A police force has been told it ‘requires improvement’ by government inspectors.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary was told by police watchdog Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) it has to improve its efforts in investigating crime and its protection of vulnerable people.
Inspectors found the force did not always have enough officers to attend emergency calls promptly, with it not always being able to attend some domestic abuse incidents within one hour. The report said that it could affect evidence gathering and undermine the confidence victims should have in the police.
It also criticised the force’s handling of criminal investigations. It said: “Crimes are not always investigated to as high a standard as they should be and there is an inconsistency in the level and quality of supervision and direction to officers investigating crimes.”
But the Cambridgeshire Police defended its record. Dpt Ch Cons Alan Baldwin said: “We accept the findings of HMICFRS’s effectiveness inspection, however, we are disappointed with the judgement of ‘requires improvement’.
“Our inspection came at a time of unprecedented demand for the police service, not only in Cambridgeshire, but across the country, and the findings of HMICFRS reflect this.
“While we continue to have peaks in demand, our levels have returned to normal, and we are putting measures in place to reduce the chance of this happening again.”
But inspectors did rule that the force makes good use of intelligence, has some understanding of those who cause most harm in the community, and effectively identifies vulnerable people when they first contact the police.
Across the county boundary, Suffolk Police have been ranked as ‘good’.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoe Billingham said: “I am impressed that the force is making good its promise to prioritise the service it provides to vulnerable victims. Staff are effective at identifying when someone is vulnerable, and officers generally provide a good initial response.
“Crimes involving vulnerable victims are investigated to a good standard, and supervisors provide proper oversight.”