Re­port finds po­lice force must im­prove its ser­vice

Hinckley Times - - NEWS - CLAIRE MILLER hinck­ley­times@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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.”

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