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Gloucestershire Business News

Gloucestershire police 'inadequate' in key areas

Gloucestershire Police has been severely criticised in a new report, being rated 'inadequate' in more than half the areas considered.

These included how the force protects vulnerable people and how it investigates crime. It was also told it is not recording crime effectively.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) graded Gloucestershire Constabulary's performance across eleven areas of policing and found the force was 'good' in four areas, 'adequate' in one area and 'inadequate' in six areas.

Wendy Williams, Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary, said: "I recognise that Gloucestershire Constabulary has faced many challenges over the past year in making the transition out of the pandemic. However, I have concerns about the force's performance in keeping people safe and reducing crime.

"The force's service to victims of crime is inadequate and it isn't recording crime effectively. The force is sometimes missing opportunities to safeguard vulnerable people. The way crime is recorded has improved since our last inspection in 2019, but I am concerned that it still isn't effective, particularly in cases of domestic abuse and anti-social behaviour.

"The force isn't yet able to respond effectively to calls to the control room or when it deploys officers to incidents, despite establishing a new way of working. The force should gain a better understanding of these demands and be able to manage its resources more effectively as the new system develops."

She went on to say he force must ensure officers have the capacity and ability to investigate reported crimes properly and promptly. Opportunities to prosecute were being missed because investigations were poor, or because officers hadn't collected evidence or persevered in enough cases where the victim no longer wishes to pursue a prosecution. This made successful prosecutions less likely, which let victims down.

However, the force was judged to be good at treating people fairly and with respect and worked well with communities. It was said to be 'improving its understanding of the use of force' and improving the way it uses so-called 'stop and search'.

The force is assessed to be good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. It worked well with other organisations to reduce demand and safeguard vulnerable people. It was also good at identifying and tackling serious and organised crime.

Despite these sweeping criticisms, the inspector said there had been ' significant improvement' from the last inspection.

She said: "I will monitor the force's progress towards addressing the areas I have identified where the force can improve further."

Gloucestershire's Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Nelson says a lack of investment by his predecessor and his failure to address persistent problems with crime recording have contributed to failings highlighted in the report.

He said he took the findings 'very seriously' and said those areas deemed inadequate was 'not acceptable'.

He added: "I also share the view that this report misses crucial context in some places, not least that the Force had to operate under the extraordinary circumstances of a pandemic when it continued to deliver its core duties whilst also enforcing lockdowns and dealing with people who were infectious with Covid at a time when no vaccines were available."

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