The public receives inconsistent service from their local police forces, a report published by the police watchdog has revealed today.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) inspected all 43 police forces across England and Wales during 2018/19 and found that although many forces are performing well under pressure, the consistency of service across England and Wales needs to be addressed.
In the report Divergence Under Pressure HMICFRS found that forces are still struggling to understand demand in their areas. This is preventing them from being able to use their resources well and plan for the future. Forces also need to ensure they are determined to maintain and improve how they treat the public, in particular using stop and search fairly and properly.
Other key findings revealed:
forces have greatly improved their ability to protect vulnerable people and support victims;
there is still a lack of capacity in neighbourhood policing to analyse and use intelligence;
the likelihood of the police bringing someone to justice following a criminal investigation is decreasing; and
there are stark differences in the way forces investigate crimes across the country.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr said: “Our assessments show that policing across England and Wales is largely in good shape. But we cannot ignore that forces are providing services under the twin pressures of rising demand and falling resources. And these pressures have not fallen equally across police forces. Some forces have risen exceptionally well to the challenge. But this generalisation misses some noticeable differences between police forces and the service they provide.
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“This has resulted in members of the public receiving very different services provided by their local force, depending where they live.”
One of the force's most recently inspected was West Yorkshire Police. Yorkshire's largest force was graded as 'outstanding' for its efficiency and 'good' at reducing crime and keeping people safe. It has recently seen reductions in the number of serious and violent crime.
Knife crime has fallen 9.2 per cent since April 2019, while robberies involving knives is down 17.4 per cent and serious violence has fallen by 6.1 per cent.
Violence involving firearms has also seen nearly a 20 per cent reduction
Chief Constable John Robins said the results are "testament" to the hard work of police officers, staff and volunteers at West Yorkshire Police.
He said: "They have done all they can to tackle crime in recent years, whilst the demand upon them has increased in both volume and complexity. I would also like to acknowledge and thank our partners and the public for their joint support to tackle criminality.