POLICE chiefs have been praised for the way it is coping with funding cuts and tackling anti-social behaviour.
In its first set of police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy (PEEL) reports, the inspectorate rates Northumbria as being good at reducing crime and preventing offending, while Durham was told it was ‘outstanding’ at tackling anti-social behaviour and that the force is well placed to manage further financial challenges.
But Northumbria Police’s chief constable, Sue Sim, says she is disappointed it has not been given credit by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary for reopening dozens of rape cases it had previously dismissed as not being crimes.
Northumbria was also judged to be good at investigating offending and outstanding at tackling anti-social behaviour.
The report gives credit to the force for continuing to reduce crime and maintain high levels of victim satisfaction despite facing one of the highest savings requirements in England and Wales.
In his report, inspector Mike Cunningham says: “Northumbria Police has neighbourhood policing teams as the bedrock of police activity.
“The force has a comprehensive and well-managed change programme to achieve the savings required and to protect front-line and visible roles, and it is working to improve the accuracy of its crime recording.”
Ms Sim said that, though pleased by the praise in the report, she is disappointed that it fails to note the work already been done to improve crime recording.
The force last month announced it was reopening investigations into 54 rape cases previously classed as not being crimes.
She said: “I am disappointed that this assessment has not acknowledged the significant work that has already taken place and indeed was recognised in the inspectorate’s crime data integrity report published earlier this month.
“As soon as this issue was raised, we took immediate action to improve standards.
“We take reports of rape seriously and investigate them thoroughly, ensuring we are sensitive to victims’ needs.
“The public should be rest assured that we do record crime properly. We will learn lessons and make improvements where we need to and always investigate thoroughly and professionally.”
Durham Constabulary Chief Constable Mike Barton said: “We are the only force in the country to receive an ‘outstanding’ in that category and I’m delighted that we set the benchmark for others to follow.
“I am not complacent and we will continue to raise the bar, but this is a fantastic launch pad for future excellence.”