Essex Police has made good progress to improve the service it provides to vulnerable victims
In December 2015, Essex Police was one of four forces HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) graded as inadequate at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm and supporting victims. HMIC had significant concerns about the capability of Essex Police to protect vulnerable people from harm and support victims. In particular HMIC found serious weaknesses in the force’s arrangements to safeguard and investigate cases involving vulnerable people; and the force’s response to victims of domestic abuse was poor.
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In March 2016, HMIC carried out an inspection revisit to examine whether the force has improved how it protects vulnerable victims.
During the revisit, HMIC found that the force:
- has facilitated a change of mindset and approach to vulnerability among staff, now putting children and vulnerable people at the centre of everything it does;
- has improved its response to domestic abuse and now has effective and reliable processes in place to respond to and safeguard victims;
- has improved its response to child sexual exploitation (CSE) and awareness of it across all levels of the force has improved markedly;
- continues to develop its detective capacity, but it will take time to achieve the desired level; and
- has greatly improved its safeguarding arrangements, which are underpinned by strong partnership working and support.
HMI Zoë Billingham said:
“Following our revisit inspection, I am pleased to see that Essex Police has taken all of our recommendations from 2015 on board. The chief officer team and senior leaders have demonstrated a good understanding of the issues HMIC raised, and have worked hard to change the mindset of frontline officers and staff, so that vulnerable people and children are now at the centre of all they do.
“This commitment is not just shown at senior level. Frontline officers and staff have also worked hard to improve the service they provide to vulnerable people, particularly victims of domestic abuse and children. As a result of training and the development of a wide range of communications designed to increase knowledge and understanding, officers are now able to better recognise the link between missing children and CSE. The force has improved its response to victims of domestic abuse, with frontline officers and staff now understanding more clearly their safeguarding responsibilities. The force also now has processes in place to properly manage outstanding domestic abuse perpetrators, which was previously lacking and potentially putting victims at risk.
“These improvements are extremely encouraging, and the force must now ensure progress continues so that those in greatest need receive the police’s full protection and support. We look forward to seeing further progress during our effectiveness inspection in autumn 2016.”
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- HMIC is an independent inspectorate, inspecting policing in the public interest, and rigorously examines the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces to tackle crime and terrorism, improve criminal justice and raise confidence. HMIC inspects all 43 police forces in England and Wales, together with other major policing bodies.
- Based on a mix of analysis, fieldwork and reality testing, the initial inspection in 2015 graded every force’s performance against the overall question, ‘How effective is the force at protecting from harm those who are vulnerable and supporting victims?’
- In 2015, HMIC looked at how well forces respond to and safeguard specific vulnerable groups (missing and absent children & victims of domestic abuse); and how well prepared forces are to tackle child sexual exploitation.
- In 2015, HMIC judged how effective forces were at protecting vulnerable people. 12 forces were judged to be ‘good’, 27 forces to ‘require improvement’ and 4 forces to be ‘inadequate’.
- The inspection included an assessment of the force’s progress in tackling and preventing domestic abuse in the 18 months since the publication of HMIC’s report Everyone’s Business in March 2014.
- The four forces HMIC judged in 2015 to be inadequate were: Bedfordshire Police, Essex Police, Staffordshire Police and Surrey Police. Because of this grading, all four forces were subjected to revisit inspections by HMIC.
- For further information, HMIC’s press office can be contacted during office hours from 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday on 020 3513 0600.
- HMIC’s out-of-hours press office line for urgent media enquiries is 07836 217 729.