Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has today (March 22) published a report on how effective Warwickshire Police is at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Overall the report finds that the service provided by the force requires improvement, in contrast to the previous year’s assessment, which judged the force to be good.
Key areas that need improvement include the development of a deeper and more detailed understanding of local communities to ensure the force’s response to problems is based on public feedback. The use of structured problem-solving techniques is recommended to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour among neighbourhood policing teams.
Inspectors also highlighted the need for Warwickshire Police to improve its processes for assessing how its tactics to tackle serious and organised crime are working, though the report makes clear that the force works well with partners to understand the risks posed and local arrangements work effectively to prevent organised crime.
While the Inspectors found that officers and police staff have a good understanding of the signs vulnerability and Warwickshire Police investigates vulnerable people well, the report calls for the force improve its overall service to vulnerable people, particularly victims of domestic abuse when officers are delayed or unable to attend at the earliest opportunity. It has also been asked to review why in a high proportion of domestic abuse cases victims do not support police action.
Responding to the report, Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said:
“It is obviously disappointing that this latest report has a ‘requires improvement’ finding, particularly since the force has been rated as ‘good’ for effectiveness in both 2014 and 2016. I will be asking the Chief Constable for a detailed update on the plans to address each of the concerns raised by the Inspectorate and the aim must be to restore a ‘good’ rating or better by the time of the next inspection.
“The report is not all bad news, however, and I am pleased that the Inspectors have noted that the role that the considerable investments I have made into new intelligence systems, command and control software and our new control room will have in mitigating a number of the concerns as they start to come on stream.
“The report also highlighted that other technologies which had only been recently introduced at the time of the inspection are already making an impact and are part of the solution to delivering an improved overall performance. For example, body worn video can assist with the gathering of evidence to support prosecutions for domestic abuse cases which might otherwise prove more difficult to prosecute, which was an area of particular concern for the inspectors.
“I am also pleased to see that the emphasis my office has placed on leading the work to tackle serious and organised crime has been recognised and that the Serious and Organised Crime Joint Action Group we established was described as ‘active, influential and has proven successful in bringing police and partners together’.
“Moving forward, I will be hosting two events for police and partners later this year to look at problem solving in local communities, which will incorporate training on the best practice nationally to address the concerns in the report. This will supplement that work which the force is already conducting to widen the use of structured problem solving techniques.
“Ultimately I want Warwickshire Police to be efficient and effective and do its utmost to protect people from harm, an aspiration which I know the Chief Constable shares. I will continue to press for improvement and I expect the force to take the criticisms in the report constructively in order to deliver real progress over the next 12 months.”