Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Policing is making progress in some areas, but forces still need to get a grip on performance

POLICE forces have improved in several areas in recent years, but the public is still being failed too often, the police inspectorate has warned.

Police performance: Getting a grip

In a new report, His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has highlighted police forces’ progress in recording crime, increasing from an estimated 80.5 per cent of all crime being recorded (excluding fraud) in 2014 to 92.4 per cent at the end of 2021/2022 inspections.

However, the inspectorate has found that too many forces are failing to properly understand and manage their own performance, meaning they don’t know what issues are most important to tackle and where and how they can improve.

Inspectors highlighted several other issues that policing needs to address to improve the service they provide to the public. These include:

  • too many forces make decisions based on poor data or insufficient analysis of data;
  • forces too often have knee jerk reactions to long term problems and don’t work proactively enough to prevent issues arising in the first place;
  • first-line supervisors are critical to improving performance and developing the right culture in forces, but they are not getting the investment and support they need;
  • the public is too often being failed at the first point of contact, with long call delays, in particular non-emergency 101 calls; and
  • the workforce is increasingly under-resourced and under skilled, with forces not doing enough to understand why such a large proportion of its workforce are leaving and having any plans in place to tackle it.

His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Andy Cooke, said:

“We found a wealth of examples where police forces are performing well. Forces must learn from each other and should consider if the positive practice described in this report can be applied in their own area.

“But the public are still being let down too often by policing, and there are several improvements that forces need to make. One of the first things forces need to do is to get better at understanding and managing their own performance. Without this, forces cannot aspire to provide the high level of service that the public deserves.

“The public’s trust and confidence in the police are at an all-time low, so it is vital that forces take heed of our findings and work quickly to rectify the issues highlighted.”

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