In the HMIC PEEL (Policing Effectiveness, Efficiency and Legitimacy) report released today (Thursday 2 March), HMIC inspectors have given Avon and Somerset an improved grading of “good,” recognising the significant progress the force has made in the year since their last inspection.
Inspectors said the force is good at preventing crime, anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe; investigating crime and reducing re-offending; and protecting those who are vulnerable from harm and supporting victims.
In the last year, the force has made significant improvements, protecting neighbourhood policing whilst tackling demand to ensure that vulnerable victims and communities get the support they need. We have:
- Preserved numbers of frontline officers and PCSOs; we recognise their importance in connecting with communities to gather intelligence, get upstream of crime and provide reassurance
- Put energy and resources into community problem solving and early intervention, working with partners to more effectively to tackle challenges within our community
- Invested significant management support to help us to better deal with demand from some of the most complex, sensitive and damaging crimes
- Continued to place vulnerable victims at the heart of policing, whether they are victims of CSE or sexual offences, or vulnerable elderly people who are prey to rogue traders and distraction burglaries
- Established a mental health triage in our communications centre to ensure people in mental health crisis get the right help; we anticipate over the next twelve months this will result in us attending 1,100 fewer incidents
- Worked with Fire to agree that they will be the first attender where possible on calls to check the welfare of individuals.
Whilst the force was graded as ‘good’ overall, HMIC identified the way the force tackles serious and organised crime as an area for improvement. The force is praised for assessing threat and risk but the report highlights the importance of the role of neighbourhood officers, and recommends closer working the with south west regional organised crime unit.
Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Morgan said: “This is a very encouraging report. The last year has been a time of transition and HMIC inspectors have recognised the very hard work and commitment of officers and staff in achieving some significant improvement. Keeping local communities safe, supporting vulnerable victims and reducing crime are the highest priorities for us. Neighbourhood policing is central to that and we will continue to preserve the numbers of frontline officers and PCSOs.”
Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “From the HMIC’s report, I hope local people can see that Avon and Somerset Constabulary are good at keeping people safe, reducing crime and providing an effective service to the communities they serve.
“I’m pleased the report acknowledges the Constabulary’s improvement in the quality of its investigations, particularly those involving vulnerable victims. Protecting the most vulnerable from harm is a priority in my Police and Crime Plan and a lot of work has taken place to provide an enhanced support service for our most vulnerable and intimidated victims and witnesses.
“The Constabulary continue to work closely with partner organisations, sharing information to provide a tailored service to victims, helping them to cope and recover. It is encouraging to see that more victims are having the confidence to come forward and report to the police - this is incredibly important.
“There is still work to be done, in particular in areas such as tackling serious and organised crime and I will be discussing the findings of the report further with the Chief Constable. However, I know the Constabulary are committed to continually improving its effectiveness.”
Posted on Thursday 2nd March 2017