A FORMER police officer has received a national award for his work to prevent child neglect.

David Hunt was recognised by the NSPCC at its Best Practice Awards ceremony in London.

Mr Hunt, who previously worked for Sussex Police, received his award for co-ordinating different agencies in Brighton to help them to work together in spotting signs of neglect.

As the learning and development officer for Brighton and Hove Safeguarding Children’s Partnership (BHSCP), Mr Hunt has been responsible for implementing a tool developed by the NSPCC.

The Graded Care Profile Two (GCP2) tool uses a traffic light colour system to measure quality of care and helps users identify signs that a child could be at risk of neglect.

Mr Hunt said: “As neglect is one of the local authority’s priorities, we knew we needed to be proactive and do something about it.

“After various research, we decided the NSPCC’s GCP2 tool would be best for us.

“I was tasked with ensuring our partner agencies knew about the tool and would be able to utilise it.”

The BHSCP works with Brighton and Hove City Council, Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group and Sussex Police to safeguard children and young people.

Mr Hunt has been promoting the use of the NSPCC tool among the police.

He said: “As an ex-police officer, I spent most of my career either doing child protection work or teaching child protection.

“Response officers are quite often the first people to arrive at an address.

“So I have designed check list cards to fit into police officer’s pocket books, which encourage them to look at signs of child neglect within a household.”

Sam Kyriacou, implementation manager at the NSPCC, said Mr Hunt deserved the award for his “outstanding enthusiasm and motivation” in promoting the tool in Brighton and Hove.

He said: “David has gone above and beyond to bring together key agencies to better recognise and respond to neglect locally.

“We wish him the best of luck in continuing his work to implement GCP2 successfully in Brighton.”

Mr Hunt was presented with his Best Practice award by actress Jane Asher.

She said: “The Graded Care Profile is an extremely important tool, not just when it’s used for unearthing possible child deprivation or abuse, but also, when such deprivation is found, in sensitively guiding parents and carers into the changes necessary to avoid the affected child being taken into care.

“But any tool, however wonderful, can only be as effective as those who use it, and I’m so pleased and honoured to be presenting awards that recognise some of the people who have successfully employed the tool and helped to make some children’s lives far better than they would otherwise have been.”

According to the NSPCC, neglect is one of the most dangerous forms of abuse and Sussex has seen an increase in the number of cases recorded by police.

In the year between 2018 and 2019, there were 139 child cruelty and neglect crimes which was a 75 per cent increase from the year between 2013 and 2014.