01:14PM, Thursday 28 April 2022
The country’s inspectorate of police forces has said that Thames Valley Police is in need of further improvements in its performance.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) graded Thames Valley Police’s performance across nine areas of policing.
It found the force was ‘good’ in three areas, ‘adequate’ in four areas and ‘requires improvement’ in two. These were ‘Responding to the public’ and ‘Good use of resources’.
One area of improvement since the last inspection was the time it takes the force to answer emergency and non-emergency calls.
Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, Roy Wilsher, said that Thames Valley Police has had ‘a demanding 18 months’.
“It has dealt with a serious terrorist incident, multiple public protests and increased levels of homicide,” he said.
He said it was ‘noteworthy’ that the force is making efforts to support fair treatment inside and outside the force, working to attract people from ethic minority backgrounds.
He also praised its ‘proactive approach to the wellbeing of the workforce’.
“But, despite these positive elements, we found that the force is struggling to meet some of the demand in a timely way,” he said.
As the force now records more crime than before and prepares cases differently, officers are busier than they were, while some aspects of policing have become more complex.
At the same time, the force is bringing through new, inexperienced staff, who require more training and supervision, Mr Wilsher said.
The force has introduced ‘some notable innovations’, looked for more efficient ways of working and moved additional staff into some areas.
“However, lack of resource is affecting the timeliness of its response to the public, the investigation of crimes, and the assessment of risk to vulnerable people or by potentially dangerous offenders,” said Mr Wilsher.
“The work pressure on some staff is also undermining the steps that the force has taken to improve the wellbeing of its workforce.
“Thames Valley Police isn’t blind to this, and it was reassuring to see that it had already identified some of the issues we found during our fieldwork.”
Deputy Chief Constable Jason Hogg of Thames Valley Police said: “At the time of this inspection, Thames Valley Police had been operating during the pandemic for over a year, going on to respond to nearly 65,000 COVID-related incidents in an 18-month period.
“Despite all of these challenges, no areas of Thames Valley Police were considered ‘Inadequate,’ and I am immensely proud of our officers and staff for their tireless work in protecting the public.
“However, to continue to deliver an effective and efficient policing service, we must strive to continually improve in all areas across the force.
"The findings of this report enable us to do this, together with learnings taken from national issues that rightly challenge us to reflect on how we best service our communities within the Thames Valley.”
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