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GMP removed from enhanced monitoring after improvements made

Force commended for halving its number of open investigations

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has been removed from enhanced monitoring after inspectors found it had made a number of improvements since being placed into special measures in December 2020.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) took the decision after an earlier review found that the force had failed to deal with 80,000 crimes.

After being tasked with developing an improvement plan to address the specific issues that led to this outcome, GMP has since made sufficient progress to be removed from this level of monitoring.

HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Andy Cooke, said: “I am pleased with the progress that Greater Manchester Police has made so far.

"Whilst there is still more to do, I have decided to remove the force from our enhanced level of monitoring, known as Engage, and return it to routine monitoring."

The force will be assessed again in 2023. 

An improvement in how the force responds to the public was highlighted, as was its improved accuracy in recording crime. GMP was also commended for halving its number of open investigations, and for developing a better understanding of its workforce.

The task of overhauling GMP fell to CC Stephen Watson who was appointed in May 2021.

One of his first actions was to put in place a large dedicated team of mostly retired desk-based officers to carry out initial investigations into reported crimes and also prepare arrest packs for completed inquiries and identified offenders.

The Crime Investigation Team, made up of 14 supervisors and 95 investigators force wide, was launched  to help alleviate pressure on frontline officers,

He told Police Oracle earlier this year that huge strides had been made to turn around a force that had become "something of a sleeping giant".

Having labelled its failures "those of strategic leadership", CC Watson believes what has happened since "speaks to the determination, enthusiasm, and hard work of our staff".

Speaking today (October 28), he said: "The fundamental failing was simply that we stopped doing the basics well, we stopped being the police and we stopped doing many of the things that our public have every right to expect.

"I have however, from the very point of assuming command of the Force last summer, been given ample evidence to assert that our recent difficulties do not bear a true reflection of the commitment, professionalism and courage that are so abundantly to be found amongst the officers and staff of GMP."

In a statement released following HMICFRS' decision, GMP referenced a number of improvements which have been made.

One of the key issues highlighted originally was that the force had not dealt with 80,000 crimes; now, GMP is considered to be compliant with national standards and is recording around 30,500 crimes per month.

In June 2021, 999 answer times were averaging at one minute 22 seconds; this is now seven seconds.

The average non-emergency answer time was six minutes 44 seconds; this is now one minute four seconds.

While further improvements are needed to response times, grade 1 calls have improved to an average of 10 min 19 seconds, down from a peak of 13 mins 35 seconds.

The response time to grade 2 calls, which in August 2021 stood at 28 hrs 45 min, is now at 2 hrs 13 mins. 

Though full of praise for the progress made, CC Watson stressed that "nothing in these welcome developments implies any complacency on our part", with further work still to be done.

Mike Peake, Vice Chair of Greater Manchester Police Federation, said: “GMP Federation does not just welcome the news that HMICFRS have taken the decision to remove GMP from special measures but also that GMP is the most improved force in the country.

“Chief Constable Steve Watson is right to thank officers and staff for their continued professionalism, which has been present not just during the period of improvement, but an ever constant when facing the everyday pressures that modern day policing brings.

"I make specific mention to the reduction of the time now taken to answer 999 calls, just 7 seconds, at a time when the public need us the most. There are now 30,500 crimes recorded each month, along with in an increase in burglary arrests by 68%.

“It is also important to acknowledge the positive impact that Mr Watson and the new force senior leadership team have had since their arrival last year. To their credit they have listened to the concerns raised by our members, and GMP Federation have started to forge what is a good working relationship with them.

“We now have a foundation to build on, and with the uplift in officers and the forces recognition of the need for more investment in officers, staff, training, and investigative resilience we are confident the force are heading in the right direction.”

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