Chief Constable hails 'significant milestone' in police force's transformation

A Yorkshire police chief has hailed a ”significant milestone” in his force’s history after inspectors praised its transformation from previously being one of the country’s worst performing force.

Humberside Police Chief Constable Lee Freeman.

Humberside Police Chief Constable Lee Freeman said “actions speak louder than words” after HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) rated the force as ‘good’ for its effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy.

In 2015 Humberside Police was the only force in the country to be rated as inadequate.

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Under Mr Freeman’s leadership it has undergone remarkable improvement with inspectors praising how the force now investigates crime, protects vulnerable people and how it tackles serious and organised crime.

Major improvements to the force control room were also highlighted in the inspection report with 101 and 999 calls now being answered more quickly than ever before.

It also highlighted an improvement in staff morale and sustained improvements in sickness absence.

HM Inspector of Constabulary Phil Gormley commended the force for the progress it has made and said: “This gives a good foundation for continuing improvement in the year ahead.”

Mr Freeman said the findings were a “giant step in the right direction”.

He said: “When I took over as chief in June 2017, I said that it was actions and not words that the public and my staff needed to see. I believed I had the staff and officers who were professional and committed and recall saying they were absolutely not the inhabiting factor to the force improving.

“I believe the turnaround we’ve achieved shows that this is the case and it is our staff who have delivered these results.”

Mr Freeman said communities were yet to see the full impact the force’s 400 additional officers - made possible thanks to an increase in the council tax precept and utilising unused reserves - will have.

He also pledged his commitment to the force stating he planned to remain in post for the considerable future.

Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Keith Hunter said the inspection findings were a “landmark accomplishment” for the force as it has never received a ‘good’ grading in every area it has been inspected.

He said: “This should be welcomed by all our communities as a signal that their voice has been heard and that their taxes are being well used to provide an improving service focussed on meeting local concerns as well as national threats.”

HMICFRS today published its PEEL inspection reports into 14 forces across the country including City of London, Cumbria, Durham, Dyfed Powys, Essex, Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester, Kent, Leicestershire, Norfolk, Nottinghamshire, West Midlands and Wiltshire, as well as Humberside.

The remaining 29 forces will be inspected later this year.