Adam Simmonds, Police and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire, has today responded to Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary’s (HMIC) judgement that the performance of Northamptonshire Police when dealing with vulnerable people ‘requires improvement’.
Mr Simmonds said he was pleased with how the Force has responded to Child Sexual Exploitation, including the efforts to work across agencies, such as the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) highlighted by the report as being good practice. However Mr Simmonds remained disappointed with the overall findings of the report.
The report, published as part of HMIC’s PEEL (Police Effectiveness, Efficiency and Legitimacy) strand, approached inspections of constabularies with the aim of answering the question: How effective are forces at protecting from harm those who are vulnerable, and supporting victims?
Within this, HMIC examined four areas:
- How well does the force identify those who are vulnerable and assess their level of risk and need?
- How well does the force respond to vulnerable victims?
- How well does the subsequent police action and work with partners keep victims safe?
- How well does the force respond to and safeguard specific vulnerable groups (missing and absent children and victims of domestic abuse); and how well prepared is it to tackle child sexual exploitation?
Released on Tuesday, 15th December 2015, the report 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.
“I am however pleased that the significant amount of work we have undertaken to prevent and support victims of child sexual exploitation has seen an improvement in our effectiveness as judged by HMIC. 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.”