West Mercia Police chaplain reinstated after inquiry over comments on child sex exploitation

Telford | News | Published:

A police chaplain has been reinstated following an investigation over comments he made about how West Mercia Police were dealing with children at risk of sexual exploitation.

The Reverend Keith Osmund-Smith was suspended after raising concerns about the welfare of children in his role with Telford street pastors.

He questioned whether enough was being done by West Mercia Police to act on information given about children at risk.

There were concerns from senior officers that the minister was being compromised by a conflict of interest. But after an investigation he will now return to his role.

West Mercia Police Chief Superintendent Charles Hill said: "The Reverend Keith Osmund-Smith has returned to his role as police chaplain in Telford following a three-month sabbatical. An internal investigation was set to determine whether Mr Osmund-Smith's role as police chaplain conflicted with his role as lead coordinator for the Street Pastors in Telford. The investigation has made a number of internal recommendations which will be addressed over the coming months.

"Mr Osmund-Smith will work with West Mercia Police on these recommendations. He plays a valuable role as police chaplain and will continue to provide pastoral care, support and guidance to officers and staff in Telford as well as continuing his coordinator role for the Telford Street Pastors among his other chaplaincy roles."

Mr Osmund-Smith said earlier this year that he had doubts that information passed to officers was always acted on.

He went on sabbatical leave in November after West Mercia Police launched disciplinary action regarding the matter.

The Baptist minister said he had always been supportive of the police force and its efforts to bring those who preyed on young people to justice. He was quoted in August saying lots of reports about child sex exploitation were sent to senior officers.

When the investigation was announced Telford MP Lucy Allan expressed concern at the decision. During his sabbatical Mr Osmund-Smith said he found himself in a "difficult position" but said he would like to return to the role in the new year.

He was not available for comment today.

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