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Avon and Somerset praised for keeping people safe and reducing crime

For the second year running, HMICFRS has judged Avon and Somerset Police as 'good' in how legitimately it keeps people safe and reduces crime. 

Today (Tuesday 12 December) Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services published national and force-specific reports for their PEEL legitimacy and leadership inspections, which took place earlier this year. 

Inspectors judged Avon and Somerset Constabulary to be ‘good’ at how legitimately it keeps people safe and reduces crime. It follows a similar rating 12 months ago.

As part of the review, the force received an outstanding rating for the “fairness and respect” it treats all of the people it serves. 

Inspectors praised “effective communication skills, particularly the importance of different communication techniques and styles when speaking with members of the community, who are vulnerable through mental ill health or crisis. 

“The use of body-worn video footage to role model the communications skills of officers and staff when dealing with the public is innovative and sends out a strong message about the standards the force requires of its workforce. The force should ensure that body-worn video is used in all stop and search encounters to provide additional reassurance to the force and its communities,” said the report. 

Avon and Somerset was also praised for a “clear investment in seeking external scrutiny and oversight” to ensure people are treated with fairness and respect. 

In addition to its outstanding grading, the force received good ratings for its ethics and values and the way in which it treats its workforce with fairness and respect. 

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “While the Constabulary have received an overall rating of ‘good’, I am delighted HMICFRS have found them to be ‘outstanding’ in the fairness and respectful way it treats the people it serves.

“Independent scrutiny offers an opportunity to show local people they can have confidence in their police service.  The report commends the Constabulary’s use of external scrutiny of which my independent Scrutiny of Police Powers Panel, who use body-worn video footage to monitor the use of Taser, Stop and Search and use of force, is a prime example.

“The principle purpose of a police service is to keep people safe and reduce crime and I hope local people are reassured by this report.  There is still work to be done and I will be following up with the Chief Constable on the areas for improvement.  However, I know the Constabulary are committed to improving their vision of becoming an outstanding force.”

Chief Constable Andy Marsh said: “I am pleased the force has received an overall good rating for the second-year running from HMICFRS, who bring independent scrutiny to policing. We’re here to provide the best possible service we can to ensure our local communities are safe and feel safe. Treating people with fairness, respect and compassion is at the very core of what we do and I’m reassured HMICFRS have recognised this again. 

“The same qualities are just as important in our leadership within the organisation and I’m encouraged  that HMICFRS saw the work we do to ensure our own workforce is also treated fairly and with respect. Listening to our staff is just as important as listening to our communities and feedback from each is equally important to help us continue our work to improve our service, within the organisation and outside in the communities we serve. 

“Obviously while we are pleased with the good rating, we recognise that there is more to do and will continue to strive for an overall outstanding grading,” confirmed the chief constable.

Posted on Tuesday 12th December 2017
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