Lincolnshire Police has been rated ‘good’ in a number of areas.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) awrded the grade for preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour, investigating crime and reducing re-offending and tackling serious and organised crime.
Assistant Chief Constable Shaun West commented: “We’re pleased to have maintained our grading of Good from last year because that means the level of service the public of Lincolnshire receives is of a high standard. Because of budget cuts we are a force that is stretched, meaning our resources are stretched as thinly as possible trying to deal with demand which has not lessened, so this independent inspection means that we are travelling in the right direction despite the limited resource available. We will make sure we continue to do so to keep the people of Lincolnshire as safe as possible.”
HMICFRS highlighted a number of areas of praise:
Investigating crime and reducing re-offending. In areas that could be improved effective leadership is raising standards.
Victims receive a satisfactory service and are kept well informed.
The standard of initial investigations is good.
Investigative support is good, despite backlog in dealing with intelligence submissions.
Necessary arrangements are in place to an attack requiring an armed response.
ACC West said: “It’s important to us as a force that we are doing well in all the areas where we have been graded ‘good’ because they are really the cornerstones of policing – investigating crime, serving victims, and reducing re-offending.
“The report picks out some of the recent investments we’ve made in technology for a safer Lincolnshire, such as Mobile Data Terminals, as being an effective tool to help our staff do their jobs to a high standard. It’s encouraging to see that recognised in this report, and also previously by the Policing Minster Nick Hurd himself, because we know how successful those devices, for example, have been in making improvements.”
The report graded the force as ‘Requires Improvement’ in protecting vulnerable people.
ACC West continued: “There are some areas in which we can improve and we will take on board all the recommendations put forward by HMICFRS.
“We have already begun making inroads into identifying vulnerability. A 2016 Effectiveness report by HMICFRS identified that we were using our analytical capability to support local policing activities, leaving no spare resources to analyse and understand patterns of offending against vulnerable people. To tackle this, we recruited additional analysts so that from the end of last year we can have a better understanding of the nature of this type of offending, such as links between child sexual exploitation and missing children. This area of police work is something we are committed to because if we can establish a picture of the types of crime and vulnerable people who are falling victim to them, the better chance we stand of reaching out to those people before any offending even happens.
“We know from the report that we have a clear understanding and definition of vulnerability and our approach to vulnerable people, that our initial response and assessment is good, and that our safeguarding actions are effective. We remain committed to improving our own processes in terms of analysing and understanding vulnerability.”
The report also states: “Demand is outstripping the capacity of the teams that investigate rape, serious sexual offences and internet child abuse. This is undermining the force’s ability to respond as effectively as it should.”
ACC West went on: “We have made no secret of the fact that here in Lincolnshire our resources are tight. Budget cuts have meant that while we can maintain our established numbers of staff and officers for now, we haven’t been able to make any significant investment in terms of resource and demand so that we can invest more fully in the future. Our teams working in the areas of crime mentioned by the report are doing their utmost to keep on top of demand and we ensure that we regularly review and assess how work is dealt with to try and ensure our work is of the highest quality.
“We of course take on board recommendations from this report and will strive to make sure we make improvements to continue to invest in a safer Lincolnshire.
“I’d like to thank our police officers and staff and our G4S staff for their contribution and their continued hard work in ensuring Lincolnshire Police maintains the high standards of policing that the public of this county have come to expect.”