Additionally, the Inspectorate rated the Constabulary good at reducing crime, keeping people safe, protecting vulnerable people and treating its staff and communities with fairness.
HMICFRS inspects all Police Forces and Fire and Rescue Services in England and Wales to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of these bodies.
The 2018/19 report, published today (Thursday 6th February 2020), praises the Constabulary’s approach to planning based on evidence and insight, making investment in critical service areas to meet the changing nature of demand and aligning resources to meet the expectations of the public.
This robust approach to planning has enabled the Constabulary to focus on its core services – answering calls from the public, responding to the public’s needs and investigating crime.
Lancashire Constabulary’s Chief Constable Andy Rhodes said: “I am delighted that we have been rated as ‘outstanding’ in how we operate and provide sustainable services. We know there is still work to do, but by focusing on getting our core services right over the past couple of years, we are now in a good position to meet the challenge of growing the Constabulary in the future, as a result of new funding into policing.
“The report endorses that we are focusing our resources in the right place, at the right time, and importantly, that we are getting it right – listening to our staff and communities, tackling the issues that are important to them and investing where we need to.
“Whilst the last few years have been incredibly difficult due to the impact of austerity and budget cuts, we have made significant investment to ensure that the most vulnerable people in our county are protected from harm, and, that we deliver on our purpose of keeping people safe.”
The Constabulary has invested in key services people need and provided officers and staff the tools they need to do their job:
• £3m has been invested in Neighbourhood Task Forces who tackle the issues that are important in their area and strengthened specialist target teams thanks to local people supporting an increase in their council tax precept
• The number of response officers has been increased to ensure that our officers are there for people when they are needed the most
• Invested £8million in investigations to protect vulnerable people, over the last three years
• Increased the number of Control Room Operators, in line with growing demand into the Force Control Room, to enable people to get through to us as soon as possible
• Maximising evidential opportunities from the growing demand for digital forensic examination by investing £3m in digital technology to aid investigations and solve crime
• Rolled out of over 4,000 new digital devices to officers to improve efficiency and effectiveness, meaning officers can be responsive in real time, complete relevant reports on the move and away from the police station, be contacted directly by members of the public
• Financed a £5.5 million investment in information communication technology, including rolling out new body worn video to protect officers and members of the public
• Committed to spending on refurbishing existing police buildings to ensure they remain fit for purpose and retain a visible presence in our communities
• Looking after the physical and mental welfare of Officers and Staff by significantly investing in Occupational Health and Wellbeing Services so they can continue to serve and protect the county
Mr Rhodes continued: “It is important to note the significant contributions made by my Police Officers and Staff to our inspection outcomes. I am very proud of the work they do on a daily basis to continue to keep our county a safe place to live, work and visit.”
Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner praised the Constabulary, saying: “In spite of 10 years of government cuts, this inspection is testament that Lancashire continues to have one of the best and most efficient police forces in the country which we should all be proud of.
“Since 2010, we have delivered over £86m of savings – this is significant and represents 28% of the total police budget, with Lancashire having one of the leanest support services in the country.
“Thanks to the support of the public last year, for the first time since 2010 we were able to invest into policing here in Lancashire, launching Task Forces across the county, focusing on reducing and preventing crime and dealing with the issues that matter most to people. We’ve already seen some really great work from these teams, including major drugs seizures and removal of dangerous criminals who blight our communities.
“The force continues to invest in new technology to help make the best use of public money. This includes the funding of drones, which give our Officers a comprehensive view of large areas, helping to locate missing persons, stolen vehicles and manage large scale events, all at lower cost.
“Across Lancashire, we continue to focus on improving efficiency and productivity. There are always challenges, as crime has risen and funding in real terms continues to be constrained, but the taxpaying public we serve should be confident that they have a police force that spends money wisely and is committed to keeping them safe.”