Police Federation statement in response to Northamptonshire Police HMICFRS inspection report
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A statement from the Northamptonshire Police Federation on the publication of the PEEL (Police Effectiveness, Efficiency and Legitimacy) assessment of Northamptonshire Police by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
As the public purse gets tighter and has to spread further, it is absolutely right that public services undergo rigorous inspection regimes. Her Majesty’s Inspectors conducted an in-depth review of key areas of our force last January and that fully involved the staff associations. The Police Federation contributed fully, candidly and openly in the areas the Inspectors scrutinised and this contribution is evident in the report. Representing the rank and file of our county force, we believe this report, whilst painful to read, is fair, and reflects concerns we have expressed in recent years. We have been told we need to make improvements in the areas of effectiveness and legitimacy, that our efficiency is inadequate and that the force has declined since the last inspection.
No member of our force comes to work to do a bad job - to work inefficiently, ineffectively or illegitimately. Many members of the force live in the county, and they, their families and friends are part of our community which needs to have confidence in policing. It is vital that this report isn’t interpreted as a slur on those same hard working, committed and service-driven people of our force who protect Northamptonshire hourly and daily. However, it is rightly an indictment on ineffective, inefficient systems, processes and cultures based on budgets and output over outcome. This is recognised as severely denting efficiency and effectiveness in key requirements of policing. It is refreshing that HM Inspector formally acknowledges a decade of underfunding. So much has been cut and altered that there is so much to be done to repair a damaged force, and the toll that has taken on our members.
But we are a year on in that work. We will continue to work hard with our inspiring Chief Constable, in equal doses of constructive challenge and support as we all want to be part of a succeeding, not failing, organisation. Policing requires the consent and confidence of our community, which should be assured that so much has been done in the last year, under a new Chief Officer team, to address concerns raised by the Inspectorate. The force is making positive steps, however it is our members who are propping up the force at no small cost to their work/life balance and stress levels. Officers are tired and overworked - both by the demands and the struggles to make things work within systems and processes. The Police Federation is working with the force to support on all these issues.
Whatever the initial impact of this report, let it be known that, backed and led by a supportive Commissioner who puts his money where his mouth is, a Chief Constable who is equally passionate about his team and the public they serve, this county’s police officers - our members - will continue to show drive, passion and determination in doing what they joined the job to do: fighting those who cause misery by committing crime and protecting an expanding community in uncertain and troubled times. We will return Northamptonshire Police to its rightful place as a top performing police force.