Northamptonshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has said he is “disappointed” with a report that found the way the force deals with vulnerable people requires improvement.
The report, published as part of HMIC’s PEEL (Police Effectiveness, Efficiency and Legitimacy) strand, praises Northamptonshire Police’s innovative work in dealing with child sexual exploitation as well as missing persons.
However, it states improvement is needed across several areas such as assessment and investigations involving the vulnerable.
Responding to HMIC’s assessment, Adam Simmonds, Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “My staff and I have worked extremely hard to design and implement an effective victim’s support service – Voice – that helps and supports vulnerable people and victims of crime to recover and thrive following their ordeal.
“However, this process starts with the work of the police force and I’m disappointed that they are still not dealing with victims of domestic violence in a manner that protects the most vulnerable.
“I’m equally frustrated that HMIC have reflected that Northamptonshire Police are not responding to vulnerable people in the best possible way at the first point of contact in the Control Room. The Control Room is an area I have repeatedly called for improvements to be made to provide the best possible service to the public.
“Too often victims are still living in fear of perpetrators and therefore not reporting crimes. It is imperative that we deliver a service people feel they can rely on and trust and I will be reiterating this to Chief Constable Simon Edens when I meet with him to discuss the findings of the report.
Mr Simmonds said he was pleased that the work taken to prevent and support victims of child sexual exploitation had resulted in an improvement of the force’s effectiveness as judged by HMIC.
He said: “The work undertaken to, for example the RISE team in Northamptonshire has seen positive steps towards Northamptonshire dealing with the horrendous effects of Child Sexual Exploitation. This is something Northamptonshire Police should look to replicate in other areas.”
Detective Superintendent Steve Lingley, head of crime and safeguarding, said the forvce had made “very significant progress” in the past 18 months, but welcomed the findings of the HMIC report which flagged up areas of concern.
He said: “I am encouraged by the Inspectorate’s comments about how the Force is striving to improve through the likes of training and the establishment of the protecting vulnerable people department.
“It has praised our partnership working and our preparedness to tackle child sexual exploitation through the emerging work of the RISE team and a very successful CSE awareness campaign which has helped to increase referrals to RISE by 50 per cent.
“There are areas we need to address, not least a much more consistent approach to using BWV at domestic abuse incidents, but I am confident the direction of travel is positive and we have shifted the pendulum to serve better those vulnerable people living in our community.”