The majority of police forces do a good job in keeping members of the public safe, with two thirds of forces being graded as either ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by the latest HMIC PEEL Effectiveness inspection report.
The wide-ranging inspection found most forces provide a largely good service in keeping people safe and preventing crime, and many forces are praised for improving the service they provide for vulnerable people.
But the report, released on 2.3.2017, found the service is not as well equipped to prevent crime as it has been in the past.
Three main areas of concern were highlighted by the inspection:
Responding to the report, Chief Superintendent Gavin Thomas, President of the Police Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales, said:
“The public will be worried by this report and I share their concerns.
“There are now 34,000 fewer staff working in policing than there were in 2010, including 19,000 fewer police officers. The amount of money available for policing has also reduced over time.
“At the same time, a great deal of police time and resources are now spent meeting the demands of complex welfare and vulnerability issues in society. As a minimum these should be addressed in partnership with other public services. But as a 24/7 service, policing continues to pick up demand that is not being met by other services.
“The report highlights inconsistency in some critical areas of policing. It is neither sustainable nor fair to the public that vital services such as protecting children or vulnerable adults can be so variable across the country.
“Rather than a criticism of leadership, this situation demonstrates the limitations on delivering policing today within an outdated structure of 43 different forces each with its own local governance arrangements and priorities. As well public protection and vulnerability, many other crimes are not constrained by local geography or force boundaries; cyber-enabled crime, which is now the biggest single type of crime, being just one example.
“My Association has repeatedly asked who has national oversight of policing to address some of these critical service-wide issues, and this report underlines the urgent need for that question to be addressed.”
The full report can be viewed on the HMIC website.