Praise for Force's 'Remarkable Turnaround'
The PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment report published by HMIC today is an annual inspection of aspects of day-to-day policing in all police forces in England and Wales and reports on how well each force cuts crime, provides value for money and provides a service that is legitimate in the eyes of the public.
The inspection looked at three areas:
- How well does the force use its resources to meet demand?
- How sustainable and affordable is the workforce model?
- How sustainable is the force's financial position for the short and long term?
Gwent Police achieved 'Good' ratings in each of the three categories and HMIC highlighted that they were 'impressed with the quality of the work that has gone into planning' the new Force operating model with 'more police officers put into frontline roles'. The report also highlighted how:
- Gwent Police is well prepared to face its future financial challenges;
- has successfully reduced its spending over the last spending review period;
- improved its understanding of demand;
- and is effectively planning for future financial challenges
Gwent Police was judged as 'requiring improvement' across the board in last year's inspection and PCC Ian Johnston expressed his disappointment at the time that the report didn't accurately reflect the hard work that the Force had put in or what they had actually achieved.
Praising Gwent Police for their hard work, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Ian Johnston, said: "I'm very pleased with the latest findings. For the Force to secure good ratings across the board during a period of continuous Government cuts and structural change is a real testament to the hard work they have put in.
I made no secret of the fact that I strongly believed that HMIC got the balance wrong in last year's report and that it didn't accurately reflect the hard work that the Force had put in. But we have come out the other end and this has been quite a remarkable turnaround. There are elements of the Force's work which has been identified as good practice by HMIC and I'm pleased to see that all their hard work has finally been recognised.
This year has also seen an increase in public confidence and overall victim satisfaction in the service they receive from Gwent Police and that direction of travel is continuing to improve. The accuracy of crime recording in Gwent is also among the best in England and Wales and it is reassuring to see the Gwent Force leading in this area.
I would like to thank the officers for their hard work and the amount of time they spent in providing evidence for this inspection. I would also like to congratulate them on their focus and professionalism during these challenging times.
We are in a good position but this is just the start of the journey and we still have some tough challenges ahead. In a period of sustained Government budget cuts, we unfortunately need to continue to make further efficiencies whilst focusing on reducing crime and keeping our communities safe. The key challenge for us is how we continue to meet the expectations of the public in the face of continued austerity."
The Chief Constable of Gwent Police, Jeff Farrar, said: "We have faced an extremely challenging period in the last eighteen months having completely restructured the Force, implemented a whole new operating system and hosting the NATO summit; the biggest security event the UK has ever seen. This has been set against a backdrop of budget cuts, Gwent Police experiencing one of the top ten biggest cuts for police forces across the UK, and having to lose over 200 police officers and 160 police staff.
That is why it is hugely encouraging to see such positive comments about the Force in the findings of the HMIC's PEEL: Police Efficiency report which grades the force as 'GOOD' across all areas inspected, a grading not experienced across all Forces. This is even more pleasing in light of the criticisms we have faced previously. I think the resilience, commitment and leadership shown by staff at all levels has brought about this turnaround in our performance assessment, and I would like to thank our staff for everything they have done.
HMIC's comments on the success we have achieved in essential savings, and its confidence that the Force has effectively planned for future financial challenges are signs of significant progress. However, there is still much to do and we will continue to face further cuts for the foreseeable future, but it is encouraging to see that both public confidence and victim satisfaction in the police service in Gwent are increasing at such a challenging time."