Lincolnshire Police have been criticised for postponing assessments of registered sex offenders and failing to respond to reports of missing children effectively.
A police effectiveness report published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) on February 18 has ranked the force overall as ‘requires improvement’ at investigating crime, managing offenders, protecting vulnerable people from harm, and supporting victims.
Inspectors uncovered a worrying backlog in the completion of assessments on sex offenders, which have been temporarily suspended on so-called low-risk offenders while officers complete statutory visits on other registered criminals.
The report also criticised the force for not having “a co-ordinated or consistently well-supervised process” for responding to reports of missing children.
HMIC assessors expressed their concerns that the force does not always involve sufficient specialists in complex cases involving serious sexual offences and domestic abuse.
On a more positive note, inspectors found that the force was ‘good’ at keeping residents safe by reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, and effective at tackling serious and organised crime.
The report also highlighted that reported crime has continued to fall in Lincolnshire, and that police have a “robust” system for recording domestic abuse offences.
The children’s charity NSPCC described the findings as “deeply disturbing”.
A spokesperson for the charity said: “We are concerned that as child abusers increasingly groom and abuse victims online too many forces are lagging behind the offenders in this advanced cyber-age.
“As more victims of child abuse and exploitation continue to come forward, it’s essential that all the police are properly trained and equipped to respond to these most horrific of crimes.”
Deputy Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police, Heather Roach, said: “We are currently reorganising some of our resources to respond to emerging threats and areas including child sexual exploitation, missing persons investigations and domestic abuse.
“These changes will improve our performance in these areas.”