Devon and Cornwall Police found to be 'inadequate' in several areas following inspection

Devon and Cornwall Police officers

Devon and Cornwall Police has been ordered to make improvements after it was found to be “inadequate in several areas” by the police inspectorate.

Concerns were raised in a report following the inspection about the force's recording of crime data, how it responds to the public and and how it manages violent and sexual offenders.

The force has responded to the report, saying it is committed to making improvements.

It was graded in nine areas by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

The HMICFRS found a third of Devon and Cornwall Police’s graded areas to be inadequate, in its report, published today (2 February).

The "concerns" included the fact that, inspectors say, the force "doesn’t always record crimes against vulnerable victims".

His Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, Wendy Williams, said: "I have concerns about Devon and Cornwall Police’s performance in keeping people safe and reducing crime.

"Particularly about the accuracy of its crime recording, its response to the public, and its management of sexual and violent offenders.

"The force doesn’t always record crimes against vulnerable victims, particularly violent or behavioural crimes, and anti-social behaviour.

"Failure to record a crime often results in victims not being properly safeguarded and no investigation taking place.

"Our inspection also found that the force is not adequately assessing or managing the risks posed by registered sexual and violent offenders."

The inspectorate placed Devon and Cornwall Police into its 'enhanced monitoring stage' in October 2022.

The force was moved into the stage because its crime recording had deteriorated since the last inspection.

Wendy Williams added that there were, however, good examples of the force working well with other organisations to prioritise the prevention and deterrence of crime.

"We found that members of the workforce are well supported to do their jobs", she said.

"Last year, in view of these findings, we moved Devon and Cornwall Police into our enhanced monitoring process, which provides additional scrutiny and support.

"I have also been in regular contact with the chief constable to monitor the force’s progress against these important and necessary changes."

The force has said it will continue at pace to improve its service to communities.

Chief Constable Will Kerr said there have already been positive steps and improvements since the inspection.

He said: “I am under no illusion that the areas highlighted by the Inspectorate will be concerning to our communities, but I am confident that we have made significant improvements to the areas identified and progress continues to be made at pace.

“For crime recording, a new governance structure is now in place to scrutinise our compliance with national standards, and we have invested in resources for our auditing capability.

“For answering emergency and non-emergency calls, we have recently introduced a triage service, which means that the caller speaks to a person who first identifies what assistance the caller requires.

"This has allowed us to focus on improving our response to 999 calls, with 90 per cent being answered within 10 seconds in January 2023.

"This is a five per cent increase since the inspection was carried out. Working with our Police and Crime Commissioner, we have also re-opened six front desks to improve public access to our service.

"We anticipate further improvements in how the public can contact us with the introduction of the Single Online Home website. We know how important this service is to the public and are committed to doing better."