The county’s police and crime commissioner has said there is long-standing morale issue in his police force with staff having “been allowed to swing the lead”.
Northamptonshire PCC Stephen Mold made the damning comments to the Northamptonshire Police and Crime Panel on Thursday, April 5, after he was hauled over the coals for the county police force’s recent ‘requires improvement’ rating from the Home Office.
Last month the force was deemed to be not meeting the standard in most judged areas and not carrying out basic policing duties.
Chief Constable Simon Edens is responsible for the day to day running of the force.
Mr Mold, who has been in office for almost two years, said: “I think there has been a morale issue. Northamptonshire Police still has a cultural problem and the Chief Constable recognises this, but would say you don’t turn it round in five minutes.
“People have been allowed to get away with swinging the lead or not working as hard as they should be.”
Mr Mold told the panel of an incident in which an officer let a handbag snatcher off with the crime because he did not have the time to deal with it.
He said he was going to give the police chief just a short time to turn it round and he would make changes if necessary.
The police commissioner has the power to fire the chief constable.
Panel member Cllr Richard Auger, who served as an officer at Thames Valley Police, said it was a very worrying situation.
He said: “There are 18 improvement areas and 15 of them are flaws in basic policing.
“The public are asking for an effective job whereby the villains are being arrested.
“Where you get an improvement area where cops aren’t nicking bad people that tells you something about this organisation.”
He told Mr Mold: “I think this is serious, because it is not just this year. It is last year as well.
“Something is wrong somewhere. I think you have a significant problem and I think this is going to stain all the excellent stuff that is going to be done. Because if we can’t police effectively and if we don’t know what threats are out there then what are we sitting here for if we can’t protect the public?”
The commissioner said he would bring the chief constable before the next police and crime panel meeting in July to answer questions.