Children in care are being supported by a pioneering partnership between Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire Police.

A dedicated police officer is working with young people in care who may be more vulnerable to crime, offending and sexual exploitation. It is the first dedicated role of its kind in the country.

PC Sam Flint works specifically alongside the Youth Offending Team to support children on the edge of care and children in care, as well as those living in residential children’s homes and foster placements.

PC Flint not only visits young people in care regularly to check on their welfare and support them, her restorative approach also ensures young people are making amends, rehabilitated in the community and most importantly diverted from offending.

She is the go-to person for young people, liaising with police and social care staff as well as outside organisations to keep our young people safe.

The latest Ofsted inspection praised the use of a dedicated police officer working alongside the Lead for Children in Care at the Council’s Youth Offending team as a model for best practice.

The pioneering role was also praised at a meeting of the Corporate Parenting Board at the City Council in January.

Councillor David Mellen, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services at the City Council, said: “The work of this officer along side the Council’s Youth Offending Team is invaluable. They have worked hard over the recent years to make sure children in care can still have the best start and to help them improve their lives as much as possible.

“Giving our children in care a familiar and trusted police contact is a great asset for tackling their problems. Having someone on the streets that our children know and trust is paramount to the success of this project. Prevention has to be the key and PC Flint helps recognise early warning signs and co-ordinate action to help our children and young

Sgt Jez Lyons, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Having a seconded officer working with the CIC team is essential in helping to reduce incidents of crime and antisocial behaviour, but also preventing young people from becoming victims. Having an officer co-located and at the heart of everything that the team does, also allows for greater efficiently and liaison, with other agencies, especially the police. The police officer is key and bringing the two agencies together, and supports the ethos of truly working in partnership.”

PC Sam Flint said: “This role has been the most challenging and rewarding of my police career. One very complex young person told me that I was like a celebrity for all the children in care as they all knew Sam Flint as she was ‘their cop’. Every day is a learning experience working with such a vast range of agencies and the young people can be really inspirational.”