Force given good review by police watchdog
Main article content
The work of specialist teams, investment in technology and the force’s continued commitment to neighbourhood policing are among numerous areas praised in the latest inspection report for Leicestershire Police.
Inspectors from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) assessed the force in three areas – efficiency, effectiveness and legitimacy – and delved into many areas of policing work carried out by officers and staff at all levels.
Today (Thursday 2 May) it published a combined report which determined that Leicestershire Police was “good” in all areas.
Deputy Chief Constable Rob Nixon said: “We’re pleased with the report’s findings as it highlights the hard work we’ve been putting in in all areas of the force; this hasn’t happened by accident and we’ve been working to make improvement across the board.
“Our focus is, and always has been, how we can serve the public with the increasing level of demand on our services and the financial constraints we are facing.
“With the changes we’ve made, we have – recognised by the inspectors – become more efficient with the officers and staff we have, and are making sure victims of crime have confidence in the service they are receiving from us at the first point of contact, right through the criminal justice system.”
Among the work highlighted by inspectors was that of the Crime Bureau, introduced to help triage crimes at the first point of contact and ensure reports are dealt with efficiently. The team in the Crime Bureau deals with around 1,000 reports each week, helping to ensure they are dealt with by the right area of the force and that victims are contacted quickly in order to obtain further information and provide the relevant support. The good practice of the team was recognised in the report.
The work of the established specialist teams was also highlighted as good practice by the force.
Over recent months, the Serious Harm Reduction Unit (SHRU) has been set up to tackle organised crime and look at, not only the crime itself, but the hidden harm that comes along with serious organised crime – such as the exploitation of children, human trafficking and modern slavery.
The team works closely with partner agencies – local authorities and health services, recognising the fact that these crimes, and very vulnerable people, cannot be dealt with solely by the police.
The report also focuses on the force’s dedication to neighbourhood policing, shown with the movement of officers back into neighbourhoods under the NIUs. Uniformed officers and detectives work side-by-side, based out in the communities they are serving, working to solve crimes happening in that area.
While not all of the officers are out on the beat, there are more police officers based at the local stations, giving more visibility in the communities.
The force’s recent investments in technology has seen all frontline officers and staff be given personal issue mobile phones and laptops, allowing more tasks to be carried out remotely, negating the need to travel back to a police station.
This means less travelling time, allowing each officer to manage their time and work more effectively and efficiently.
Deputy Chief Constable Rob Nixon said: “The introduction of the Crime Bureau has made such a huge difference to the workloads of officers in the NIUs across the force area, it’s encouraging to see this change recognised.
“The early triaging has meant quick contact with victims, where more information can be sought and the best course of action taken in order to try to solve the crime.
“This links into the work of the specialist teams, with officers working in dedicated areas and gaining a huge amount of knowledge and building working relationships across teams and partner agencies. The greater understanding means victims of crime – whatever the crime – are supported through all stages of the criminal process.
“Since 2017, the force has been working to have more officers out in the neighbourhoods of the communities we serve, right across the city and counties. With the introduction of NIUs, more uniformed officers – community-based and response officers – and detectives are right there working in the heart of the local neighbourhoods, offering a holistic approach to solving crime.
“The ability to work remotely, with new technology, has transformed the work officers and staff are able to carry out, with access to all police systems away from a police station. Frontline officers can now take statements and have them signed – all while at the scene of a crime or at the house of a victim or witness.
“Reducing the need to travel back to police stations to carry out, in some cases, very simple tasks. It’s changed the way officers and staff are working, given them more freedom to work remotely and more efficiently away from police stations.”
Other areas singled out as areas of good practice were:
- empathy of call takers when dealing with victims of crime
- work to map the demand on the force
- partnership working with local authorities and the National Health Service
- understanding and identifying vulnerability
- the short films produced by the force based on crimes related to vulnerability, such as Kayleigh’s Love Story and Breck’s Last Game
Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach welcomed the report. He said: “The excellent findings confirm that Leicestershire Police provides a quality police service designed to protect people and keep them safe, which surely the overriding ambition is driving everything we do. It also recognises the plans in place to meet new and changing demand and acknowledges the work to ensure our budget is spent wisely.
“The provision of a truly local visible police service, in our neighbourhoods and on our streets, is something I have been firmly focussed upon since I took up this role and it is great to see that this has been recognised by the Inspection team. I would like to thank every member of the force who has worked so hard to achieve this ‘Good’ grade, supported by the inspirational leadership which has shaped the way police services are delivered across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
“I hope our residents, businesses and people visiting the area are reassured by today’s report. It is hugely positive news for all of them and for Leicestershire Police.”