Northumbria Police told to do more in crimefighting

Chief Constable Steve Ashman

Chief Constable Steve Ashman

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A report released today says Northumbria Police needs improvement when it comes to keeping people safe and reducing crime.

However, the force says action has already been taken since the inspection.

The HMIC PEEL Legitimacy report has rated the force as 'requires improvement' in this area.

The report said the force had more work to do in order to comply with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme.

Inspectors said officers needed to ensure that reasonable grounds for the stop and search powers were recorded and supervised properly.

However, they said decisions made by Taser-trained officers are generally fair and appropriate and local police teams have a good understanding of their neighbourhoods and engage positively with the public.

The report said: "HMIC found that staff within Northumbria Police are clearly aware of the importance of ethical behaviour. They appear willing to challenge wrongdoing, and feel they would be supported if they did so.

"However, senior managers reported that previous behaviours have discouraged innovation and challenge, often leaving them feeling undermined and disempowered."

Commenting on the report, Chief Constable Steve Ashman, said: "We accept the findings of this report and acknowledge that at the time the inspection took place there were areas for improvement in Northumbria Police.

"It is reassuring to note the positive comments of the HMIC regarding the way our officers engage so positively with our communities, however, we recognise the need to make further improvements in our compliance with the Best use of Stop and Search scheme.

"We have already taken active steps to ensure we become fully compliant with HMIC recommendations and are now seeking to make further improvements, such as the introduction of a Youth Scrutiny Panel.

"The report highlights the fact that the inspection took place in the spring of 2015, since when a significant amount of change has taken place.

"I am confident that we have made real progress in changing the culture of the organisation to one which welcomes challenge and encourages innovation. I look forward to this year’s inspection as an opportunity for us to show exactly where we are now."

Temporary Chief Superintendent Sharon Stavers, Chairman of the Supterintendents Association, said: "While we acknowledge these findings, it's important to note that this inspection was conducted in April 2015, and was prior to the appointment of our new Chief Constable, Steve Ashman.

"Since that time there has been a marked change in the culture at Northumbria police. For the first time in a number of years a staff survey has been conducted and the views and opinions of all of the workforce are helping us to deliver noticeable improvements.

"We have already formed a good working relationship with Mr Ashman and share his determination to address any issues and ensure the next inspection will paint a very different picture."