Response To HMIC Core Business Report
I acknowledge the HMIC ‘Core Business’ investigation into crime prevention, police attendance and the use of police time. The report makes suggestions for areas of improvement as well as identifying good practice in Dorset. I’d like to focus on three key points.
Dorset Police is one of the lowest funded Forces in England and Wales and has had to make twenty per cent savings over the last five years. This places a huge strain on an already shrinking workforce.
We cannot expect officers to attend 100% of crime and let me explain a few reasons why. If a homeowner reports a garden ornament stolen over a three week period whilst they have been on holiday and they have already asked their neighbours and no one had seen anything, why would you send an officer?
Remember, some victims do not want police to attend their house or workplace. The crime they are reporting may be sensitive, delicate, or both. Many people reporting a crime specifically ask to do it on the phone. I refuse to be pressured into striving to achieve 100% attendance by the Inspectorate. The key issue for me is HOW the crime is investigated, not how many cars drive to a scene.
In our efforts to improve efficiency and help free up police time, we are introducing body cams and mobile data devices. I am pleased that this report has recognised Dorset’s innovation in this respect. This will save officers’ time whist boosting their visibility in our communities.
As Sir Hugh Orde (President of ACPO) touched on earlier today, it is difficult to adopt a consistent approach nationally when you have Police and Crime Plans driven by different PCCs and localism agendas. A crime in a rural Dorset community may differ to a similar crime in Cumbria, due to unique demographics and features. The response from both Forces will inevitably vary considerably. Policing will never be one size fits all.