• Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Chris Nelson has given his response to the Constabulary’s latest inspection by  Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
  • Inspectors ruled the Constabulary ‘inadequate’ in five of 10 areas under review and good in four
  • Mr. Nelson is already putting in place solutions by making recruitment one of the  main priorities of his Police and Crime Prevention Plan, which is currently out for public consultation
  • He said, “The Inspectorate has identified a major issue within the Constabulary, a problem I had already highlighted in my campaign.  Very soon after I was elected, I resolved with the Chief Constable to recruit 100 more police staff to improve our 101 response time and get to grips with poor crime recording practices.”

Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Chris Nelson says a lack of investment by his predecessor and his failure to address persistent problems with crime recording have contributed to failings highlighted in a report just published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

Among the areas judged ‘inadequate’ by the HMICFRS was the non-emergency 101 telephone service where it was taking an operator, on average, more than eight minutes to answer a call.

Mr. Nelson said, “The 101 service has not been good enough for some time, an issue my predecessor failed to grip. This Inspectorate report effectively covers the last few years in post of my predecessor and does not cover performance since my election. Problems I have inherited will require investment primarily in people but also in technology.

“I promised more recruitment in my manifesto and that is now enshrined in my draft Police and Crime Prevention Plan with an extra 100 staff to go into the control room and other support services on top of my original pledge to recruit 300 more officers.

“Austerity has definitely had an impact on the police nationally, which is why I am working so hard with this Government to invest in the Constabulary.  But this particular problem could have been addressed by my predecessor, if he had chosen to invest more in people rather than buildings.”

The annual PEEL inspection, as it is known, which assesses the Constabulary on effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy, concluded it was ‘inadequate’ in five of 10 categories under review and ‘good’ in four. The other was rated ‘adequate’.

“The force had to act under extraordinary circumstances”

Responding to the report, the PCC, whose job is to hold the Chief Constable to account for the Constabulary’s performance said, “I take the findings of the HMICFRS very seriously and five areas deemed inadequate is clearly not acceptable.

“However, there is almost an equal number rated ‘good’ so it’s not all bad news and shows what can be achieved with extra investment.

“I also share the view that this report misses crucial context in some places, not least that the Force had to operate under the extraordinary circumstances of a pandemic when it continued to deliver its core duties whilst also enforcing lockdowns and dealing with people who were infectious with Covid at a time when no vaccines were available.

“But my job is to ensure the Constabulary operates to a high standard across the board and I have every confidence, not only in the Chief Constable, but also in the solutions that we have already put in place to achieve the high standards required by the Inspectorate and myself.

“I also have a strong mandate from the electorate to make changes, some of which are intended to tackle the very issues raised in the report.

“The public can be assured that I will be holding the Constabulary to account to make sure the extra investment improves performance and is good value for money.  We all want a 101 helpline that is effective and responsive, and a better service for victims of crime that increases our trust in the police and helps to make Gloucestershire a safer place.”