GMP struggling to investigate serious sex crimes due to lack of properly-trained staff, says report
Extra detectives have been drafted in to its Serious Sexual Offences Unit but watchdog Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary still found ‘inconsistencies’ in how crimes were investigated
Extra detectives have been drafted in to its Serious Sexual Offences Unit but a watchdog still found ‘inconsistencies’ in how crimes were investigated.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) concluded a ‘lack of capacity’ within the unit ‘is impacting on upon the consistency of the service available to victims and also upon the ability of the force to properly investigate such offences’.
The force was ‘currently considering the operation and resourcing options’, said the report, which urged GMP to conduct a review to ensure the unit had ‘the appropriate number of accredited staff’.
The report generally praised GMP, saying it is ‘good at reducing crime and preventing offending and is good at tackling anti-social behaviour’.
But it ‘requires improvement’ in the way it investigates crime, after a sample ‘golden hour’ investigations revealed ‘little evidence’ of house-to-house enquires or that picture had been taken of crime scenes.
Concerns remain about how officers handle domestic abuse cases despite ‘notable improvement’, it says.
Compelled to shave £134m from its annual budget by next year, GMP is praised for making ‘excellent progress in challenging financial circumstances’ and producing ‘innovative plans’ for the future.
GMP has been rated along with every other force in England and Wales as part of a new style of annual assessment signalled last year by Home Secretary Theresa May, who wanted constabularies rated for their ‘effectiveness and efficiency’.
HMIC’s north region inspector Mike Cunningham said: “Greater Manchester Police is good at partnership working, early intervention, and the management of offenders. The force has made excellent progress in challenging financial circumstances. It is achieving the required savings today and has innovative plans to manage future austerity with public sector partners to achieve the savings required.
“The force also needs to improve its approach to crime recording, which is not as accurate as it should be.”
Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy said: “Officers and staff have made a significant contribution to improving lives in Greater Manchester and the report highlights four years of crime reduction.
“However, I am surprised that the report does not mention the biggest threat facing policing which is the continued financial challenge. Our neighbourhood officers are frustrated that they cannot spend enough time on their beats but with 1,500 fewer officers and almost 3,000 calls a day we have to make difficult choices.
“The coming years look set to bring even bigger challenges for us and we are doing what we can to ensure we are able to meet them. We will only be able to make the changes with the continued support from local people.”