Staffordshire Police removed from enhanced monitoring

Staffordshire Police has been removed from ‘enhanced monitoring’ after making “wide-reaching improvements” in the two years since the decision was taken by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

May 22, 2024
By Paul Jacques

His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary Andy Cooke identified “several improvements” since the force was moved into Engage in June 2022.

In particular, improving how it identifies vulnerable people at the first point of contact; and improving the standards of investigation and the service it provides to victims of crime.

Mr Cooke said: “I am pleased with the progress that Staffordshire Police has made so far. Whilst there is still more to do, I have decided to remove the force from our enhanced level of monitoring, known as Engage, and return it to routine monitoring.

“I am reassured by the plans Staffordshire Police has in place to continue making improvements. We will continue to inspect the force to make sure the people of Staffordshire are getting the service they deserve from their police force.”

Chief Constable Chris Noble said: “I welcome this decision, which comes on the back of incredibly hard work by our officers and staff for two years. Most importantly, it reflects an independent assessment that our communities are receiving a much better service, and our ambition is to significantly improve that service further.

“When we were first placed in ‘Engage’ in June 2022, we were taking nearly 25 seconds to answer 999 calls. Now, 999 calls are consistently answered in less than ten seconds. Our control room staff are now routinely identifying the signs of vulnerability in our contacts with the public, enabling us to help and respond to those most at risk more effectively. This is a result of increased investments in our control room, clear performance processes, enhanced leadership, and adopting best practice ways of working.

“We’ve also seen a noticeable improvement in pursuing and bringing offenders to justice – moving from a ten per cent outcome rate in 2022 to 18.5 per cent in the last three months, one of the best rates in the country. This is achieved by our move back to a local policing approach, which has seen our stop and search rates increase by 20 per cent and arrest rates up by 18 per cent. This back-to-basics approach has also seen us maintain our response times to Grade One (emergency) calls, despite facing 10,000 more emergency incidents than when we entered special measures.

“There is, though, much still to do.”

He added: “Everyone in the force is determined to return Staffordshire Police to being an ‘outstanding’ local police service, something it was known for in the past. Moving back into normal inspection monitoring is an important milestone in the journey, but for my staff and I, it is a beginning and not an end. Our focus in the coming months will be on further improving our public contact through a better 101 service, investing further in preventative and proactive policing across rural and urban communities, protecting the most vulnerable and exploiting technology to become more productive and effective.

“This focus will not be straightforward, as we move into a period of financial pressure with one of the least experienced workforces in the country, with one of the heaviest workloads, and the fifth lowest number of police officers compared to our population size. But we are as ‘up for the challenge’ as we were in tackling the numerous areas of concern levelled at us by our Inspectorate in 2022.

“None of this improvement work has been or will be done in isolation, and I want to acknowledge and thank those who have been key in our improvement efforts. The police, fire and rescue and crime commissioner and his team, for their investment and constructive challenge over the last two years, HMICFRS and other police stakeholders, for the supportive approach they have adopted, and our partners in local government and in the private and third sector who are all key in enabling us to deliver the best possible service to the most vulnerable in our communities.

“But I want to conclude by thanking and recognising my officers and staff, who serve our communities every day, often putting themselves in harm’s way and regularly putting the demands of ‘the job’ before friends and family. This is their achievement and reflects their desire to get back to being the outstanding local police service that Staffordshire needs and deserves.”

Staffordshire’s police, fire and rescue and crime commissioner Ben Adams said: “Today’s decision by HMICFRS to remove the force from the Engage process is testament to the wide-reaching improvements made by Staffordshire Police.

“This has only been possible due to the hard work and commitment of all the officers and staff here in Staffordshire, led by Chief Constable Chris Noble and his team, and I’m delighted to see that this hard work has been recognised by HMICFRS.

“This is a significant step forward by Staffordshire Police as they rapidly improve, and I will be closely monitoring the force’s performance on behalf of the communities of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to ensure that this momentum is maintained.”

In removing Staffordshire Police from Engage monitoring, the inspectorate identified a number of “key factors” in making its decision:

In particular, HMICFRS said the force had “significantly improved” the frequency and quality of threat, harm, risk, investigation, vulnerability and engagement (THRIVE) assessments at the first point of contact. It has also improved the identification of vulnerable and repeat callers.

These improvements have been supported by a comprehensive auditing regime that has helped the force to understand its performance and better target work to improve that performance.

In addition, there has been improvement in the standard of investigations and the provision higher quality supervision. The force has also improved its compliance with the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. This means that victims now receive a better service.

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