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Thames Valley Police recognised for reducing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour

Thames Valley Police is recognised for reducing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour while having to make £58m savings, in a report issued today (27/11) by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

Today sees the launch of HMIC’s first ever Police Effectiveness Efficiency Legitimacy (PEEL) report. HMIC found Thames Valley Police to be effective in reducing crime, preventing offending, investigating crime and tackling anti-social behaviour.

In terms of efficiency, the report recognised that the Force was able to increase the numbers of officers and staff on the frontline roles by two percent, while having to make savings of £58m between 2010 and 2015. Restructuring and redesigning the Force, including collaborating with Hampshire Constabulary, alongside reducing non-staff costs has made these savings possible. However, it is anticipated that the Force will have to reduce its costs by another £45m over the next three years (2015/16 – 2017/18). A total of £24m savings have already been identified and work is ongoing to identify the remaining £21m.

HMIC graded the Force as ‘Good’ at reducing crime and preventing offending. Crime across the Thames Valley, which is the largest non-Metropolitan Force, is at its lowest in 25 years. The report also recognised that victim satisfaction was high at 89.1 percent.

Likewise, Thames Valley Police has also been graded as ‘Good’ at both investigating offending and tackling anti-social behaviour. The report states that people in the Thames Valley are less likely to be affected by anti-social behaviour than almost anywhere else in the country with the rate of anti-social behaviour in Thames Valley now under half that seen across England and Wales.

Further, HMIC found evidence that the public can have confidence that the Force provides a good service to victims of domestic abuse and helps to keep them safe, with staff demonstrating a good understanding of what they need to do to provide a good service to victims.

Thames Valley Police has also been recognised for its positive approach to improving and learning. The Force was commended for its approach to implement learning following Operation Bullfinch (a significant investigation into child sexual exploitation in Oxfordshire). The Force has made changes to the way it prevents, identifies, disrupts and investigates child sexual exploitation in order to protect vulnerable children.

Finally, HMIC found that the Force’s crime data is generally accurate and can be trusted. Thames Valley Police is above the England and Wales average for compliance for reports of crimes which are subsequently recorded as crimes. Additionally, the Force’s accuracy of ‘no crime’ decisions is also above the national average. In the handful of instances where crimes have not been recorded accurately, the Force has ensured that learning has been addressed and implemented.

Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld said: “I am delighted that the PEEL report has recognised that Thames Valley has seen one of the biggest reduction in crime and anti-social behaviour in England and Wales. This drop in crime has happened despite significant cuts to budgets.

“Although I am satisfied with the performance of Thames Valley Police I am not complacent and I will continue to encourage improvements to ensure that communities in the Thames Valley, and in particular victims of crime, receive a high quality policing service.”

Chief Constable Sara Thornton said: “This first PEEL report reflects the hard work of officers and staff in keeping the people of Thames Valley safe.

“HMIC commends our approach to preventing and solving crime, working with partners to tackle anti-social behaviour and dealing with budget cuts with all graded as good or outstanding.

“We have some work to do to improve the accuracy of our crime recording but overall this is a strong report which should give confidence to those that live in the Thames Valley that they are well served and protected.’’

The PEEL report is available to view on the HMIC website