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Staffordshire Police launches push for faster response times in shake-up

Staffordshire Police has launched a new local policing model aimed at speeding up call-out times across the county.

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Staffordshire Police's headquarters in Stafford

The move follows a damning report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire & Rescue Services that found the force was failing to investigate crimes properly, putting public safety at risk. Inspectors found that the force's call operators were failing to properly identify and assess victims’ vulnerability at first contact and that that investigations were ineffective.

Under the improvement plan rolled out from Monday, emergency response teams are now based at 10 stations including Stafford, Cannock, Codsall and Lichfield.

The teams had previously worked out of three stations - Cannock, Burton and Hanley - but they will now operate from the same 10 areas as neighbourhood officers and PCSOs.

Chief Constable Chris Noble said: “I’m pleased we are now on day one of the new model. It’s been months of planning, analysis and consultation with colleagues and partners to build a model that will allow us to respond in the way the public want and need us to, also giving us more time to focus on the issues that matter most to local communities.

Chris Noble

"The model has also received the backing of the Police and Crime Commissioner, who believes it will help deliver some of the commitments made in the county’s Police and Crime Plan.

“It is critical we are more closely embedded in, and visible to, local communities so we can work most effectively with the public and partners to solve issues and prevent crime and I am confident this approach to policing enables greater ability to deliver against these aims.”

He added: “While we need to respond faster and more efficiently to emergencies, it’s important we look at and understand the changing nature of crime and the complex and sustained numbers of call we have to respond to on a daily basis. Our Contact and Control Centre is key to informing our daily operations and significant work is being undertaken in order to achieve an improved service for the public at first point of contact."

Following the planned inspection earlier this year, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams said there were "serious concerns" about the force's performance, and made recommendations including measures to ensure that call operators were correctly recording risk assessments to assist better with prioritising calls, making routine identification of vulnerable and repeat callers, and be given relevant advice on the preservation of evidence and crime prevention.

At the time, Mr Noble said he expected to be held to account over the failings, while Staffordshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Ben Adams said there was a need to move quickly to address the issues driving the failings.