LSCBLocal Safeguarding Children Board Northamptonshire

Interview with D.I. Stuart Hitchon of Northamptonshire Police

Find out about the role of the Head of the Child Protection Team for Northamptonshire Police, his day-to-day work and experiences in Child Safeguarding.

Detective Inspector Stuart Hitchon is Head of the Child Protection Team for
Northamptonshire Police and has been in post for 3 years. As part of our new series of interviews with people working to safeguard children in Northamptonshire, DI Hitchon gives us an insight into his day-to-day work and experiences.

Q. Stuart, what got you into safeguarding in the first place?

After 20 years of service, mainly working within Criminal Investigation
Departments, I wanted a new challenge. I had not worked in a safeguarding
role before and I was offered the opportunity to lead the child protection
team, which was an exciting challenge for me and something that I have thoroughly enjoyed.

Q. What’s the hardest decision you’ve ever had to make?

I make difficult decisions on a regular basis, especially when it comes to deciding if we should prosecute people for serious sexual or violent offences committed against children.

One of the hardest decisions I have made recently concerned an investigation into the death of a 2 year old child. I made the decision not to continue with the investigation into the child’s death. After consulting with specialist crown prosecution lawyers and senior investigative officers, I concluded that we had conducted a thorough investigation and there was no evidence to suggest that a particular person was responsible for the child’s death. The family felt that there were people who should be held to account and were clearly unhappy with my decision. I certainly felt a lot of sympathy with the family, but I had to make my decision based upon the facts of the case, and the fact that I was unable to prove any criminal offences based upon the points to prove in law.

Q. Who do you rely on when things get tough?

I rely on a good team to support me, not just my colleagues within the police. I also rely on my partners within Social Services, Health and Education working together to resolve safeguarding investigations.

Q. What are the different things you do in your role?

As a detective inspector I work a shift pattern which means at times I am required to work late shifts or weekends. When I am working outside normal office hours I am the duty detective inspector for the County. I am required to manage any serious crimes that are reported across the County, this can include investigating suspicious deaths, offences where firearms are used or managing high risk missing person enquiries.

I recently attended a senior investigating officer’s course and I am currently working through my portfolio. Once completed I can become a senior investigating officer, which will allow me to manage serious and major crime investigations such as murder enquiries.

Q. What do you do enjoy most about your role?

I am what they call a ‘career detective’, having spent most of my time working in the crime investigation arena. I thoroughly enjoy investigating serious and complex cases and I have certainly investigated a number of these cases during my time in child protection.
I also enjoy working with my team who are all dedicated to their work. But this also extends to a great working relationship I have with partners in Social Care, MASH, Health and Education. We are all working extremely hard together to safeguard children.
 

Last updated: 17 August 2016

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