Police chief’s surprise at report ‘a massive problem’

By Forester Reporter   |   Reporter   |
Sunday 20th February 2022 12:00 pm
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Cllr Phillip Burford (Forest of Dean District Council )

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A Forest councillor says the Police and Crime Commissioner’s (PCC) admission that a damning report into Gloucestershire Constabulary came as “a shock” to both him and the chief constable is “the most worrying phrase” he has heard as member of a police panel.

Councillor Philip Burford, who represents Hartpury and Redmarley at the Forest Council and sits on the Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel, was responding to comments from the PCC about a report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), which found the constabulary was ‘inadequate’ in five areas of policing.

The failings in the report included how the force protects vulnerable people and how it investigates crime.

It also said the force is not able to respond effectively to calls to the control room or when it deploys officers to incidents.

PCC Chris Nelson told a meeting of the panel last week that the extent of how bad the report was came as a “complete surprise” to him and “a shock” to Chief Constable Rod Hansen.

Cllr Burford responded: “Twice the commissioner has said the HMICFRS report was a shock to the chief.

“That’s probably the most worrying phrase I’ve heard in this meeting since I’ve been a member of it.

“Because, frankly, if the chief doesn’t know that he’s got a problem, we’ve all got a massive problem.”

PCC Nelson said the extent of the report was unexpected as the force had made “enormous improvements” over the last nine months.

“When I took over the appointment I had a very critical report from Her Majesty’s inspectorate which concerned my predecessor’s time in office”, he said.

“And that was really very critical. Five areas inadequate, the lowest level of performance.

“It led to the chief declaring a critical incident within the force.

“It meant we needed to put people, staff, into the force control room and the crime management standards area.”

He added: “It’s as a consequence of a lack of investment over the last few years.”

Cllr Burford asked if a better approach would be for the force to “concentrate on the day job better” rather than to “expect more money to be thrown into the pot”.

Mr Nelson agreed that it was not all about “throwing money at the problem”.

“Definitely, there are improvements that can be made,” he said.

“One of the reasons why it was a shock to the chief was that it was a brand new method of assessment.

“No one in the country had been assessed in that way.

“The force, due to a lack of investment, did not have sufficient auditing capability.

“We are increasing the amount of audit staff going forward.”

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