Page 9 - Police Magazine - April 2017
P. 9


 Federation: HMIC  report is a ‘wake-up call’

     Picture © Brian A Jackson                                                  PEEL: Police effectiveness
                                                                                2016 report at a glance

                                                                                Effectiveness was the final part
                                                                                of HMIC’s annual inspections into
                                                                                police efficiency, effectiveness
                                                                                and legitimacy (PEEL) to be
                                                                                published last month (March).
                                                                                 It asked the question ‘How
                                                                                effective is the force in keeping
       The latest HMIC report
       has highlighted concerns                                                 people safe and reducing crime?’
       that neighbourhood                                                           l  one force – Durham – was
       policing is disappearing                                                     judged ‘outstanding’ overall
                                                                                    l  28 forces were ‘good’
      Detectives ‘crisis’ leaves victims at risk                                    l   l  13 ‘require improvement’
                                                                                    one – Bedfordshire – was
      For the first time HMIC has acknowledged   committing crimes not been logged on   rated ‘inadequate’ overall.
      a “national crisis in the shortage of   the Police National Computer.      Key causes for concern were an
      detectives”, and says the public –    The HMIC findings echo warnings     “erosion of neighbourhood policing”,
      including vulnerable victims – are being   from the Police Federation’s National   and HMIC also warned of a “national
      put at risk.                         Detective Forum (PFNDF). PFNDF chair   crisis in the shortage of detectives”.
       Inspectors revealed that poaching from   Martin Plummer said the report came   Reported sexual abuse has soared in the
      other forces had become the norm for   as no surprise. “We have for some time   wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal and the
      CID units struggling with their workloads,   highlighted the simple fact that if you   investigation of historic sex crimes has
      as forces try to increase the number of   reduce the number of experienced   increased significantly. Scotland Yard is
      detectives with experience of working   detectives, because of police reform, not   reportedly short of up to 800 detectives
      with vulnerable people.              only do those remaining in the role have   to investigate crimes such as domestic
       HMIC found the national shortage was   increased workloads with extra strain, but   violence, robberies and burglaries.
      “often leading to excessive workloads and   younger officers no longer see a career as   Mr Plummer said: “Detectives are asked
      stress among those currently in the roles.”   a detective being appealing.”  to investigate the most serious crimes,
      More than one in five cases were not   Last year the national lead on cyber-  dealing with the worst criminals, yet
      investigated because “the victim does not   crime, DCC Peter Goodman, revealed   are not being afforded the appropriate
      support police action”; in domestic abuse   that over half of all UK crime is now   resources to progress these enquiries.
      cases the proportion was even higher.  online, often involving extremely complex   “Confidence in investigators and
       There were also flaws in tracking   investigations, and Office for National   the outstanding work they have done
      down criminals because of failures in   Statistics estimates showed more than   over many years has led to increased
      procedures, HMIC said, identifying that   five million fraudulent online transactions   trust, but, as a result, unprecedented
      the details of  67,000 people suspected of   in just 12 months.           reporting of historical crimes has heaped
                                                                                unacceptable workloads on already
 Inspectors fear neighbourhood policing is now  ‘on the missing list’           stretched teams.
                                                                                 “Work-life balance for detectives is
       The HMIC found a variety of spending on  previous year. That’s not good enough.   increasingly poor, and shift patterns
      neighbourhood policing – more than two-  “We’ve talked about the firearms   compared to their uniformed colleagues
      thirds of forces now allocate less than 13   uplift in the face of terror threats but   are frequently not favourable. There is
      per cent of their total budget to it.   equally important is engaging with   a crisis in British policing. We are losing
       PFEW chair Steve White said: “This is   communities. Foiling terrorist plots and   experienced detectives who are not being
      what we have been warning of. Vital   fighting anti-social behaviour relies on   replaced, and any efforts to deal with
      preventative patrols, which safeguard   an intelligence-led approach. You can’t   this across the country are not sufficient.
      the public, are endangered. As HMIC   do that without neighbourhood policing   As a result we are seeing dangerously
      points out, only 19 per cent of the public   and you certainly can’t do that if you   unacceptable levels of stress and anxiety.
      reported seeing a foot patrol at least once  aren’t out and about on the streets   We have a real welfare issue and we need
      a month, compared to 26 per cent the   talking to people.”                action now.”

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