Report finds police force must improve its service
LEICESTERSHIRE Police needs to improve how it keeps the public safe and tackles crime.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has given the force an overall rating of requires improvement when it comes to how efficient it is at keeping people safe and reducing crime across Leicestershire.
HMICFRS judged that Leicestershire Police requires improvement at understanding the demands for its services, at how it uses its resources, and at planning for the future.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoë Billingham said: “Leicestershire Police is working hard to improve its efficiency.
“I am encouraged that the force has recognised that its organisational structure is causing some inefficiencies.
“Its extensive change programme is designed to address this through a reorganisation of its workforce and considerable changes in how incidents and investigations are managed.
“I am encouraged that the force is also improving how it manages hidden demand.
“The force has a sound understanding of the operational skills of its officers and staff, although more could be done to further encourage talented people within its workforce through more formal development schemes.
“I am pleased that the force works in strong and close collaboration with neighbouring police forces across the region and works well with other local agencies, like local councils and other emergency services.
“The force has rolled out mobile devices to all frontline officers and staff.
“This initiative will help to improve the efficiency of the workforce, and support the provision of a better service to the public.
“The force’s finances are stable and it has consistently met savings targets.
“The force will need to plan carefully to achieve a sustainable financial position for the future, while meeting increasing demand. I am confident that the chief constable and his chief officer team will continue to move the force in the right direction over the coming year.”
In an environment of increasingly complex crime and changing demand, police forces are generally continuing to manage their resources well, according to the latest report into police efficiency, published by HMICFRS.
These are the third annual efficiency reports to examine how well police forces in England and Wales understand demand, use their resources and plan for the future.
Two forces have been graded as ‘outstanding’, thirty forces as ‘good’, ten forces as ‘requiring improvement’ and no force as ‘inadequate’.
Two more forces than last year have been graded as requiring improvement, although, as was the case last year, the majority of forces have been graded as good by inspectors from the watchdog.
HMI Mike Cunningham, who led the inspection, said: “The findings from this inspection are positive, with the majority of forces able to demonstrate that they have absorbed budget reductions well and have improved the efficiency with which they operate.
“We recognise the pressures forces are facing are increasingly complex.
“The speed with which forces can improve efficiency relies on the continued resilience, adaptability and commitment of those working in policing. From speaking to staff and officers throughout every police force in England and Wales, we can see that policing is under significant stress.
“In the last year, we have seen bravery and professionalism in dreadful circumstances, showing that policing relies on the commitment and dedication of its workforce, whatever their rank or role, to help keep the public safe.
“Forces continue to have to make challenging financial decisions.
“However, the majority of police forces need to be much more ambitious in their plans for changing how policing services are offered in the future, and to accelerate those plans, especially when improving their digitally enabled services.”
Responding to the report, Leicestershire Police said inspectors had recognised the force’s organisational changes carried out under the codename Darwin.
Changes are being used to reduce the number of abandoned non-emergency 101 calls, how the force manages incidents and incestigations and the use of new technology to fight crime.
The report also noted the budget cuts faced by the force and the falling number of officers in recent years and recognised Leicestershire Police were sensitive to the needs of the community and working to understant the needs of the communities it serves.
Chief Constable Simon Cole said: “Policing is a fast-moving and dynamic environment, and we need to continually change to meet evolving public demand and expectation, the increasing complexity of demand, and the changing profile of crime.
“To do that, and to deliver the best possible service we can with diminished budgets and resources, we need to adapt our approach and structures, deploying resources in a truly responsive way, and Project Darwin is helping us to do that.
“Whilst it is disappointing to receive an overall grading of “requires Improvement” from HMICFRS, it’s good that the work underway to enhance performance is acknowledged in today’s report.”