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Mixed review for Force in HMIC report

The Force received 'good' ratings in two of the four measures used by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) to consider its effectiveness.

But, since it was found to be in need of further improvement in the other two categories, HMIC has given the Force an overall rating of 'requires improvement'.

Tiff Lynch, chairman of Leicestershire Police Federation, says the final grading was disappointing given that HMIC recognised the Force was taking steps to improve its performance in the areas where it was found to be wanting.

"Since the Force was given two 'goods' and there were clear signs that we were putting improvement plans into action, it does seem a bit harsh for us to be given a 'requires improvement' grade," says Tiff.

"However, given that we have lost around 550 officers in recent years, I am not surprised that we are starting to see the effects of cuts in terms of our service delivery. The reduction in numbers means, of course, that there are fewer officers to go around, leaving those we have left stretched to their limit, struggling to keep up with demand and suffering in terms of their own stress levels.

"The HMIC report highlights the fact that the austerity measures are affecting service delivery so let's hope that the Government takes notice of what the inspectors have to say. As we have been saying for some time, the cuts have gone too far and are reducing our ability to serve our communities."

Leicestershire is one of 13 forces in England and Wales to receive this overall judgment. Of the other forces, one is inadequate, 28 are good and just one is outstanding.

HMIC inspects forces' approach to the most important responsibilities of the police in its Police Effectiveness, Efficiency and Legitimacy (PEEL) assessments and this time concentrated on effectiveness.

Inspectors found Leicestershire Police:

  • Is good at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe
  • Is good at tackling serious and organised crime
  • Requires improvement in investigating crime and reducing re-offending, and
  • Requires improvement in protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims; and

HM Inspector of Constabulary ZoŽ Billingham said: "The Force is operating well in some areas, like neighbourhood policing, but it requires improvement in others, so it is a very mixed picture. I am disappointed to find that overall the performance of the Force has deteriorated since our police effectiveness inspection in 2015.

"In terms of the areas where Leicestershire Police is doing well - I am very pleased that the Force continues to provide a consistently good service to the public in that way it prevents crime and anti-social behaviour. The Force works hard to understand the needs of the communities it serves; employing good use of social media to help with crime prevention.

"Leicestershire Police is happy to innovate - it has introduced 'digital PCSOs' to help keep people safe online. It has also introduced PCSOs who focus on safeguarding vulnerable people. It is excellent that Leicestershire Police continues to push the boundaries of new and innovative practice in spreading the crime prevention word - including through the film, Kayleigh's Love Story, a tragically moving and highly effective campaign to encourage young people to be safe online."

Ms Billingham highlighted the fact that the Force was increasing its use of partnership information and intelligence to better understand the threats posed by this high-end criminality and to take effective action against it. But she argued that its efforts in investigating crime and reducing re-offending had not been as effective.

"An overly-complex process for dealing with crime investigations is hampering the Force's ability to carry out effective and timely investigations. The Force needs to understand why there has been a drop in the proportion of investigations that result in charge and summons as Leicestershire's is currently below the national average," the inspector continued.

But she concluded: "Despite the problems we have identified, I am encouraged that the Force is responding to our concerns already and I am optimistic that this will lead to swift and significant improvements. I will be revisiting the Force soon and will report further on that progress."

You can read the full report for Leicestershire here.