In response to the release of the PEEL Police Effectiveness report by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary & Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, said:

“The independent inspectorate identifies West Midlands Police as ‘good’ at crime prevention, investigation and tackling serious and organised crime. The force is rated as ‘inadequate’ for vulnerability. I find the final grade disappointing, but reflective of demand, a factor outside of the force’s control.  

“However, I am pleased at the recognition of the innovative work the force are doing to tackle gangs through injunctions.

“In the wake of unprecedented demand  and terrorist incidents last year, a backlog of calls developed in the West Midlands. As an area of significant threat this was more acute in the West Midlands than many other places. 

I shone a light on this, to highlight the pressures forces like the West Midlands faced. Senior police officers are right to question why the inspection has focussed on the scale of demand rather than why it was challenging to manage, despite inspectors rightly recognising that policing is under significant stress.”

Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe, said:

“Whilst I am disappointed with the final grade, the inspection acknowledges good and improving work in our response to Serious and Organised Crime and Vulnerability. The one inadequate grade relates to concerns HMICFRS raised about a high volume of demand the force experienced last summer. This was heavily reported in the media and is no secret. 

“HMICFRS Inspectors identified a relatively high number of open incident logs. They examined only a small number of the oldest open logs, all of which had received an initial police response but remained open to monitor follow up. In many other forces these incidents would have been closed after initial attendance.

“West Midlands Police deals with around 70 per cent of its demand over the phone and the backlog concerns only 30 per cent of the calls we actually attend in person. 

“We have acted upon useful feedback from HMICFRS and improved our handling of incidents that are not immediately resolved by police attendance.

“When a force with an intensive policing need, graded as highly efficient and with below national levels of funding, is struggling to manage its demand then there is an obvious inference to be drawn on resources. It is unfortunate that this inspection focused more on the scale of demand rather than why it was challenging to manage.

“We police the youngest population in the UK, the most deprived and the second most diverse. These factors create a much higher level of vulnerability for the force to police.

“West Midlands Police receives a funding per head of population below the national average and considerably behind very similar forces.

“That budget has fallen more heavily than other forces and, even with an improved settlement, the force will see the lowest rise per head of population in the next two years. A rise well below inflation.

“It is interesting to note that during the last inspection on efficiency, HMICFRS graded West Midlands Police’s change programme for the future as outstanding.

“As always we will continue to improve and, as demand has fallen, we have made significant improvements in this area that will help us over this summer. It is a great concern to me that officers and staff in the West Midlands appear to have to work harder and smarter than elsewhere.”

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