Greater Manchester Police’s significant and unparalleled improvements have been recognised for a second time by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) – securing the force’s position as the most improved in the country.
GMP’s effectiveness, efficiency, and legitimacy was assessed earlier this year – the report, published today (Friday 1 December 2023), states the force has ‘continued to improve the policing service it provides to the communities of Greater Manchester’, and grades the force as Good in three areas, Adequate in five, and Requires Improvement in one.
This evidences the huge progress made since the 2020 inspection, which resulted in the delivery of an Accelerated Cause for Concern in the December – putting GMP into ‘special measures’ for just under two years until October 2022. It is also a vast improvement on the 2021/2022 inspection, which resulted in the force receiving one Good, five Requires Improvement, and three Inadequate gradings 21 months ago.
Today’s report shines spotlights on seven areas of ‘promising practice’ relating to GMP’s: use of police power, and fair and respectful treatment of people; prevention and deterrence of crime; response to the public; and protection of vulnerable people. It also recognises that the times taken to answer 999 and 101 calls have reduced (by 95.1% and 83.4% respectively since July 2021) and that the force carries out effective and timely investigations – with arrests up by 82.9% in the last 12 months, compared to the year to October 2021, and charges and summons up by 39.2% in the same period.
It also highlights areas for improvement – including the managing of offenders and suspects. The full report rightly acknowledges that the Public Protection Department was already making progress at the time of the inspection in July – with the Sex Offender Management Unit having decreased overdue visits and overdue specialist risk assessments by 81% and 83% since the beginning of the year. In the last three months, the figures have continued to decrease by 14% and 62% respectively.
GMP Chief Constable Stephen Watson QPM said: "Greater Manchester Police is no longer an underperforming force. It is a force to be reckoned with – one with good leadership and management, and one which is good at preventing and deterring crime; and disrupting serious and organised crime.
"This report reiterates the success of the plan – to focus on the basics, strengthen leadership, and improve performance – which propelled GMP out of special measures in the record time of just under two years in October 2022. Whilst we are delighted by the progress, it also paves the way for our next steps – which we have already begun to take. Whilst we are delighted with progress, e do not believe that ‘adequate’ or ‘good’ are enough. We want to be ‘outstanding’ - the best police force in the country. We want to consistently deliver excellent policing services to the people of Greater Manchester, enabling them to have trust and confidence in those who have the privilege of keeping them safe.
"It is evident that, in the 12 months since coming out of special measures, call handling and response policing, neighbourhood policing, and safeguarding have continued to evolve – with His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary recognising promising practice in each of these areas. However, it goes without saying that our journey to improvement is ongoing and involves sustaining the progress we have already made, whilst ensuring continuous development in the highlighted areas for improvement – not least the management of sex offenders and suspects, which I can confirm has advanced since the inspection.
"On behalf of myself and the chief officers, I have already thanked officers and staff for their hard work and our thanks extend to our communities and partners – who continuously support us on our journey. You have our commitment that our quest does not end here.”
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “I am hugely encouraged with today’s His Majesty’s Inspectorate report which shows just how much of a turnaround GMP has made since it went into special measures in 2020 and since the 2021 inspection.
"When I appointed Stephen Watson as Chief Constable two years ago, I was very clear that I wanted GMP to focus on the people’s priorities of neighbourhood crime and rebuilding their relationships with local communities. Thanks to local taxpayers who helped fund the improvements through the police precept, we now have embedded neighbourhood police teams, we’ve seen calls being handled in record time, arrests are up, while tackling organised crime through Operation Vulcan and Operation Avro have netted huge results.
"I am proud of the work the Chief Constable, his leadership team, frontline officers and all the staff at GMP for what they have achieved. I know there is more to be done and I have every confidence Greater Manchester will soon have the outstanding force they deserve.”
Deputy Mayor for Police, Crime, Fire and Criminal Justice, Kate Green, added: “I know the last few years have not been easy for GMP and it has impacted public confidence in policing. I believe that people in Greater Manchester should feel confident that they now have a hard-working force, dedicated to fighting crime and keeping them safe.
"Since 2021, more crimes have been solved, neighbourhood crime and vehicle crime are falling, residential burglary has gone down by a fifth, more positive outcomes in domestic abuse cases, and homicide is down by nearly a quarter. It has taken considerable work and strong leadership to make this happen and myself and the Mayor will continue to work with GMP to ensure they keep on improving.”
Article Published: 01/12/2023 08:53 AM