POLICE and council chiefs in Worcestershire are joining forces to help tackle the problem of children missing from care homes.

From now on, data on all the children’s homes in the county will be freely available to police officers in a bid to quicken the process for finding youngsters who run away.

Both parties are going to develop an “information sharing protocol” on children in care so they are better prepared if they run away.

It follows the recent publication of a report which revealed how social services and police missed opportunities to intervene after nine men were jailed in May for grooming girls as young as 13 in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.

There are four registered care homes in Worcestershire run by the county council, which look after a total of 26 children.

But there are also several private centres, many of which are not known to police.

Councillor Liz Eyre, the cabinet member responsible for children and young people’s social care, said: “It is a major part of the council’s responsibility to keep children safe and this cannot be done in isolation.

"Police need access to the full information they need to keep children safe. I’m very happy to recommend this.”

West Mercia Police will get a list of all the homes in Worcestershire and “permissible data” on all looked-after children.