YP Comment: A cleaner bill of health for Yorkshire police forces

GIVEN the extent to which the senior ranks of Yorkshire's police forces have been beset by scandal and controversy in recent times, it is to the credit of the current leadership teams that all four constabularies received favourable assessments from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary. This verdict also comes in the wake of the Rotherham sex grooming scandal '“ the ramifications of this are still being felt in South Yorkshire '“ and stands in contrast to Cleveland Police which has been named and shamed by the watchdog for a number of serious failings.
Yorkshire's four police forces have been assessed.Yorkshire's four police forces have been assessed.
Yorkshire's four police forces have been assessed.

However far-reaching challenges do remain in the wake of this cleaner bill of health. It is clear that this region’s forces need, where possible, to recruit a greater proportion of staff from ethnic minority backgrounds now that the recruitment freeze has been relaxed – this is key to the police retaining the public’s confidence in Yorkshire’s more diverse communities. Suspects also need to be told why they’re being questioned under “stop and search” powers. Again, this is central to the related issues of trust and integrity.

Nevertheless, the pressures facing the police on a daily basis should not under-estimated. Not only has the number of frontline officers been cut, but the policing landscape has changed out of recognition – Yorkshire is far more ethnically diverse compared to a decade ago and the advent of the internet has changed the dynamics of the police’s work. People are more likely to be a victim of cyber-bullying, or identity fraud, than a mugging.

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Moving forward, these challenges will become no less daunting. They will only multiply, especially if further cuts are required in order for George Osborne to balance the books by 2019. However this mission will be a less onerous one if Yorkshire’s forces maintain the public’s confidence – and vice-versa.