Leicestershire Police’s response to dealing with the public has been rated just “adequate” by a 999 watchdog.
The force is now striving to do better after having the rule run over it by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Service (HMICFRS).
Adequate sits in the middle of the inspector’s quality ratings – behind ‘outstanding’ and ‘good’ but ahead of ‘requires improvement’ and ‘inadequate’.
Several areas of improvement have been highlighted in the inspector’s latest in-depth police efficiency, effectiveness and legitimacy scrutiny of the force.
The inspector said that Leicestershire Police “did not always identify repeat or vulnerable callers and needed to ensure that repeat or vulnerable callers were routinely identified”.
They also established that the force’s “call takers did not always give appropriate advice on the preservation of evidence and crime prevention”.
Improving the police’s “communication and accessibility to the public” is a pivotal theme in Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews’ new Police and Crime Plan.
And Mr Matthews today said he was “reassured efforts were being made to deliver on his strategic goals”.
The watchdog inspector said Leicestershire Police “is increasing the range of channels through which crime can be reported”.
They said the force was an early adopter of Single Online Home - the new national contact platform for police forces that helps the public to report low-harm crimes.
The organisation has also become a trial user of the system for reports of more serious crimes involving vulnerable victims such as domestic abuse, rape, sexual assault and missing persons.
As a result the meticulous study said that people now have more opportunities to report serious crime and that this stepped up the “likelihood that they could be safeguarded”.
The rigorous inspection also says that Leicestershire Police understands the demand faced by officers responding to calls and deployed staff effectively.
This meant that the force responded in a "timely and appropriately way" on most occasions.
The police also answered emergency and non-emergency calls quickly, resulting in a very low number of abandoned calls.
Responding to the report, Mr Matthews said: "Although this assessment highlights the need for further work on how Leicestershire Police responds to the public, it does, nevertheless, show strong commitment from the leadership team to make these improvements and to continue building on our performance, which is outstanding in other areas.
"I am pleased HMICFRS noted the improvements to the way the public can report crime, particularly more victim-centred crimes such domestic abuse, and that when the public call for help, they are attended to swiftly and appropriately.
“This is an important measure of the force's effectiveness and a key driver of public confidence,” said Mr Matthews, of Kibworth Beauchamp.
"As Police and Crime Commissioner, I am proud of the overall picture this report presents and will be maintaining a watchful eye over any areas identified for improvement to ensure the force continues to deliver a top-quality service to the public."
You can read a copy of the full police inspection report here: https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/publications/peel-assessment-2021-22-leicestershire/