Mayor agrees that action is needed to tackle scandal of London’s missing children – Caroline Pidgeon

July 3, 2014 5:41 PM

The Mayor of London has accepted that real action is needed to better safeguard children who go missing from the care of local authorities in response to questions put to him by Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group.

Earlier this year Caroline Pidgeon published a report Looked After Children: Missing From Care, based on freedom of information requests made to every London Borough. Her report revealed that across London 931 looked after children went missing from the care of London Boroughs in 2012 and 2013 for at least 24 hours.

At this week's Mayor's Question Time Caroline highlighted how missing looked after children are at serious risk, including the risk of physical and sexual abuse, and being dragged into involvement with gangs involved in serious criminal activity.

In responding to questions from Caroline Pidgeon the Mayor has now agreed to ensure that the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) works with the London Safeguarding Board to commission research work to gain a real picture of how serious the problem is across London. The Mayor has also promised to ensure that the issue is put on the agenda of the Congress of Leaders meeting, which is a meeting involving the Mayor of London and all borough council leaders. The Mayor also agreed to review the level of funding and officers available to tackle this problem in the Met Police

Caroline Pidgeon said:

"There is now a growing recognition that a scandal exists across the country and especially in every part of London of far too many children missing from the care of local authorities."

"The facts are quite clear. A local authority looked after child who goes missing for 24 hours or more at serious risk, including the real risk of physical abuse and even being targeted by organised criminal syndicates who target girls and boys for sexual abuse."

"The Mayor's response to my questions are an encouraging start. However, we now need real action to ensure that London's looked after children are given the protection they deserve."

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  1. A webcast of yesterday's webcast of Mayor's Question Time can be seen with Caroline Pidgeon, starting at 10.12am.

https://www.london.gov.uk/mayor-assembly/london-assembly/webcasts