Gloucestershire Constabulary records crime well but must improve response to the public

There are “serious concerns” in how Gloucestershire Constabulary responds to the public, according to the latest inspection by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

Mar 12, 2024
By Paul Jacques

The inspectorate said the constabulary has made several improvements since its last inspection, particularly in how and when it records crime, where its performance was ‘outstanding’.

Inspectors also said that officers are provided with training in how to effectively engage with the public, carry out stop and search, and use force appropriately.

However, HMICFRS said the constabulary needs to improve its response to the public, particularly the time it takes to answer emergency and non-emergency calls.

It also said that Gloucestershire Constabulary should ensure officers and staff have the right skills and experience to carry out quality investigations.

Across nine areas of policing, inspectors found the constabulary was outstanding in one area, good in one area, adequate in two areas, requires improvement in four areas and inadequate in one area.

His Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams said: “I have concerns about the performance of Gloucestershire Constabulary in keeping people safe, reducing crime and providing victims with an effective service. In particular, I have serious concerns about how it responds to the public.

“Since our last inspection, the constabulary has made significant efforts to improve in the areas we highlighted as causes of concern or areas of improvement, which I recognise.

“But, despite these improvements, more is required to place the constabulary in a position where it is consistently providing a good standard of service to its local communities.

“I look forward to seeing how the constabulary continues to work to improve its performance, which I will be closely monitoring.”

Gloucestershire’s police and crime commissioner Chris Nelson said: “This report shows that the constabulary has made great progress since it was plunged into ‘enhanced monitoring’, and that progress has continued with considerable and rapid improvement in the FCR since the inspection was carried out last June – as the data shows.

“I’m pleased that every crime really does matter and is now being counted, something that wasn’t the case before I was elected, and that officers engage effectively with the public.

“As the first point of contact for most people who want the police, our call handlers are on the front line. That’s why I found the money to hire more staff and modernise the technology because improving the service has always been one of my top priorities.

“As a result, the constabulary’s call handlers have been answering 999 calls well within the ten second national target for many months. The response time on the non-emergency 101 line has also been falling consistently, with the average wait now well under two minutes. I want to see this continue, especially when there are spikes in demand.”

Mr Nelson added: “It can take time to turn around an oil tanker, but great progress has been made. That’s why the same inspectors took it out of enhanced monitoring – what most people call ‘special measures’ – in record time, faster than any other force.

“But that does not mean the job is finished and I will continue to hold the constabulary to account as it continues to progress.”

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