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Chief Constable Nick Adderley said “genuine progress” had been made since the Inspection visit last January identified a string of weaknesses across the Force.
In addition to all the work being carried out to tackle the areas which caused HMICFRS the greatest concern, such as investigations, steps had been taken to improve the service across a number of different areas including:
The launch in March of the new early intervention programme (CIRV – Community Initiative to Reduce Violence) which is modelled on successful and acclaimed intervention project ran in Glasgow and Cincinnati. The team have taken more than 500 referrals to date from agencies across the county relating to people who are either on the periphery of gang involvement or already immersed in gang-related criminality. Over 60 per cent of these referrals have been for people under 18 and we are currently tracking 35 gang members via GPS, all of whom have agreed to engage with the programme.
The Chief Constable, with the full support of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Stephen Mold, have responded to HMICFRS concerns about improving its future workforce planning with an ambitious bid, supported by an innovative marketing campaign, to recruit 200 more officers in two years, taking our Force establishment to 1310 by January 2021, the highest number of officers in the history of the Force.
A dedicated residential burglary unit, established in March, has delivered a 36 per cent fall in burglary, year on year, from around 80-90 a week in August 2018. Every burglary victim in Northamptonshire is guaranteed a visit from the police, and the team, which sits within CID, are working to review and drive-up the quality of investigations, manage and progress forensic hits, hunt down wanted people, organise police patrols in areas of concern and gather intelligence to prevent burglaries before they happen.
In addressing concerns around the workforce’s understanding of vulnerability, an internal communications plan was developed to change behaviours. Op Marvel pushes the message that officers need to be professionally curious at all times and a culture is developed where the voice of the vulnerable is always heard.
A new digital strategy will further develop the Force’s ability both to engage with the public and equip officers better to fight crime and protect people in the digital age. The move to a Single Online Home website in April 2019 is one example of this, providing users with more online services. Northamptonshire Police was one of the first to join SOH, which will become a nationally standardised digital way for people to contact the police.
Several other technological initiatives are either now in operation or are planned in as part of a long-term digital strategy.
Since June, the Force has a dedicated roads policing team targeting the disruption of criminals using the county’s busy road network. In addition, the Force’s withdrawal from a regional collaboration means operational deployment of armed policing and police dogs is back in the control of Northamptonshire Police. The review of the EMOpSS arrangement was recommended in the inspection report.
For the first time, the Chief Constable has set out publicly his key policing priorities so the public has a better understanding of how and why certain areas of high risk, such as CSE, serious organised crime or domestic abuse are priorities.
In a bid to manage better the 700,000 calls which come into the Force Control Room each year, a campaign #WhoYouGonnaCall has helped the public better understand how calls are prioritised with no caller now waiting more than five minutes for the offer of a call-back.
In August, the Chief Constable pledged that he would arm all frontline officers with Taser within the next three years, giving them greater security and reducing the risk of attack which leads to thousands of hours lost each year through injury.
Mr Adderley said: “In addition to tackling head-on the areas of greatest concern, I hope the public can see some of the genuine progress we as a Force have made in so many areas this year. Our officers and staff are incredibly passionate about what they do and it has been so encouraging to feel the support of the Northamptonshire public as we continue our journey of improvement.”
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Craig Blacha (Police, Police Community Support Officer, Wellingborough)