Government inspectors have concluded that Leicestershire Police needs to improve how it reduces crime and keeps people safe from harm.
They praise the work the Force has done to prevent crime, tackle anti-social behaviour and keep young people safe, as well as its record on tackling serious and organised crime, and give the force “good” grades in each of these areas of service.
But in terms of the Force’s effectiveness at investigating crime and reducing offending, protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and in supporting victims, they conclude the Force needs to improve.
The report published today (Thursday 2 March) by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMIC), following an inspection its staff carried out last October into all four areas of work in Leicestershire, gives the force an overall rating of “requiring improvement”.
Chief Constable Simon Cole said he was “disappointed” with the headline rating but said that work that began last year to address the HMIC’s concerns was already leading to significant change and an uplift in performance.
And Lord Willy Bach, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Leicestershire, said he was confident in the action the Force had taken in response to HMIC’s findings and was proud of the “many” good examples of performance which the HMIC highlight in their report.
In the two areas graded as “good”, HMIC praise many areas of service and performance. They conclude that the Force is:
- Good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour;
- Fully committed to local policing - Neighbourhood policing teams understand their local communities and work well with partner agencies, such as local authorities;
- Quick to respond to changes in the composition of local communities;
- Continually broadening its approach to keeping people safe and preventing crime – the report praises the introduction of Digital PCSOs and Safeguarding PCSOs, the high-profile CEASE campaign, and the “highly effective” film Kayleigh’s Love Story to warn young people about the possible dangers of online activity;
- Good at tackling serious and organised crime, works well with partner organisations, and has a good understanding of the threats and risks faced by local communities;
- Undertakes effective engagement activity with the local community and partner organisations and makes good use of social media channels;
- Good at pursuing suspects who present a high risk to others and is particularly good at managing the risk posed by dangerous and sexual offenders;
- Good at preventing people being drawn in to serious and organised crime, with initiatives in place with partner organisations; and
- Has good plans to mobilise in response to the threats set out in the strategic policing requirement.
Areas for improvement
HMIC highlights a number of areas where it concludes that the force needs to improve its performance, the majority of which fall into two particular categories:
Crime and Incident management
HMIC conclude that the Force needs to:
- Improve how it investigates crimes more effectively and in a timely manner;
- Improving its initial investigative response;
- Increase the proportion of investigations which result in charges and summons;
- Improve and make more consistent its initial investigative response;
- Ensure all incidents requiring an emergency response are graded accordingly
- Improve attendance in response to reports of crimes; and
- Enhance the quality and supervision of initial investigations.
Service to victims
HMIC conclude that the Force needs to:
- Address delays in contacting some victims;
- Improve the contact with victims during the course of investigations;
- Improve the service it provides to some vulnerable people, in particular victims of domestic abuse;
- Improve the arrest rate for domestic abuse;
- Improve officer and staff understanding of the term “vulnerability” and the risk faced by vulnerable people in the community; and
- Increase the number of arrests made in Domestic Violence and abuse-related cases
Chief Constable Simon Cole said: “Given the number of areas where HMIC has praised our work, our performance, and our innovation, it is naturally disappointing to be graded overall as requiring improvement.
“At the time of the inspection last year we pointed out areas where we felt we needed to improve, and set out the steps we planned to take to address these issues. Action has been taken, and further work is underway currently, to improve the way we respond to and investigate reports of crime and to ensure we support victims and keep them fully informed of progress.
“Both the Commissioner and I recognise that identifying and understanding what makes some people vulnerable and how best, in partnership with other agencies, we can help protect them, is of vital importance. We have done a great deal of work over the years in this regard, not least through the introduction of the Mental Health Triage car, and through the way in which we have increased accessibility to services - for example, by the introduction of the Cyber Cops - and through the making and distribution of the film Kayleigh’s Love Story.
“We remain determined to address each and every one of the areas that HMIC highlight as in need of improvement, and are confident that the changes we have already made are reaping dividends. “
PCC Lord Bach described the overall rating from HMIC as disappointing but said he had every confidence in the force’s ability to deliver the “improvements”.
He said: “There is an enormous amount to be celebrated about the Force’s performance, about its innovative approach, and the quality of service it provides. The force does a fantastic job.
“That’s why I find it disappointing that the HMIC have failed to place their report into a degree of context.
“Whilst the population of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland has continued to increase at a rapid pace year after year, the money made available by government to fund policing has continued to diminish and as a result, we now have 547 fewer police officers than we had in 2009.
“At the same time, the nature and complexity of crime has changed dramatically, with a very significant proportion being committed online, and societal demands and expectations have drastically changed.
“You can’t keep doing more with less. The position becomes unsustainable and cracks begin to show. I’ve made my views clear on the funding situation and will continue to lobby for a fairer funding deal.
“The Force has accommodated these changes extremely well, through sound financial management, effective leadership and innovative service delivery. Whilst we will continue to strive to improve and will of course address all the HMIC’s observations, it is important that the totality of the services provided by the Force are seen in context.”
A copy of the report can be found HERE
Posted on Thursday 2nd March 2017