Inspector's report does not go far enough to recognise 'remarkable improvements' at Northamptonshire Police, says Chief Constable Nick Adderley
“People reading this report may wish to conclude this force is still under-performing, something I would refute"
Chief Constable Nick Adderley says police inspectors have not gone far enough to recognise improvements in Northamptonshire.
Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, Roy Wilsher, praised progress since a damning report two years ago branded the force inadequate.
But Chief Constable Adderley said: "I’m confident the officers and staff of Northamptonshire Police, as well as the public we serve, will feel we have made significantly more progress than is indicated."
Northamptonshire Police is now rated 'adequate' when it comes to investigating and preventing crime and receives the same grading for the way it supports victims and tackles serious organised crime following an inspection earlier this year.
The adequate category is added for the first time this year to four existing tiers: Outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate.
Chief Constable Adderley insisted the report fell short of reflecting real progress within the organisation since the previous inspection in 2018.
He said: "We are definitely moving in the right direction and that is hugely encouraging.
"But the advances we have made, for example, in terms of investigating crime are remarkable considering where we were at the start of 2019.
"I’m pleased that we are adjudged to have been effective in our approach to tackling serious organised crime, as evidenced by the likes of Operation Poetry and Operation Serpent, which have closed down County Lines in Northamptonshire and resulted in lengthy sentences for drug-dealing criminals.
“The force is also deemed to be supporting victims of crime, which is so important. Almost across the board, our victim satisfaction rates are at their highest level ever, particularly in relation to how we support victims of domestic abuse.”
Chief Constable Adderley said inspections were always a snapshot in time and what the public reads in a report — from even just a few months ago — can move on very fast.
He said: “For example, the report says our arrest rate for domestic abuse was in decline, to around 20 percent, in the 12 months to March 2021.
“It was in decline, but after making domestic abuse a matter of priority, we have seen additional focus and a resultant increase in the arrest rate to 32 percent in the 12 months ending October 2021.
“It’s disappointing too, for example, that we are seen still to require improvement in protecting vulnerable people.
"We have made huge strides in this area. Indeed, HMICFRS acknowledges that the workforce has a good understanding of vulnerability, not least because it cuts across almost everything we do.”
Mr Adderley said the force would reflect further on the report, in particular highlighted areas where work is still to be done.
He said: “Northamptonshire is one of the fastest growing areas in the country and we need to do more to understand better the communities we serve and to reflect them in the diversity of our workforce in the years to come.
“The pandemic – a word referenced just twice in this whole report – has had an immense impact on policing for nearly two years now and I do think this too should have been acknowledged. Not least in the areas where it benefited us positively, such as improved community engagement.
“People reading this report may wish to conclude that this force is still under-performing, something I would refute, but I do accept we have further improvements to make in some areas.
“However, the reality is that we have covered an enormous distance from where we were. And for those people living in the communities we serve every hour of every day, be under no illusion that we will continue to strive to be the best at what we do – fighting crime and protecting people.”