Devon and Cornwall Police is failing to adequately protect people from sexual and violent crimes, according the national police watchdog.
His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) says the force is inadequate in a third of the nine areas of policing it looked into.
Last October, HMICFRS increased monitoring of the force because of its poor performance dealing with crimes involving sex, violence and anti-social behaviour.
The latest report comes just weeks after Devon and Cornwall Police’s new chief constable, Will Kerr, took up his post. Shortly after he acknowledged the force needed to improve.
His Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, Wendy Williams, is concerned about the accuracy of the force’s crime recording, its response to the public and its management of sexual and violent offenders.
She said: “The force doesn’t always record crimes against vulnerable victims, particularly violent or behavioural crimes and anti-social behaviour.
“Failure to record a crime often results in victims not being properly safeguarded and no investigation taking place.
“Our inspection also found that the force is not adequately assessing or managing the risks posed by registered sexual and violent offenders.”
HMICFRS did acknowledge some positive work, including the service’s work with other organisations and support given to its workforce.
Police and crime commissioner for Devon & Cornwall, Alison Hernandez, said the information will help the force improve.
“Inspectorate reports assist me in my duty of holding the chief constable to account for the delivery of an efficient and effective police force,” she said.
“I have recruited a new chief constable, Will Kerr, to oversee necessary improvements and have every confidence that he will swiftly deliver the changes required to satisfy inspectors and the public we serve.”
Devon and Cornwall Police shas pledged to improve its service to communities following the report.
Mr Kerr said: “I am under no illusion that the areas highlighted by the Inspectorate will be concerning to our communities, but I am confident that we have made significant improvements to the areas identified and progress continues to be made at pace.”
The chief constable outlined measures being put in place including;
- Introduction of a new system, which will improve crime data integrity
- For emergency and non-emergency calls, the introduction of a triage service, which means the caller speaks to a person who first identifies what assistance the caller requires.
- Re-opening six front desks to improve public access to the service.
- Addressing sexual or violent offenders – increasing the number of supervisors in the unit to ensure workloads are managed in line with national guidance and ensure neighbourhood policing teams now attend visits.
Mr Kerr added: “We continue to work in an extremely challenging environment with many significant demands placed on us, but we are determined to do all we can to ensure that Devon and Cornwall remains one of the safest places in the country to live and visit. I am reassured also that public confidence in us remains high at 80 per cent and compares very favourably in comparison to other force’s survey results.”
It says a recent focus on improving the response to 999 calls has seen 90 per cent of them being answered within 10 seconds last month.