A report by the police inspectorate has found that Warwickshire Police makes effective use of its resources, plans well for the future and understands the levels of demand and public expectation.
The ‘Police Efficiency 2017’ report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Police and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), which also assesses leadership within policing, gave police in the county an overall rating of ‘good’ for the efficient way it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
Inspectors praised the way the force understands hidden harms and allocates resources according to demand, as well as its partnership working and collaborative arrangements with other emergency services and public sector organisations. The force’s handling of emergency calls was also praised, as were the investments which have been made to deliver a new control room, supported by new command and control, call-handling and intelligence systems, alongside technology to enable mobile working.
The report stated that the force’s future plans were ‘supported by a clear evidence base’, with the change programme overall called ‘an ambitious and innovative change, pushing the boundaries of conventional policing’. The inspectors further described the force’s alliance with West Mercia Police as a ‘best-practice benchmark for other forces implementing similar organisational change’.
Areas for improvement highlighted were a need for the force to have effective processes in place to help it understand how well its investigative model is working, as well as a leadership skills audit, to help it understand the capacity and capability of its staff.
The inspectors also voiced concerns about the number of calls to the 101 non-emergency number which were abandoned before they could be answered, though the report noted the force was managing the operational pressures presented by its current systems and processes until the new technology is brought on stream and performance has considerably improved in recent months.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “Ensuring efficient and effective policing is a fundamental objective of my Police and Crime Plan for the county, so it is pleasing that the inspectors have confirmed that Warwickshire Police is indeed efficient and well-led, while also making best use of the resources available to it.
“It is also reassuring to see the report acknowledge the improvements which have been delivered since the previous inspection and I will continue to hold the Chief Constable to account to ensure that similar levels of improvement continue to be delivered in future.
“I have paid very close attention to the issues with 101 as I know these are a concern to residents. I have made several visits to the force control room to meet call handlers and talk with senior management to understand the issues and the solutions that are being put in place. Since the inspection, there has been a decrease in the numbers of abandoned calls to 101, despite this being an interim period before the new control room and improved call-handling technology goes live. I am also pleased that the inspectors found that 999 calls are generally handled well, which reflects the emphasis placed by the force on protecting people from harm.
“The significant investments I have made in state-of-the art technology to support frontline policing are now starting to come on stream and when the new control room at Stuart Ross House in Warwick opens next year I anticipate that further improvements to the service delivered to the public will be made. This will all serve to make Warwickshire Police even more efficient in the years to come and ensure that the public continues to get the right help at the right time.”