A "considerably improved" relationship between Law Enforcement and the Home Affairs Committee has helped them to take "significant steps" in dealing with issues that were identified in previous HMIC inspections.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMIC) conducted a "comprehensive and invasive" review of local policing and the committee in charge of political policy in this area, Home Affairs.
Following a critical initial report, published in November 2018, inspectors were invited back in December 2019. They found that five of the eight recommendations from the initial inspection had been completed, with progress has been made on two more and one outstanding.
Released today, the update report also outlines that many of the ‘areas of improvement’ for Law Enforcement have been either fully addressed or made progress. Of these 26, nine are completed, progress made on 16 and one is outstanding.
There is one new recommendation, with HMIC concluding that police officers need more investigative training as there is a lack of opportunities, supervision and standardised qualifications in the local police force.
This is intended to raise standards of investigation for all officers who have not benefitted from specialist detective training
Home Affairs has secured additional funding from the States of Guernsey Budget and there are plans to begin PIP training for all police officers, starting from 2021.
Another recommendation made in 2018 when we were inspected by HMICFRS was that we needed to make the GBA complaints procedure more prominent. We’ve done that and it can be found at https://t.co/a2ezK5nWbd. Read the full report at https://t.co/1EFDfKJLF8 pic.twitter.com/Wqe0UJNngm— Guernsey Police (@GuernseyPolice) July 9, 2020
One area where Law Enforcement Head Ruari Hardy said material progress has been made is in the force's response to call-outs.
Guernsey Police now takes a more risk-based approach when prioritising calls for service.
"We cannot always deal with everything straight away," said Mr Hardy. "One of the things we do is prioritise our calls for service and identify areas of vulnerability that have to be addressed."
Recommendations around BLE’s public consulting, the effectiveness of its problem-solving plans, crime prevention advice and strategic approach toward anti-social behaviour have all been addressed.
“As an organisation, we seek continuous professional development. This re-inspection demonstrates our seriousness toward ensuring BLE is the very best it can possibly be," said Mr Hardy. "My staff and officers dedicated a huge amount of time and effort toward this report and the positive improvements contained within is down to them. We have reviewed the comments made by HMIC and will keep working with the same determination against the areas where focus is needed. We must ensure that we maintain a culture of reflection and improvement.”
Significant steps have been taken by the Committee for Home Affairs and Bailiwick Law Enforcement (BLE) to address recommendations from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), a follow-up inspection has found. https://t.co/Lal739sEuD pic.twitter.com/fzl5Xdz957— States of Guernsey (@Govgg) July 9, 2020
One major area of concern in the previous report was around the ICT provision for Law Enforcement. The follow-up report notes “significant progress has been made” in improving the provision.
Home Affairs President Deputy Mary Lowe said this is one area where there are ongoing improvements.
“I am pleased to see the report acknowledges improvements made in many areas. This was a vast amount of work undertaken across 2019, culminating in the return visit by HMICFRS. Although this report notes there are still areas where work is needed, I consider the work of last year to be a good basis of the momentum we have gained.
"As we have just seen from 2019’s annual report, BLE successfully dealt with a wide variety of work last year to keep the Bailiwick safe and secure. The work carried out in this report is against that backdrop and I want to pay tribute to the Head of Law Enforcement and all his officers for the incredible efforts and hard work put into the HMIC recommendations.”
Mr Hardy said the review had been rigorous and far-reaching.
"We provides a portfolio of information against their areas of improvement and then they came for a full week and had intrusive interviews with staff in all the areas subject to the previous inspection," he said.
"We gave them free access to any information they wanted, as they are evidence-based, so they could quantify and confirm that information."
Pictured: Bailiwick Law Enforcement released its annual report for 2019 last week.
A better working relationship between the committee and Mr Hardy, who took office in January 2019, has also helped to drive through change.
Deputy Lowe's committee has been criticised in recent years for its governance and its alleged interference in operational matters and "bullying" behaviour.
A new protocol was drawn up last summer to help clarify the committee's roles and responsibilities.
"We are all here to do the best we can for the community" said Deputy Lowe. "We have a good working relationship and understand the boundaries of where we can and cannot get involved."
Mr Hardy added: "We don't always agree, we may have opposing thoughts but it is not about agreeing on everything all the time. The protocol is there to help with (the boundaries) between political policy and professional service delivery."
Pictured top: Deputy Mary Lowe and Ruari Hardy.
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