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#028/2010 – West Mercia Police Authority is ‘performing well’

West Mercia Police Authority is ‘performing well’, according to an independent new report released today by the Audit Commission and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

On a scale from one to four the joint inspection team assessed the Authority’s performance as ‘three’, which represents good performance.

The Police Authority’s job is to make sure that local people have an efficient and effective police force. It should hold the Chief Constable of West Mercia Police to account on behalf of the local community.

The report shows that West Mercia Police Authority works well with the Force. The Authority provides good direction and visible leadership. It also listens to local communities and ensures their concerns are given equal weight alongside regional and national objectives in setting the Force’s priorities and targets. This has helped West Mercia Police to perform well and crime is falling in the area.

The Authority is good at planning ahead and is committed to securing value for money. Its members challenge performance and hold the Chief Constable to account but it could be more involved and do more to show the public that it is having an effect. Scrutiny is limited in some more complex areas of policing, such as serious crime and other major challenges to public safety – referred to as protective services.

The Audit Commission’s Dorothy Welsh, spokesperson for the joint inspection team, said:

‘West Mercia Police Authority has forged a good working relationship with the Chief Constable – supporting the Force and challenging it to improve. It has enjoyed much success in ensuring the Force focuses on residents’ concerns such as anti-social behaviour, alongside many other regional and national priorities. As a result, it has helped to bring about real improvements in policing for all communities within West Mercia.’

Strengths include:

  • Inclusive and effective leadership.
  • Taking a strategic view of policing priorities and securing the longer term transformation of services.
  • Acting on local concerns to ensure policing priorities reflect locally identified needs.
  • Working well in partnership to get agreement on priorities for crime and safety.
  • Promoting value for money in its plans and activities.

Areas for improvement include:

  • Improving the way it challenges important areas of policing such as protective services.
  • Being a more visible advocate of local people, by ensuring its messages and challenge for better policing are communicated more clearly and openly.

Following today’s report West Mercia Police Authority will plan what it needs to do to improve its services to meet the changing needs of its communities.

Copies of the report are available from West Mercia Police Authority or from the Audit Commission website at www.audit-commission.gov.uk and the HMIC website /Inspections/ Pages/PoliceAuthorityInspections.aspx.

ENDS

Notes to editors

  1. West Mercia Police Authority is an independent body responsible for overseeing the Force. It represents the community and, in partnership with the Chief Constable, ensures that an efficient and effective policing service is provided to the people of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Worcestershire.
  2. Police authority inspection provides a simple report in a straightforward way about how well each police authority is performing. It encourages police authorities to focus on continuous improvement and provides a robust independent challenge to stimulate positive change. Ultimately it is about working to improve the quality of services police authorities provide to local people.
  3. The Audit Commission is an independent watchdog, driving economy, efficiency and effectiveness in local public services to deliver better outcomes for everyone.
  4. Our work across local government, health, housing, community safety and fire and rescue services means that we have a unique perspective. We promote value for money for taxpayers, auditing the £200 billion spent by 11,000 local public bodies.
  5. As a force for improvement, we work in partnership to assess local public services and make practical recommendations for promoting a better quality of life for local people.
  6. Further information about the Audit Commission: www.audit-commission.gov.uk.
  7. HMIC is an independent inspectorate, inspecting policing in the public interest and rigorously examines the effectiveness of police forces and authorities to tackle crime and terrorism, improve criminal justice and raise confidence. For further information about HMIC: www.hmic.gov.uk.
  8. For more information, or for an embargoed copy of the full report, contact Robert Stansfield, HMIC Press Office, on 020 7802 1824 or robert.stansfield@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk.