An inspector has spoken of her concern about the deterioration in the performance of Nottinghamshire Police.
Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, Zoe Billingham, described as troubling the way the force had failed to protect those who were most vulnerable from harm.
She spoke out as HMIC published its overall report on the effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy of Nottinghamshire Police.
The inspectorate found that effectiveness and efficiency in the force required improvement but said its legitimacy at keeping people safe and reducing crime was good.
Reports on the effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy of Nottinghamshire Police were published earlier this year.
Zoe Billingham said: “While I am satisfied with parts of Nottinghamshire Police’s overall performance, there are several areas of concern to me, including its deterioration in performance since last year.
“I am pleased Nottinghamshire Police is good at investigating crime and reducing re-offending.
“Investigations are generally completed to a good standard and, in partnership with other local agencies, it has a well-structured scheme for preventing those offenders who pose a risk to the public from re-offending.”
She said she was disappointed the police force’s approach to preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour had deteriorated.
“The force has a limited understanding of the risks faced by the people it serves and their local priorities,” she said.
“Neighbourhood police officers and police community support officers (PCSOs) are often taken away from core preventative policing activities to respond to emergencies and to investigate crimes.
"Doing their best... to keep the public safe.”
“As a result we have seen in Nottinghamshire signs of erosion in neighbourhood policing, the cornerstone of British policing, and this is concerning.
“Despite these problems I have seen how, day in, day out, hardworking police officers, PCSOs and staff are doing their best, often under pressure, to keep the public safe.”
She said it was troubling the force was inadequate in the way it protected those who were most vulnerable from harm.
“We found significant failings in how it identifies and responds to vulnerable people when they first contact the police through the control room,” she said.
Chief Constable Mr Craig Guildford said steps to improve had been made.
“The actions taken in response have placed the force in a much more positive position,” he said.
“In particular, all incidents are now assessed for threat, risk, harm and vulnerability with much greater consistency.”
He said supporting vulnerable people was one of the force’s priorities.
“Engaging with the people we serve is vital, to ensure we can understand what matters locally,” he said.
“Neighbourhood teams have a huge part to play in this, as they are the bedrock of community policing. We have to adapt.”
“During busy periods some response officers do not always have the time to get to victims quickly enough and a backlog builds up, too often putting people who are already vulnerable at greater risk of harm.
“However, when we brought our concerns to the attention of the force during the inspection, it responded immediately, putting into action a practical response to address the large number of high-risk domestic abuse victims waiting to receive a police response.”