Cambridgeshire Police requires improvement says report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary
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There is still more work needed to improve the way Cambridgeshire Police investigates crime and how it handles domestic abuse is also a ‘cause for concern’.
Zoe Billingham, of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, made the findings following a recent PEEL Assessment which looks at effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy.
In her preliminary report, published today (Thursday) Ms Billingham, found Cambridgeshire Constabulary requires improvement in the way it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
She also found there was need for improvement in the way crime investigations are carried out.
She said: “In HMIC’s crime inspection in 2014 we recommended that improvement was needed in the quality and consistency of crime investigations.
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“In this inspection we found that there are still the same areas for improvement. There are inconsistencies in the quality and supervision of initial investigations, which means there is a risk that opportunities to gather the best evidence to bring offenders to justice may be missed.
“It is disappointing not to see more progress in improving the standard of these initial investigations.”
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But she did concede that after the initial response, the quality of subsequent investigations is ‘adequate’ and Cambridgeshire police is good at managing those offenders causing the most harm.
It was also found that while Cambridgeshire Constabulary generally provides a good service in identifying vulnerable people and responds well to them, there is room for improvement.
She said: “For example the response to the investigation and safeguarding of domestic abuse victims is a cause of concern to HMIC.
“The constabulary may not be consistently dealing with domestic abuse offenders in the most appropriate way, to prevent reoffending and protect victims.”
But Cambridgeshire police is good at disrupting the activity of organised crime groups and staff responsible for investigating serious and organised crime are “highly skilled and experienced”.
The leadership has strong oversight of the force’s ability to respond to national threats, such as terrorism, national cyber-crime incidents and child sexual abuse.
Its own arrangements for ensuring it can meet its national obligations in this regard (such as planning, testing and exercising) are good.
The report found Cambridgeshire Constabulary to be good at efficiency.
“It has a good track record in reducing its costs while maintaining its police officer numbers. It has plans in place to meet its entire anticipated future savings until 2019/20, with a lower than average reduction in police officer numbers,” said Ms Billingham.
“It has focused on improving efficiency by using technology to make best use of police resources and through collaborating with other police forces. It has also sought to protect frontline services by reducing the numbers in senior ranks where possible.”
When it comes to legitimacy Ms Billingham found: “The chief officer team takes seriously the need for an ethical and inclusive workforce and there is an effective approach to improving the wellbeing of its staff.”
She also found that local teams have a good understanding of their neighbourhoods and engage positively with the public.
This is the first time HMIC has graded forces on their legitimacy, so there is no year-on-year comparison.
She concludes: “Overall Cambridgeshire Constabulary requires improvement in the way it keeps people safe and reduces crime. It is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour.
“While there are a few areas for improvement, including better use of community resolutions and how the constabulary evaluates ‘what works’, the public can feel confident that the constabulary is working well to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour, and keep people safe.”
An NSPCC spokesman, following the report, said: “It’s concerning that frontline staff, according to HMIC, are still confused about what their responsibilities are. Vital opportunities to protect vulnerable children or identify a potential risk of sexual exploitation may be missed.
“We welcome the investment of additional resources in specialist teams to support and safeguard vulnerable victims.
“As more victims of child abuse and exploitation continue to come forward, it’s essential that all police forces are properly trained and equipped to respond to these most horrific of crimes.”
See the full report here: http://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmic/peel-assessments/peel-2015/cambridgeshire/