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Cambridgeshire police told to improve its effectiveness

By Adrian Curtis

Government inspection says region's police requires improvement

Cambridgeshire police have been told it needs to improve following a government inspection into its effectiveness.

An examination carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), has judged the Cambridgeshire force as ‘requiring improvement’ for its effectiveness.

The inspection took place in September 2017 last year, and assessed the force on its ability to: Investigate crime and reduce re-offending; protect vulnerable people and its specialist capabilities.

Examiners found that while the force made good use of intelligence and regularly updated victims as investigations progressed, there was some inconsistency in the level of supervision and direction to officers working on crimes.

The judgement left the force chiefs ‘disappointed’ and insisted the inspection came at a period when there was an unprecedented demand for the service.

Deputy Chief Constable Alan Baldwin said: “We accept the findings of HMIC’s effectiveness inspection, however, we are disappointed with the judgement of ‘requires improvement’.

“Our inspection came at a time of unprecedented demand for the police service, not only in Cambridgeshire, but across the country, and the findings by HMICFRS reflect this.

“While we continue to have peaks in demand, our levels have returned to normal, and we are putting measures in place to reduce the chances of this happening again.

“For example, we are currently implementing the Local Policing Review - a new policing model that will deliver a demand-led and victim-focused service to provide much needed support to the frontline, and our Police and Crime Commissioner has the support of the public in the county to increase council tax by £12 per year, which will be used to recruit 55 new warranted officers.”

Investigators did, however, praise the region’s force for the well-developed relationships it has with partner organisations, which is helping support vulnerable people and address the needs of victims.

The force’s mental health triage scheme was also highlighted, which involves mental health professionals being located in the force control room to provide real-time clinical advice to police officers on patrol to help them identify and support people with mental health conditions.

While the service is not available 24/7, it has not only meant that fewer people have been taken to A&E - reducing pressure on hospital emergency staff, more importantly, it has improved the service provided by the police to people in crisis when at their most vulnerable.

The force’s limited use of Domestic Violence Protection Orders was identified in the report, however, the use of Clare’s Law has improved and the rate at which Cambridgeshire Constabulary charges domestic abuse offenders with a crime is above the rate for England and Wales.

DCC Alan Baldwin added: “While the timing of the HMICFRS inspection demonstrated the strain on the force during the period of exceptional demand, we are still proud of the good work we are doing, as highlighted in the report, and will use the areas of improvement identified by HMICFRS, to ensure we continue to improve our service for the people of Cambridgeshire.”


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