THE efficiency of Warwickshire Police has been thrown under the spotlight in a high level report from Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams who says she has, “serious concerns about the force’s efficiency.”
With the deadline for the break-up of the strategic alliance between Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police fast looming – 8th October – the recent release of the HMICFRS’s fifth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Warwickshire Police highlights several keys where in the opinion of Wendy Williams the Warwickshire force is under performing to such an extent that it has become a source for concern.
Warwickshire Police have said the report is based on information gathered in March and that things have changed significantly since then and stress that Warwickshire remains a safe place to live and work.
“I have concerns about the performance of Warwickshire Police in keeping people safe and reducing crime and in particular serious concerns about the force’s efficiency. In view of these findings I have been in regular contact with the chief constable because I do not underestimate the challenges ahead,” Wendy Williams said.
The force is good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour. The neighbourhood teams understand community issues and work well with other agencies to resolve local problems. The force has improved how it protects vulnerable people. It works closely with partners to ensure that it safeguards victims,” she added.
But it needs to improve the way it investigates crime and how swiftly it brings offenders to justice. I am concerned that crimes are not always allocated to appropriately trained staff, and that they are not investigated thoroughly enough or supervised effectively.
I commend the progress that Warwickshire Police has made in some areas and will continue to monitor the force’s progress in areas where improvements are still needed.”
Warwickshire Chief Constable Martin Jelley said: “Warwickshire is a safe place to live, work and visit and Warwickshire Police work closely with our partners and communities to maintain this. The force has always welcomed independent inspection to ensure that it is always seeking to improve in the interests of providing the very best public service.
“The latest HMICFRS inspection report (published today) highlights that we are a force committed to protecting people from harm. A good number of our grades, including in the areas of preventing crime, protecting vulnerable people and tackling serious and organised crime, have increased since last year thanks to the tireless efforts of our dedicated officers, staff and volunteers.
“This has been achieved against a backdrop of significant uncertainty and unprecedented change following the unilateral decision of the Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner of West Mercia to terminate our strategic alliance arrangements in October 2018. Since this time the force has carried out extensive work to consider how best to move forward. When the inspection took place, in March, we were only part way through our detailed planning work and our gradings reflect this. However significant progress has been made since this time and we are confident that our new arrangements for the future will address the points raised by the inspectorate.”
In response to the report, Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “First and foremost I welcome the view of HMICFRS that Warwickshire Police is good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour, understanding community issues and working with other agencies to resolve local problems. This is something that our residents are rightly very concerned about, so I am pleased that the work the force and my office have been undertaking to improve these areas of work have been recognised independently.
“We are now in the advanced stages of negotiations with West Mercia Police to finalise the transition arrangements out of the strategic alliance. I am confident that the due diligence that has gone into redesigning Warwickshire Police after the conclusion of the strategic alliance will ensure the public of Warwickshire continue to receive an excellent police service going forwards and that this will be recognised in future inspection reports.”
“By the year end there will be around 170 more officers in Warwickshire and I am confident that the force understands the areas that needs to improve and is putting in plans to address this. My office will continue to monitor closely the progress that is made, as it will be vital to ensuring an improved service to the public.”