Express & Star

Staffordshire Police moves closer to being taken out of special measures as improvements are made

Staffordshire Police has moved closer to being taken out of special measures after showing inspectors improvements in how the force responds to members of the public.

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Staffordshire Police has made improvements in how it responds to the public

The force was found to be inadequate in responding to the public in 2022, following an inspection by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

But action to tackle the issue has led to the Accelerated Cause of Concern being discharged by HMICFRS Inspector Wendy Williams, Staffordshire Police’s Chief Inspector Chris Noble revealed in his report to the latest police public performance meeting which was held this month.

He said: “Ms Williams wrote to me, just before Christmas, confirming her decision based on our continuing improvement over several months and the findings of her inspectors during onsite ‘reality testing’ in the autumn.

“We are seeing further improvements in call handling times following recent process changes we have made in our Force Contact Centre.

"While there is still much more to do before we can exit our ‘Engage’ status, the decision by HMICFRS is an important step in our journey to becoming, once again, an outstanding local police service."

Mr Noble added that the force was responding "better and faster" both on the phone and in person.

He said: "I am very pleased that one of the key challenges that the inspection team laid on us just over a year ago around how effectively we respond to the public has now been discharged to their satisfaction.

"That is a very independent review of how effectively we don’t just pick up the phones at speed, but the quality of that conversation, identifying vulnerable people and then ensuring we respond in the right way.

“We have an appetite to be even better because we know it’s an area the public consistently raise with you and with us about our responsiveness on the phones, especially around 101. But there is some real progress there.

“We are responding better and faster on the phone and in person. We have got very clear and evidence-based plans for the future and the challenges ahead.”

Staffordshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Ben Adams added: “Thanks for the efforts with the contact team, it’s so appreciated. That first interface for the public with the service is absolutely crucial.

“With the inspectors, we’ve not contested at any point their suggestion that the service wasn’t at the time identifying risk in the way it needed to. What results from that, in terms of the level of response, who responds and the level of follow-up, is too important.

“So I’m delighted that thanks to their efforts, improved process, improved technology and improved oversight, they are now getting a very good performance on 999. Let’s face it, that’s where the emergencies are and where the highest risk is, and there’s real progress being made with 101.

“I won’t make any apologies- if I’m around after May (when the next Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner election is due to take place) that is not going away and contact will stay right up there.

"Service, not just initially but feeding back, letting people know how their case has progressed if they’re a victim and knowing the outcome of the case, is so important."