the Police.

Team Managers from Social Services will display posters in team rooms as to the procedure for making referrals to the Sapphire Team.

Joint training will be arranged for social workers with officers from the Sapphire Team.

The arrangements fro joint working will be reviewed on a regular basis.