In the second of a series of HMIC PEEL (Policing Effectiveness, Efficiency and Legitimacy) reports released today, HMIC inspectors say Avon and Somerset Constabulary is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour and in tackling serious and organised crime but lacking consistency in standards of victim care and the quality of investigations.
The reports says the constabulary is generally good at identifying vulnerability but our assessment of risk for domestic abuse victims and missing people is not always evident.
While acknowledging the force has introduced a new way of working which puts victims at the heart of our operation, and has introduced a new crime recording system, HMIC says further work is required by the force in the way it handles investigations.
An overall judgement of ‘requires improvement’ was the conclusion of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary following their latest inspection of forces across England and Wales into policing effectiveness.
T/ACC Kay Wozniak said of the findings: “The inspections were carried out at a time of transition for the force as we introduced a new crime recording system and bedded in a new operating model. HMIC understood the potential for teething troubles in the early stages but saw that the transformation would put victims at the heart of the way we work, bringing together neighbourhood and response officers in a more seamless approach to tackling crime.
“Keeping local communities safe and reducing crime are the highest priorities for us. I am encouraged by HMIC comments which reflect where we were at the time of the inspection but recognise there is still work to be done to ensure we provide a first class service to the communities of Avon and Somerset,” said T/ACC Wozniak.
The inspection said we had “good arrangements in place to tackle serious and organised crime” and recognise the threat, and take action to ensure the right operational response is in place to deal with criminal activity. The report added that through the force’s expertise, offenders were being deterred from becoming lifestyle criminals.
Since the new operating model was introduced to the force, a new ‘Pacesetter’ meeting, held daily and chaired by a chief officer, has been responsible for initiating the arrest of more than 1000 offenders through a series of high visibility and covert arrest operations.
Other improvements have included:
- A reduction in crime and anti-social behaviour above the national average. There were 53,359 incidents of anti-social behaviour in the force area in the 12 months up to 30 June 2105, a 16% fall in this area of crime (compared with national fall of just 3%) compared with the same period 12 months earlier.
- Significant changes in the prioritisation of 101 and 999 calls to the force’s communications centre have placed vulnerability at the heart of what we do; now all calls to the communications centre are viewed through a prism of threat, harm and risk to ensure the most vulnerable victims get the support they need when they need it.
- Our work with the PCC to improve the victim and witness care service resulted in an overhaul of our support for victims. Those people who are most vulnerable and in need of support now receive a seamless and comprehensive service throughout the criminal justice process, from crime through to court, via the flagship Lighthouse programme.
Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “From HMIC’s report it is clear that more works needs to be done to ensure the standards of investigations are consistent and that victims are routinely updated about the progress of their case and I will be reviewing HMIC’s findings with the Chief Constable.
“I do appreciate that there have been significant changes in the way Avon and Somerset Constabulary operates and records crime which has caused some challenges. I am pleased that the Constabulary’s work with partners on preventing crime and anti-social behaviour and its extensive work responding to serious and organised crime has been recognised as ‘good,’ by inspectors.
“There was also recognition from inspectors for the pioneering work by ‘Lighthouse,’ the integrated victim and witness care service, which was seen as ‘a ground-breaking advance in how the constabulary works with partner organisations to provide a comprehensive service to victims.’
“We’ve worked hard to build a bespoke and comprehensive care system for our most vulnerable and intimidated victims and witnesses in order to help them cope and recover and I am delighted that this has been acknowledged,” said Sue Mountstevens.
Posted on Thursday 18th February 2016