Durham Constabulary rated as only outstanding force in the country

Northumbria Police has been rated good in its latest HMIC inspection regarding effectiveness in policing, which is published today. In addition, some crimes were "written off" meaning thousands of suspects were left to roam free.

Among the concerns raised in the report is a shortage of detectives and investigators.

She said: "We are leading to a very serious conclusion regarding the potentially perilous state of British policing in this report".

Additionally, HMIC is concerned that there is no coherent national picture of threat posed to communities by organised crime groups.

"We've seen how some forces are attempting to reduce pressure on their teams by artificially suppressing or downgrading calls upon their service, reducing their ability to take the most effective and prompt action", said HMI Zoe Billingham, who led the inspection of the 43 forces in England and Wales. "This raises very grave concerns".

"Even though this approach brings additional demands and will continue to be an area that requires investment, keeping people safe who are most at risk must remain a cornerstone of policing".

"Over the last seven years the force has made £76million of budget savings and efficiencies to balance its budget, and to help ensure the services provided represent good value for money for the community".

Brian Paddick, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman and a former senior police officer, described the findings as "totally unacceptable", adding: "How long will it be before someone dies because there is no police officer to respond?"

"Police officers have a "can do" mentality".

Bedfordshire Police have responded to this and said it does not have the resources for foot and vehicle patrols in communities where crime demands are low.

"We should be clear".

Only one force, Durham Constabulary, was found to be "outstanding" overall, with an additional 28 forces being judged as "good".

Inexperienced officers were left to carry out complex and sensitive investigations.

The report highlighted the extent to which forces were not taking inquiries further because the victim did not support police action.

"The well publicised work we carried out previous year to adjust our resources and divert more to emerging issues such as cybercrime and online grooming and boost our investigative capabilities in the areas of child sexual exploitation, missing persons and domestic abuse are already addressing the areas mentioned by HMIC".

HMIC said this is "likely to mean that far too many perpetrators of extremely harmful domestic abuse crimes are not being brought to justice and victims are being failed by the police".

"I'm looking forward immensely to protecting and serving the people of London", she said after being appointed.

But Steve White, chair of the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said that cost constraints were now putting the public at risk.

Assistant Chief Constable for Lincolnshire Police Paul Gibson said: "As a force we are proud to deliver services that have been independently assessed by Her Majesty's Inspectorate as "good" across the board".

  • Leroy Wright