Commissioner warns Lancashire is ‘no place for criminals’ as report praises force18 February, 2016
Lancashire is “no place for criminals”, Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw warned as a new report today praised efforts to keep the county safe.
HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) rated Lancashire Constabulary as “good” in its latest report into the effectiveness of police forces, placing it again among the top in the country.
The force was classed as “good” in all four categories: preventing crime and antisocial behaviour; investigating crime and managing offenders; protecting vulnerable people; and tackling serious and organised crime.
Inspectors praised the way police in Lancashire protect vulnerable people and help stop individuals getting sucked into a life of crime.
The Commissioner, who is funding three new posts specifically to tackle organised criminals engaging in human trafficking and cybercrime in addition to the ongoing support for this priority area, said the report should serve as a warning to criminals.
He added: “This report looks at the way our police work every single day to keep Lancashire residents safe. Our county is no place for criminals to operate and these findings show we are good at keeping things that way.
“Lancashire is a safe place to live and I remain committed to tackling crime and protecting our most vulnerable residents.”
The Commissioner has worked with the Constabulary, the NHS and local authorities across Lancashire to secure around £5m in Government funding to support the force’s Early Action work, which was singled out for praise in the report.
The work helps identify and assist vulnerable people, before the situation escalates, and also disrupts high-risk criminal activity by intervening to divert people away from crime.
Inspectors also praised the speed with which police assess the needs of vulnerable people to ensure they get the help they need. They also highlight the progress in tackling child sexual exploitation and domestic abuse.
It follows a series of high-profile cases in recent months including: the conviction of three people following a complex investigation into human trafficking in Preston and six men from East Lancashire who were jailed for a total of almost 24 years as part of one of the force’s biggest ever drugs investigations.
The force was given two suggested areas to work on in order to get the higher “outstanding” rating: how it deals with wanted suspects and those who fail to answer bail, in order to speed up arrests, and further improving its work with other agencies to tackle serious and organised crime. Action is already being taken to address this.
Mr Grunshaw said: “Inspectors looked at how well we do the things that residents have told me matter most to them, like investigating major crime and tackling child sexual exploitation, and we were praised across the board.
“Credit must go to the Chief Constable, all our officers, staff and volunteers for ensuring the force performs at such a high level in spite of all the challenges facing us as the Government continues to reduce the funding it gives to Lancashire police.
“Crime in Lancashire has fallen by 2 per cent but we know the nature of crime is. With our budget continually being squeezed, Lancashire’s ongoing commitment to a neighbourhood policing model for the whole county and our early action work to prevent crime are as important as ever.”
Deputy Chief Constable Andy Rhodes, of Lancashire Constabulary, said: “I am very pleased with the grading awarded to Lancashire Constabulary following the HMIC inspection on effectiveness.
“Despite the challenges of the past few years, the people of Lancashire can be assured that Lancashire Constabulary is still a very effective police service, working hard to keep people safe, particularly the most vulnerable.
“As with any inspection, there will always be areas for improvement. We will carefully consider all the feedback from HMIC and where we can make improvements to further improve the quality of service we provide to local residents, we will.”
You can read the full HMIC Effectiveness report here.