His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has today (Friday March 17th) published its latest inspection of Lincolnshire Police under the Police Efficiency, Effectiveness and Legitimacy (PEEL) programme.
The report rates Lincolnshire Police as adequate in areas such as ‘protecting vulnerable people’ and ‘preventing crime’. The inspection also rated the force as requires improvement in its ability to ‘respond to the public’ and ‘record data about crime’. Within the report, HMICFRS makes a number of recommendations about what the force needs to do to improve its performance.
Responding to the report, Chief Constable Chris Haward, said:
“I am disappointed by the findings of this inspection which has overlooked significant areas of development and improvement in the past two years. I have expressed this directly to HMICFRS. The report has identified some areas where we agree with the findings, but there are others where we believe the conclusions have been unduly negative and failed to recognise the progress that has been made. I would like to reassure the public that we in Lincolnshire Police are committed to providing them with the best possible service that we can.
“Policing is more complex than ever, and particularly in Lincolnshire because it is one of the largest geographical areas but with one of the most challenging funding positions of police forces in England and Wales. The report notes that we remain the lowest funded force and it should be read in that context – this is really important because it means that here in Lincolnshire, we have to use what resource we have as efficiently and effectively as possible, and I believe we do. We are ranked the 13th safest place in the country, with 15% less crime per 1000 of population, despite being 36% below the national average in terms of Constables. We are performing exceptionally well within our funding envelope but there is little context given to that in this report.
“We have been on an extraordinary journey over the last two years and have made considerable progress, and I’m pleased to see that this has been recognised by HMICFRS in this report. It’s encouraging to see our leadership and culture has been identified as improving because we know how important it is to get that right internally so that we can deliver a high standard of policing to our communities in Lincolnshire.
“There is of course a great deal of work still to do but I am galvanised by the improvements we are making in order make Lincolnshire the safest place to live, work and visit. This was recognised in the most recent national crime data, which ranked us as being one of the safest places within the UK.
“We have focussed our attention and invested in many areas that we know will help us keep Lincolnshire safe and I would like to take a moment to signpost to them:
“999 emergency response – We have consistently been one of the highest performing forces nationally for our 999-emergency response, despite a significant increase in overall 999 volumes. We are very proud of this performance because it means we are responding efficiently to people when they most need us.
“Call handlers – our Force Control Room is the heart of Lincolnshire Police because this is where the majority of our contact from the public comes in. We will be investing in new call handlers to ensure we continue to improve our service.
“Crime recording – we have supplied information and training to our officers and staff who are responsible for recording crime. One incident may require several separate crime reports, meaning our overall recorded crime has risen as a result. There is still work to do to ensure we capture everything needed to comply with national crime recording standards. This can be very complex, and may require additional staff to check compliance with the rules in order to improve compliance over 90%. I remain confident that victims are being safeguarded effectively, as I would expect.
“Crime and ASB – since our previous PEEL assessment we have made improvements by enhancing our problem-solving and our proactive approach, meaning that our communities are at reduced risk of being repeat victims.
“In terms of crime investigation, we recognise that supervision of investigations is an area of focus for us and we have implemented a new model in January which is designed to give better supervision. That said, the inspection found that we are sending the right staff to incidents, that crimes are being allocated appropriately “in nearly all cases” and that, in the cases reviewed, arrests were made in an appropriate timeframe and at the earliest opportunity”.
“Managing offenders – We recognise that the high level of demand is an issue, and we manage that within the resources that we have available. HMICFRS have described our approach to risk assessment for individuals as being detailed and have recognised our good partnership working and strong investigative capability in relation to the deployment of our digital investigators. Our capabilities are strong in this area, but we will consider how we can enhance capacity within the resources available to us.
“Prioritising – we have created a Roads Policing Unit, a Rural Crime Team, bought more drone equipment and enhanced the technology our officers use to allow them to physically remain out in our communities more. We are prioritising people at risk of domestic violence by investing in more staff in our safeguarding hub to ensure effective safeguarding, management of the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme. We are allocating 12 additional detectives in the Protecting Vulnerable People unit to protect the most vulnerable children and adults in our communities. To ensure we are engaging and understanding our communities as positively as possible, we have invested in our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team.
“Managing demand – we understand our demand better than ever before, following a recent in-depth piece of analysis carried out in force. The challenge in meeting that demand is acute, but we understand it well and make sure we place our people where they are most needed.
“Culture – good culture in policing is vital to ensure that every one of our officers and staff have the right values and behaviours to treat others fairly, with care, and within the law. Since becoming Chief Constable in 2020 I have made it clear that I expect the highest standards to be adopted by everyone who works here, and we have significant and ongoing work internally to make sure everyone is living our force values of being courageous, fair, open and inclusive. Where we find that people might not be, we take swift action to address and remedy that.
“We are already working to address areas of concern that have been highlighted in this report. I am disappointed that our areas of good performance and innovation have not resulted in the assessment grades that I think they deserve. We will continue to do all we can to make Lincolnshire the safest place to live, work and visit.”
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