‘Police taking steps to improve’ Chief Constable says

Neil Rhodes and Alan Hardwick.
Neil Rhodes and Alan Hardwick.

Lincolnshire Police is taking steps to put right shortcomings highlighted in an official inspection, says Chief Constable Neil Rhodes.

The force is rated ‘good’ in Legitimacy and ‘requires improvement’ in Effectiveness and Efficiency.

The judgments come from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) in its latest additions to the PEEL assessment.

Mr Rhodes said: “We take on board fully the recommendations of the HMIC assessment and have already begun implementing a number of actions in order to make sure service is enhanced in the areas where improvement is required.

“The terms of the three individual sections of PEEL have already been analysed in some detail over the course of the last few months at the time each has been individually published and I want people in Lincolnshire to be assured that where any shortcomings have been identified work has been swiftly actioned and will continue.

“There are also some positive points raised in this report. Not least of all the ‘effective approach to crime prevention, tackling anti-social behaviour and disrupting the activity of organised crime groups’ as stated in the report, but also reduction in ‘the time taken to allocate crimes for investigation’.

“Lincolnshire Police is also rated as doing well in working with partner agencies to ‘understand and address local priorities’ and also in engaging with the communities we serve.

“We acknowledge and accept the assessment in relation to our response to vulnerable people and child sexual exploitation, and work required to improve the quality of crime investigations.

“We have made no secret of the fact that we are currently reorganising our resources to respond to emerging threats and areas including child sexual exploitation and domestic abuse, to name but two, so our performance will be improved in those areas.

“Indeed, the HMIC report states that it is ‘reassured’ by our response and our action plans in relation to each of these areas.

“Policing is an ever-changing and ever-evolving world and here in Lincolnshire we do our utmost to change and evolve in line with emerging crimes and threats, and we will always continue to do so.”

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick said is pleased HMIC recognises Lincolnshire is good at crime prevention and reducing ASB.

He said: “Crime has fallen in the county and continues to do so. Indeed, earlier this week the Home Secretary praised Lincolnshire for the ‘particularly significant’ fall in crime figures that we have experienced. The county remains one of the safest places to live in the country and I will continue to work with the Chief Constable to ensure this fact remains.”

Mr Hardwick says he is very clear on the areas where the HMIC deemed improvement is required and that the Chief Constable is acutely aware of his expectations.

• Mr Rhodes and Mr Hardwick also welcomed an HMIC report on Leadership.

Mr Rhodes said: “It specifically mentions how our core values are communicated through PRIDE, which makes me particularly proud. PRIDE – policing with Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Dedication and Empathy – runs through everything our staff and officers do and I absolutely welcome the findings of the HMIC on that point.

“The report also states that some of our staff and officers have uncertainty in relation to what may happen beyond 2017 because of the well-known and well-publicised issues we have experienced with central government funding.

“This is completely understandable. However, the Commissioner has provided me with a budget that allows me to maintain all levels of service for the next year, including 1100 officers and 149 PCSOs, and both he and I are confident that Ministers have listened to the case we have set out and will provide the people of Lincolnshire with the fair funding deal they so rightly deserve and some stability for the future.”

Mr Hardwick said: “It is encouraging to see a number of positive points raised in this report. Leadership is particularly important because it can be how the force’s principles and values are communicated to staff and therefore to the public. As a police force we are constantly assessing and evolving and the Chief Constable and I will ensure that these many good points continue to be implemented, and any that may need adjustment are addressed quickly and effectively.”

The report found that there is good engagement by chief officers with the workforce, especially those in senior positions but while there was a broad understanding of the skills, leadership strengths and weaknesses within senior leadership it was less so at manager and supervisor levels.

Mr Rhodes said: “We put a lot in to talking to the officers and staff who are out there on a daily basis serving the residents of Lincolnshire and it is heartening to see that HMIC rates us as performing generally well in this area.

“Chief officers and those at manager and supervisor levels need to understand what concerns or issues their staff or frontline officers may be experiencing because they are likely to be reflective of what our communities are thinking and feeling. We will work hard to ensure this is improved.”

Commenting on the final point the report makes about the approach to safeguarding vulnerable adults and children and managing demand, Mr Rhodes said: “As part of our ongoing assessment, which takes place at regular intervals and even when not prompted by external inspection, we have been very clear that the approach to some crime areas needs to change along with new and emerging offences. Officers are being dedicated to tackling issues such as child sexual exploitation and modern slavery, to name but two examples, and this work will continue.

“In terms of improvements recommended in investigation of crime and management of offenders, which have already been discussed after being recognised by HMIC in a previous inspection report, I would like to repeat out commitment to making these changes swiftly and effectively. We are doing that by investing in new senior posts, creating a new investigation manual and investing in new posts.”