Staffordshire Police is improving how it protects vulnerable victims, however some of the changes the force is making are likely to take some time to progress
In December 2015, Staffordshire 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 found serious weaknesses in the services being provided by Staffordshire Police to protect and support some victims, most notably victims of domestic abuse.
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In April 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 Staffordshire Police:
- demonstrated a clear ambition to improve the way that it protects vulnerable victims;
- is undertaking work to improve its overall response to vulnerability, which is being underpinned by a force-wide cultural change;
- is taking active steps to improve standards of investigation and compliance with the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. However, we found inconsistent levels of supervision during the course of some ongoing investigations and the force will need to sustain its continuing focus on investigation to effect lasting improvement;
- had improved the way that it assesses risk in domestic abuse cases; and
- is working hard to improve its approach to missing and absent children, although further work is required, particularly regarding how to use the absent category correctly and understand risk factors.
HMI Wendy Williams said:
“I am pleased to see the commitment to improve shown by Staffordshire Police following our initial inspection. This is an important first step in order to improve services to a point where vulnerable victims are properly protected and supported. During this revisit, HMIC found evidence of a positive cultural change taking place within the force, with partner agencies who work with Staffordshire Police informing us of early improvements in the knowledge of staff and their attitudes towards vulnerable victims. The force has also changed its domestic abuse risk assessment policy and this is already improving the way that it safeguards vulnerable victims.
We recognise that there are still areas the force needs to improve, particularly in relation to its approach to missing and absent children, and HMIC will continue to monitor the progress of these improvements. However, the signs are encouraging and 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.