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Forces continue improvements despite COVID and job pressures

Two forces have pledged to act on calls by HMI to improve areas of performance in the latest PEEL reviews.

Surrey and Cambridgeshire have cleared inspections – but both have agreed to work their responses to crimes.

Both forces have been given a ‘good’ rating in their PEEL reviews and Cambridgeshire is now classed as a national innovator in forecasting future demand.

The latest results made it clear that the two forces are satisfactory with no major areas of concern.

It continues the broad trend of forces improving, which HMI has praised given the impact of COVID and budget pressures.

Cambridgeshire is good at keeping people safe, but the force is letting itself down in two areas – the most concerning for inspectors is that it still isn’t routinely attending incidents quickly enough.

Roy Wilsher, HM Inspector of Constabulary, said: “If the constabulary doesn’t attend incidents in time, it can cause victims to lose confidence in it, or in more serious cases to be put directly at risk. This is an area for improvement. The constabulary must also improve how it investigates and supervises crime.”

Surrey got a better result – clearing the critical hurdle of recording crime, an issue which has caused several forces to face further scrutiny. It was also rated outstanding for preventing crime.

Surrey Chief Constable Gavin Stephens said: “I am proud of all of the teams involved for this achievement, which recognises the hard work that has gone into ensuring that Surrey is, and feels, safe. To put this into perspective these results, coupled with the fact that we remain the fourth safest county whilst located next to our capital city is an outstanding achievement.”

The force was rated good in this area along with use of resources and protecting vulnerable people.

Its focus on neighbourhood policing was also commended.

Mr Wilsher said: “The force has invested in developing its problem-solving and specialist neighbourhood teams since we last inspected. Neighbourhood policing is valued by the force, and I am encouraged to see that resources aren’t routinely diverted into other areas of
policing. I am also pleased to see the value the force places on early intervention.”

But it needs to do more to monitor registered sex offenders and ensure they comply with ancillary orders.

The two forces confirmed they have already begun work on the issues raised about improvement.

CC Stephens said his force had done well given the audit had happened at the end of lockdown: “There is always room for improvement, not only when it comes to managing offenders and suspects, but across some other performance areas which were identified as adequate.

“I will be working with my Senior Leadership team in the coming weeks and months to review the recommendations to ensure that we deliver the best possible service to our communities."

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