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Derbyshire Constabulary improving but has 'much more' to do

HMICFRS assessed the force as 'adequate' in four areas and as 'requires improvement' in five, with investigating crime and responding to the public among those to receive a lower rating.

The police inspectorate has warned that although Derbyshire Constabulary has made strides in a number of areas, concerns remain over the force's ability to keep people safe and reduce crime.

His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) gave the force an 'adequate’ rating in four areas with the remainder graded as ‘requires improvement'.

The quality of the service provided to victims was also inspected but not graded.

Emphasising the need for continued improvement, HM Inspector of Constabulary Roy Wilsher acknowledged the "difficulty caused by the constabulary’s legacy issues, such as a lack of policy, governance, and performance scrutiny".  

The prevention and recording of crime were two of four areas deemed 'adequate' by the inspectorate, which awarded the same grade to Derbyshire's treatment of the public and management of offenders and suspects.

The staffing of neighbourhood policing teams was a particular issue highlighted with crime prevention; Derbyshire told HMICFRS that, as of the time of inspection, 58% of community support officer and 75% neighbourhood constable posts were filled.

Concerns were also raised about the quality of training given to this group, though HMICFRS confirmed that the force has future training plans in place.

On the plus side, Derbyshire has provided good problem-solving training to operational staff, and carries out some early intervention work which results in prevention.

MICFRS estimated that Derbyshire is recording 92.5% of all reported crime excluding fraud.

Though similar compared to its 2019 re-inspection of the force, this percentage represents a significant improvement on the full inspection undertaken in 2018.

While Derbyshire's officers were praised for their overall treatment of the public, the force's approach to stop and search requires further improvement - particularly around the recording of reasonable grounds, which wasn't always done well enough. 

In terms of offender and suspect management, it was highlighted that Derbyshire doesn't follow the Authorised Professional Practice relating to sex offender management, while there is no force-wide approach to managing outstanding suspects.

The force's investigation of crime was one of five areas graded as 'requires improvement', with supervisors found to have not provided effective oversight of investigations in 17 of 68 cases reviewed by HMICFRS.

Derbyshire also needs to ensure officers always take a victim personal statement, and when a victim decides to withdraw their support from an investigation, that this decision is properly recorded.

The force must also improve how it responds to the public, with HMICFRS finding that its percentage of abandoned non-emergency ranked above the national average of 5%.

Force data shows that between January and June 2022, 18% of calls transferred from the switchboard to the 101 service were abandoned, while this number was 4.8% for calls to the switchboard.

Call handlers were praised for their communication with the public, however.

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