The report acknowledges the increasingly complex crime and fast-changing demands upon police forces across the country and, although it is felt some forces are taking a short-term and reactive approach to address future needs, it notes numerous positive examples of police leaders showing commitment to improvement.
In particular, the report highlighted the strides Cheshire has made in identifying and prioritising its work around growing vulnerability within our communities. This is demonstrated in the Constabulary’s proactivity around tackling serious and organised crime, including carrying out a number of raids at addresses across the county linked to the growing ‘County Lines’ drug issues.
Acting Chief Constable Janette McCormick said: “I’m pleased to see the good work we’re doing here in Cheshire has been highlighted in this report. Vulnerability in our communities is a huge issue for us and we’re really focusing our efforts on ensuring those most in need of our help are receiving it.
“Working with our partners, we’re tackling these issues head-on by removing those who would prey on the vulnerable in our communities for their own gain. We recognise the impact this has on the wider community and I hope that our actions in recent months in particular will bring reassurance to residents.
“This has been the case with recent operations in Widnes and Warrington, and we won’t falter from our determination to rid communities of the blight that serious and organised crime groups bring on Cheshire.”
Meanwhile, the report applauded the Constabulary for its visionary approach in adopting a state-of-the-art operating system that will allow officers and staff to respond to emerging incidents better than ever.
The Saab Safe system – the first of its kind in the UK – will be fully adopted from next month, and is a significant advance in technology for the force. The system aids decision-making and the deployment of officers by linking intelligence to resource capabilities. It is hoped that this investment will reduce costs while also improving the public’s experience of contact with the force.
David Keane, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, added: “I am pleased to see that HMICFRS has highlighted the innovative initiatives that we have implemented within the Constabulary to build a police force fit for the future, and one that is ready to tackle the complex issues that modern crime brings.
“Within the budget I recently set and following advice from the Acting Chief Constable, I have prioritised funding to give the Constabulary the resources to respond to the complex challenges it faces, such as tackling cybercrime and exploitation of vulnerable people.”
The report also highlighted the Constabulary’s approach to highlighting misconduct issues with colleagues, using the results of cases as examples of unacceptable behaviour and publicising them to the workforce. The force uses internal bulletins, discussions of cases at leadership conferences and open conversations between the chief constable and the workforce to consider such cases.
A/Chief Constable McCormick added: “In Cheshire, we pride ourselves on our openness and transparency, and we’re not afraid to address those instances where the conduct of our officers and staff falls below what is expected of the police.
“Thankfully those instances are rare, but when they do happen it’s important to us that we highlight them with all colleagues so that they may learn from the errors made by peers and continue to maintain the highest professional standards.”