PCC Stephen Bett has said he is encouraged by two reports by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) – but he is seeking reassurances in several areas highlighted by inspectors for improvement.
Norfolk Constabulary has recently been inspected by HMIC over Child Protection and Crime Data Integrity. Reports into both were published this week.
Stephen said: “I welcome both HMIC reports and I have told the Chief Constable I will be questioning him in detail on both at our public meeting on September 17.
“Protecting children is one of the most important areas of work for any police force and it is critical that children, particularly vulnerable children, are kept as safe as possible. It is therefore reassuring to see that HMIC found Norfolk Constabulary is strongly committed to protecting children in the county from abuse and violence. It is also encouraging to see efforts have been made to improve recognition of those at risk and to hear praise for partnership working.
“However there are areas which need addressing and I want to know what is being done to make improvements in these areas. For example the inspectors concluded more needs to be done to assess the risk suspects could pose to other vulnerable people, particularly in cases of child sexual exploitation. They also found officers attending an incident do not always have access to information about the possible presence of registered sex offenders or families ‘at risk’. I understand progress has already been made in some of these areas but I want to be reassured this is the case and suffice to say I will be monitoring progress closely.
“On crime data integrity it is good to see Norfolk was one of the better performing forces but it is clear to me there is more work to do to improve some of the processes by which the Constabulary records crime. I was concerned to read that ‘some victims’ crimes are not being recorded and they are not getting the service they deserve’. Again I understand work has already started to improve matters and again I will be monitoring progress carefully.
“It is crucial that crime recording is victim-centred and if a person says a crime has been committed the Constabulary has a duty to record it. I want to see a victim-centred police force where people feel confident to come forward. Ultimately ethical, compliant crime recording underpins community confidence in the police. This is equally true of how the report is dealt with and resolved.
“It is however reassuring to see that HMIC recognises there is strong and committed chief officer leadership with clear guidance and that the force has a well-developed audit regime of incident and crime recording.”
The next public Police Accountability Forum will take place at 10am on 17 September in the Norfolk Room at Breckland Council Offices, Dereham. Agenda and papers to be published shortly.