Northumbria police and crime commissioner 'delighted' with watchdog rating

Vera Baird.

Vera Baird.

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Northumbria police and crime commissioner Vera Baird has said she is delighted' after inspectors rated the force as 'good'.

Mrs Baird spoke out as the PEEL police efficiency 2016 report was released by the Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

Inspectors found the force understood current demands on policing and was improving its understanding of newer demands from vulnerable people as well as groups which traditionally had little trust in the police service.

They said Northumbria Police has a good understanding of current service demands and is taking steps to ensure future demands are met.

The report recognised how for the past three years the force had worked closely with the Bangladeshi community to develop better links which helped it better understand the issues of that community.

The HMIC visited Northumbria between May and July this year.

In their report they note that the force had acted decisively to share resources with organisations and made investments in technologies to ensure a quality service to the public. Examples included wearing body worn cameras, which evidence proves reduces the number of complaints, and issuing officers with hand held remote devices called ‘phablets’. These allow officers to have mobile access to police IT systems so they don’t have to come into a station.

The report said the force had adapted to target new types of crime, including cyber-crime, child sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, so called ‘honour-based violence’, hate crime, anti-social behaviour and organised immigration crime.

A recent operation as part of the national Anti-Slavery Day in October saw 13 people arrested on suspicion of trafficking people into the UK for exploitation.

Inspectors also praised the creation of a new safeguarding department and the work done by the mental health street triage team. The triage team acts to intervene early to make sure that the right and appropriate care is given to someone suffering from mental health illness.

Ms Baird said: “I am delighted that HMIC has recognised that Northumbria Police keeps people safe and reduces crime – it shows that we are listening to the needs of our communities and addressing their concerns.

“The report reinforces that we are a forward thinking force, assessing future demand from emerging and changing crime types, by doing this we are ensuring that we continue to deliver for victims of crime and continue to ensure effective policing, despite the financial challenges placed upon the force.

“This report shows Northumbria Police is a good force, and since we never stand still, we have aspirations to improve further – we know what needs to be done and we are doing it.”

Northumbria Police Chief Constable Steve Ashman said: “This report recognises the good work that we have done to change and improve Northumbria Police. We are thoroughly committed to protecting vulnerable people and I am delighted that this has been recognised by HMIC.

“Demand on our services is changing and this report recognises that we are in the right position to manage this going forward. We are always thinking ahead to ensure we are focused on delivering the best possible services for our residents in the North East. We know that further changes need to be made but we are already a long way down the track of getting it right."