Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has published its annual assessment of policing in England and Wales.
HMIC said that forces will find it challenging to make further savings and efficiencies. The report urges the police service to focus on improving information and communications technology to increase efficiency. HMIC are critical of police force information technology which they claim is inadequate.
On police integrity, HMIC believe that public confidence in the police has been hurt by a series of negative stories about the service. The police service has been damaged but not broken by recent controversies.
HMIC says that Parliament and the electorate need more time to make a full assessment of Police and Crime Commissioners. The report acknowledges that Police and Crime Commissioners have shown leadership in the quality and operation of the criminal justice system. HMIC also recognises that relationships between Police and Crime Commissioners and Chief Constables are demonstrating substantial improvement over the police authority model, with greater focus on the needs of the community and far less bureaucracy.
Tony Lloyd, Chairman of The APCC Board and Greater Manchester PCC, said:
“I welcome HMIC’s acknowledgement that Police and Crime Commissioners are driving forward a better focus on community policing issues and reducing the level of bureaucracy seen under police authorities.
“Look across England and Wales and you will see the difference Police and Crime Commissioners are making to local communities. At the heart of our agenda is a greater emphasis on neighbourhood policing and making forces more responsive to communities concerns on crime. The public want visible policing and despite budget pressures forces are recruiting Constables, Community Support Officers and Specials.
“There is a pressing need to improve police technology. Through our leadership of the Police ICT Company we plan to drive forward improvements. Police and Crime Commissioners are already investing in technology to keep officers on the streets, not in offices completing paperwork.
“The report challenges the leadership of the police service with regards to police integrity and public confidence. Police and Crime Commissioners are at the forefront of the police services commitment to tackle integrity issues. Forces are introducing greater scrutiny measures to monitor officer integrity and we are working closely with the College of Policing and Chief Constables to raise professional standards to increase public confidence.
“HMIC rightly pointed out our leadership role in the quality and operation of the criminal justice system and that Police and Crime Commissioners have made a good start. Police and Crime Commissioners want a more joined up approach between criminal justice partners and voluntary and charitable sectors so that we enhance and improve services for victims. By working together locally we are determined to put victims at the heart of the criminal justice system.”