Watchdog report rates county police as ‘good’ despite some failings

Herts police and crime commissioner David Lloyd
Herts police and crime commissioner David Lloyd

A report into Herts Police’s effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy has been welcomed by the county’s crime commissioner.

The force was one of only 24 across the country rated ‘good’ in the inquiry held by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, in which the body draws together evidence from its annual all-force inspections under the umbrella term PEEL.

The outcome of the report was published today.

The report, which has been conducted over the previous 12 months, rates the county constabulary’s effectiveness as being good at reducing crime and preventing offending and good at investigating crime and tackling anti-social behaviour.

Herts was also rated good for the efficiency with which it carries out its responsibilities, saying it is well placed to continue to provide an effective service to the public whilst reducing its costs further.

However, the findings did raise concerns about the force’s approach to crime-recording, which was not as accurate as it should be.

An earlier audit by the Inspectorate found that in Hertfordshire, just 130 of 181 crimes that should have been reported were logged.

Commissioner David Lloyd said: “The PEEL assessment will assist me in my role in scrutinising the Chief Constable and holding him to account.

“Whilst I am pleased that Hertfordshire has received an overall good rating – and indeed it was one of only 24 forces that was rated ‘good’ for investigating crime – I have been concerned about the identified failings in recording procedures for some time and have been overseeing an improvement in their accuracy rates since these were first identified earlier this year.

“Likewise, I am passionate about improving the services for domestic abuse victims in the county, and though HMIC have identified that the Constabulary has improved on their disjointed approach to victims – I want to see this improve further.”

In the PEEL report concerns were also highlighted about the service provided to some domestic abuse victims, in particular, highlighting a disjointed approach the force had to victims assessed as being at some risk of harm.

The report said however that it was encouraged by the progress made in response to their initial inspection on this matter.

HM Inspector of Constabulary for the eastern region Zoë Billingham said: “I have been impressed that Hertfordshire Constabulary has invested in crime prevention initiatives which have had a positive effect in terms of keeping levels of crime down and protecting the public from harm.

“The force is focused on the needs of victims, and ensures that the quality of victim contact is largely consistent. The victim satisfaction rate in Hertfordshire is higher than England and Wales as a whole.

“The investigation of crime is of a good standard and the force works well with partners, such as local council and the probation services, to tackle prolific burglars.”

Mr Lloyd added: “Overall, we should not lose sight of the fact that Hertfordshire is a safe place and that our police force is doing a good job in policing the county –as confirmed by this HMIC report.

“However, as the PCC for Hertfordshire I am continually listening to the public in Hertfordshire, as well as the HMIC, so that improvements can continue to be made to the services delivered by the Constabulary.”