West Midlands Police committed to helping vulnerable victims

West Midlands Police is committed to supporting vulnerable victims of crime, says the latest major review of the force by independent assessors.

The force scores an overall rating of 'Good' in the 2019 PEEL report by Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, which assesses the organisation's effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy.

While the force is 'generally good at identifying people who are vulnerable' with staff who are well-informed about the signs and causes of vulnerability, the report identifies three areas for improvement around protecting vulnerable people.

The report acknowledges that while the initial response to incidents involving vulnerable people is adequate, the level of demand placed on the force remains a problem.

In terms of planning, the report says the force has a 'well developed understanding of demand, including emerging and hidden demand', and actively seeks to understand what causes demand to occur, including our work with partners. 

The report also says the force is 'setting a clear vision and ambitious aspirations for improved policing' against a backdrop of increasing demand and financial challenges.

It highlights as 'impressive' the various initiatives put in place to support staff across the force and says 'the workforce is clear, not only about force expectations in terms of individual performance, but also about the ways in which a growing change of development and personal support options can be accessed'.

It praises the WMP2020 transformation programme as 'outstanding' - well-planned and well led. 'The force continues to explore a range of innovative solutions which use new technology to improve efficiency and productivity'.

The force's readiness for dealing with serious organised crime is also singled out as performing well, with sufficient armed response vehicles (ARVs) and specialist firearms officers available to meet the threats which exist in the West Midlands. 

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson added: "Despite a huge rise in demand on West Midlands Police and a continued squeeze on our resources the independent inspectorate have rated the force as 'good.'

"There are still clear improvements to be made, especially how the police deals with people with vulnerabilities. I will continue to hold the force to account to make sure those improvements are delivered on.

"This report commends West Midlands Police for the efficiencies we have driven and new technology we have introduced. Despite that I am doing all I can to ensure we are as efficient as possible.

"The efficiencies we have driven have enabled me to announce an increase in officer numbers by 200 over the next two years." 

Welcoming the report, DCC Louisa Rolfe said: "I'm pleased HMICFRS made such efforts to understand our strengths and challenges. The areas for improvement are consistent with our own aspirations so I'm confident we will be even better next time."