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Investigating crime performance has “deteriorated” in Wiltshire

HMIC revisit found that Wiltshire had made some progress on the treatment of victims but was not routinely identifying repeat victims

Wiltshire's PCC has called for “strategic improvements and leadership” after a revisit inspection by HMIC found that the force’s performance in investigating crime had deteriorated since it was put into Special Measures in February this year.

The revisit found that the force had made some progress on the treatment of victims but was not routinely identifying repeat victims.

PCC Philip Wilkinson said: “While there may be some small areas of improvement, I share those valid concerns that in many areas reviewed by HMIC, improvements are not happening as quickly as the public, or I, would want.

"My job is to ensure the Chief Constable is being held to account for the service delivered by Wiltshire Police so tangible change can be seen, and felt, by those who call upon the police in their hour of need. I have been robust in that challenge and scrutiny – and I have been extremely clear this slow level of improvement, and deterioration in some areas, simply isn’t good enough.

“The Force has recognised the need for rapid change and has committed to supporting victims, improving investigative standards and identifying vulnerability at the earliest opportunity but there must also be the requisite strategic planning by senior leaders in place which enables frontline officers and staff to deliver that change. I will continue to challenge for those strategic improvements and leadership on behalf of the public.”

During the initial inspection between 17 January and 11 February 2022, HMIC found that the force is failing to:

As part of its re-visit assessment, HMIC reviewed 90 case files. In addition, it also reviewed 60 ‘outcome types’. (When officers close a case of a reported crime, it is assigned an outcome type. This describes the reason for closing it.)

HMIC found that checks to ascertain if a victim was vulnerable had improved and were completed in 46 of 53 occasions reviewed.

But the frequency of repeat victim checks hasn’t improved and checks weren’t completed in 16 of 51 cases reviewed.

Most seriously HMIC found that the force wasn’t carrying out effective investigations and performance has deteriorated since the previous assessment.

It added: “Some investigations weren’t carried out in a timely manner, and relevant and proportionate lines of enquiry weren’t always completed. Many investigations weren’t properly reviewed by supervisors and lacked investigation plans.”

HMI Wendy Williams said: “Since moving Wiltshire Police into our enhanced monitoring process earlier this year, known as Engage, we have frequently and intrusively examined the force’s plans for improvement.

“As part of the Engage process, we revisited the force last month and found it had made progress in some areas. This is to be welcomed.

“However, the force has not made meaningful progress in other areas, including routinely checking for repeat victims, or giving victims crime prevention or scene preservation advice. We also found that its performance in investigating crime has deteriorated.

“As a result, Wiltshire Police remains in the Engage process while we continue to closely monitor its progress."

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