Essex PCC responds to HMIC Effectiveness report
“Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has published a report into Essex Police’s effectiveness at keeping people safe and reducing crime. I place great value in the existence of an independent Inspectorate of policing.
“Whilst the HMIC report rates Essex Police as good at tackling serious and organised crime, some of the findings are hard hitting and disappointing.
“It is also the case that some of the information in the report was not known to me as PCC. Specifically I did not know that during the summer of 2015, neighbourhood policing was suspended in the North of the county for six weeks. I am surprised and disappointed that I was not informed of this by Chief Officers, and I have discussed this with the Deputy Chief Constable. This does however emphasise the value of an independent Inspectorate.
“On local policing, my position is clear. With the resources available to Essex Police, it is not possible to operate a model of ‘bobbies on the beat’. But local, neighbourhood, community policing – use whichever name you like – is an absolutely core function of a police service.
“Essex Police needs to re-imagine how it connects with communities and keeps people safe. We have a real opportunity in the coming months with the creation of Community Policing Teams and Community Safety Hubs in districts across our county. I will be keeping a close eye, continuing to scrutinise the work of Essex Police as these new teams are created and ensuring that they communicate professionally and proactively with the communities they serve. In particular, working with partners such as local authorities, Essex Police must ensure it has clear mechanisms for identifying and supporting vulnerable or repeat victims of Anti-Social Behaviour.
“Local policing is crucial. But HMIC has also found Essex Police to be inadequate in protecting some of our most vulnerable victims. I fully support Chief Constable Kavanagh’s decision to shift more resources into areas of high and hidden harm such as domestic abuse, child sexual exploitation and child sexual abuse. It is important that these police officers and staff are trained in this difficult work.
“For several decades, police forces across the country have not focused sufficiently on protecting the most vulnerable. We must get better at supporting victims, safeguarding them from harm and bringing perpetrators to justice. Every day, the rape of a child is reported to Essex Police. Every eight weeks, a person is murdered by their partner or ex-partner or someone with whom they were in a relationship in this county. Essex Police must prioritise protecting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
“In short, I could not support any decision to retreat from local policing, and I do not believe there was any intent on the part of Chief Constable Kavanagh to do so. It is also the case that if in the future additional resources become available to Essex Police, I believe these must primarily be invested in local policing.”
Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex