WEST Mercia Police has responded to recommendations made in a safeguarding review which considered its involvement with the family of murdered Alfie Steele. 

The force said "enhanced training" has been put in place for front-line officers to ensure they recognise the signs of child cruelty, after a Child Safeguarding Practice Review said officers did not "follow up" on injuries to the nine-year-old.

Alfie's mother Carla Scott, 35, and Dirk Howell, 41, of Princip Street, Birmingham, were jailed for the killing of nine-year-old Alfie Steele in June last year. 

Alfie died at his home in Vashon Drive, Droitwich - where he lived with Scott - on February 18, 2021, after suffering abuse and cruelty.

Worcester News: HOME: Police in Vashon Drive after Alfie's deathHOME: Police in Vashon Drive after Alfie's death (Image: PA)

Howell was known to police through his lengthy criminal record. 

The report said "there were several allegations of concern that led to police callouts (at the address) late at night".

The report also said: "There were six known incidents of concern raised with the police or children’s services about neighbours or school staff concerns about physical abuse or Dirk Howell’s harsh and cruel practices to Alfie.

"Each incident would be followed up by a police or social worker visit.

"There was inconsistency when Alfie was spoken to, made complicated by his age and on some occasions the lateness in the day of the visit.

"Too often he was described as ‘safe and well’ when he had not been spoken to.

"The police did not always follow through on injuries noted to Alfie."

Worcester News: MEMORIES: Alfie SteeleMEMORIES: Alfie Steele (Image: West Mercia Police)

Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Jones said: “We continue to extend our deepest condolences to those who knew Alfie, who will forever miss his warm infectious smile and sense of humour.

"The loss his family has experienced is immeasurable.

“Alfie’s family and you, our local communities, deserve to have faith that authorities, including police, will do everything in their power to keep children safe and stop those intent on causing harm and suffering.

"This is why it is important that you understand the partnership’s actions prior to Alfie’s murder, and the measures put in place to ensure children are listened to and kept safe.

“In the immediate aftermath of Alfie’s murder, we carried out an initial review of West Mercia Police’s involvement with the family.

"As a direct result, enhanced training has been put in place for our front-line officers and staff to ensure they fully understand the signs of vulnerability, that they are professionally curious and don’t take information on face value.

"We’ve also worked to ensure that our officers and staff are aware of and consider alternative measures available to us alongside criminal proceedings, such as civil orders.

“We fully support the recommendations of the review and are absolutely committed to working within the partnership to continually develop and improve safeguarding measures for vulnerable children and young people.

“It is with the greatest sadness that we will never be able to undo the dreadful abuse Alfie suffered.

"Our thoughts remain with all those who knew and loved Alfie.”

Immediately after the trial verdict West Mercia Police ruled out a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) saying it was confident the officer's actions did not require investigation.

But the force later made a U-turn, making the referral to the IOPC - which is still carrying out its investigation.

“After Alfie’s case had been heard in court, we made a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct to ensure an independent assessment of our contact with the family,"

"This investigation remains ongoing, but we have committed that the findings will be shared with you as soon as they can," ACC Rachel Jones added.