Bedfordshire Police efficiency improving – but still a way to go
Bedfordshire Police has made good progress regarding efficiency, but stlil needs to improve – that’s according to a new inspection report.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services has given the force an overall grading of ‘requires improvement’ for efficiency, which was in line with the previous inspection – but the HMICFRS commented on the progress the force has made in this area over the past 12 months, including rating it ‘good’ in the way it used its resources.
The inspectors, who based their report on a week-long visit in June, also saluted the force for its “pioneering” approach to recruiting officers from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.
Beds deputy chief constable Garry Forsyth said: “We are obviously disappointed with the overall grading, but it is pleasing that the report recognises the continued hard work and determination of the force to keep people safe and there are a lot of positives to take from the findings.
“The HMICFRS fully recognises the ‘significant financial challenges’ we face in Bedfordshire, and makes reference to the difficult decisions we have to make around moving staff to our priority areas – which is to protect vulnerable people.
“However, it is frustrating the report fails to take into consideration the wider context of challenges the force faces in its overall determination.”
The county’s police and crime commissioner Kathyn Holloway has welcomed the report’s acknowledgement that the force is using its resources well.
She stressed that Beds police faced the third-highest terror risk in the country, as well as serious organised crime gangs – with figures showing that 40 per cent of gunshots in the east of England are in Bedfordshire.
“What is a great pity is that the rating of ‘requires improvement’ sits just below ‘good’ in such reports,” she said. “This means the media and public often view the findings as wholly positive or wholly negative, and miss that there is much more light and shade involved than this.”
Across England and Wales two forces were graded as ‘outstanding’, 32 as ‘good’, 10 forces as ‘requiring improvement’ and no force as ‘inadequate’.
The HMICFRS described policing across England and Wales as being ‘under significant stress’.