Sussex police chief hits out at report criticism
The Chief Constable of Sussex Police, Martin Richards, has said Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary's (HMIC) annual value of policing report's claim that the force had not been successful in protecting frontline policing failed to reflect the full picture.
Reacting to today's report, Mr Richards said: “We are not complacent about the issues that this report raises, but officer numbers alone are not the real issue.
“HMIC's view of what qualifies as 'frontline crime fighters' is overly simplistic. They don't take account of the role that police staff and other officers play in fighting modern-day crime. The difference between us and other forces is small – fewer than 80 officers.
“What is important to me is what we do for the people of Sussex and how they feel about the service we provide. Judge us on service, not on numbers alone. It's about the most effective use of officers and staff.
“Even given the HMIC definition of frontline, our reduction of 11% brought about by the need to save an enormous sum of money by 2015 is in line with other forces.
“So of more concern to us is the decline in our emergency response times that the report highlights.
“This is an important part of the service we provide and so we are looking at this as a matter of urgency.”
Mr Richards acknowledged that improvements were needed as his force's response times to top priority (grade 1) emergency calls have fallen in the past three years.
But he said the same period had seen a 10% increase in such calls and coincided with demands for the force to drive through a “challenging” programme of cuts.”
Mr Richards said: “The chances of becoming a victim of crime in Sussex are lower than in many other areas of the country and when judged against the eight forces most like Sussex, we are now second safest.”
New low for crime in Hampshire with fewer officers employed
Crime in Hampshire is at a new low despite the county’s police force having less officers, according to figures released today.
A report by the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary found that the police are being more efficient, with a drop of crime by 16 per cent, although the Constabulary will have around 12 per cent fewer officers by 2015.
This level of crime is the lowest since the Crime Survey for England and Wales began in 1981, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
HM Inspector of Constabulary for the Eastern Region, Zoë Billingham, said: ‘Hampshire Constabulary has a more difficult financial challenge compared to many other forces as it is already an efficient and low cost force. It has responded very strongly to the challenges of the spending review: reconfiguring its workforce; embracing technology to support frontline officers and collaborating with other forces and local partners.
‘Crime has fallen in Hampshire at a greater rate than most other forces. The combination of robust planning, a good track record in delivering savings, a strong commitment to innovation and partnership working and high levels of crime reduction gives HMIC confidence that Hampshire has positioned itself well to manage further reductions.’
Hampshire’s deputy chief constable Craig Denholm said: ‘All police forces have faced an enormous challenge over the last few years and continue to do so. Throughout this time, Hampshire Constabulary has remained committed to protecting our communities from harm and providing an excellent service to the public.
‘Ultimately, we recognise that it’s the people and partner agencies who report crime, provide information and assist with our enquiries who are key to our success which is why putting victims and communities at the heart of everything we do is paramount.’
Not all the figures showed a decline in crime, with a two per cent rise in reported rapes, thought to be a knock-on effect of the Jimmy Savile investigation, according to the ONS.
Theft from a person has risen by nine per cent and fraud has also risen by 27 per cent.
An additional one million offences – which are not included in the police figures – were dealt with by the courts in the year ending December 2012. These cover less serious crimes such as speeding offences.
The county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes added: ‘Against a backdrop of tough economic conditions and government cuts, crime across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight is, for the sixth consecutive year, still falling.
‘The HMIC report also notes that crime has fallen across our two counties at a greater rate than in most other areas. Over the first two years of the spending review, recorded crime fell by 16 per cent and public satisfaction was at 83.4 per cent. This highlights how Hampshire Constabulary staff are working hard to ‘protect people and places’.
‘The force is responding well in challenging financial times, and has managed to protect the service it provides. This has not been easy to achieve and the organisation remains under considerable pressure. Although we will continue to find innovative and cost effective ways of operating into the future, we are being forced to consider the question of what police service we want, and indeed what we can afford.’
Hampshire Constabulary has identified that it needs to save £54.2m over the four years of the spending review.
Victim satisfaction was at 83.4 per cent which is slightly lower than the figure for England and Wales.
Original source Portsmouth News
Metropolitan Police failings over race complaints
The Metropolitan Police force is failing to tackle complaints of racism by its officers fairly or robustly, an inquiry by a police watchdog has found.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission inquiry looked into 60 referrals of incidents between April and May 2012 and complaints from 2011.
The IPCC noted that “too often, complaints are dismissed without proper investigation or resolution”.
The Met said it was “determined to be less defensive” and deal with issues.
The IPCC inquiry was set up in April last year, following several high profile race related incidents and complaints against the Met.
The watchdog carried out an analysis of all racism complaints during 2011-12 and reviewed a sample of 20 such complaints.
IPCC Commissioner Jennifer Izekor said the way the Met handled complaints about alleged racist behaviour by police officers was “crucial to public confidence in policing”.
She said: “This report shows that, though there are some examples of good practice, in general there is an unwillingness or inability to deal with these complaints robustly and effectively.
“Too often, complaints are dismissed without proper investigation or resolution, complainants are not properly engaged with, and lessons are not learnt.
“If the Metropolitan Police Service is serious about building that confidence, there will need to be a cultural change to complaints handling.”
Met's Assistant Commissioner (Territorial Policing) Simon Byrne said: “The Commissioner has made it clear that he is determined to reform the Met. Today's report helps to highlight how big that task is.
“We are determined to be less defensive and accept when we are not performing as well as we should be, and we therefore welcome the report and its findings.
“It is powerful, showing the way we deal with complaints involving racism is letting down the public.”
All public complaints alleging racism which are handled locally will be supervised by the Directorate of Professional Standards until the end of 2013, to ensure staff are adequately trained, he added.
Also, a senior officer of the rank of superintendent or above will be responsible and accountable for how complaints are handled.
Source and image source BBC
Metropolitan Police 'ignore 45% of London crimes'
Up to 45% of all crimes in London are “ignored” by police, Conservatives on the London Assembly have claimed.
Police data for 2012-13 shows that 76% of motor vehicle thefts, 40% of residential burglaries and 23% of robberies were “screened out”.
Tory London Assembly Member Roger Evans said not probing minor crimes robustly was sending a “dangerous message”.
The Met said it investigated every allegation of crime and conducted secondary probes in 60% of cases.
Figures from the force show that about 45% of cases – 346,397 incidents – did not lead to follow-up investigations.
The cases which were “screened out” include 16,820 (76%) reports of car thefts, 16,748 (80%) of bike thefts, about 24,339 (40%) burglaries in residential properties and more than 7,570 (23%) reports of robbery of personal property.
Mr Evans, the police and crime spokesman for Greater London Authority Conservatives, said: “A victim of crime shouldn't feel that the police have no interest in them unless you are physically or sexually assaulted.
“Moreover, many criminals' illegal activities escalate each time they get away with it so we are sending out a very dangerous message.”
A statement from the Met Police said: “The MPS investigates every single allegation of crime that it receives.
“A number of crime allegations will require secondary investigation once the initial investigation is complete.
“The MPS currently conducts secondary investigations in approximately 60% of all crime allegations, as compared to the national average of 45%.”
The force said it was improving the “quality and rigour of initial investigations in order to improve the service to victims by reducing the need for follow up visits”.