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Wiltshire Police has been taken out of ‘special measures’

His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has today confirmed the force will be removed from the Engage phase of its performance monitoring process.

The organisation was given the Engage status, which offers enhanced support to Forces requiring it, in 2022 after HMICFRS graded the force as ‘inadequate’ in our ability to respond to the public, protect vulnerable people, and strategic planning. It further described the Force as ‘requiring improvement’ in a number of other areas.

As a result of this, and under the leadership of Chief Constable Catherine Roper who was appointed at the end of February 2023, we’ve made fundamental changes to how we operate, including;

  • The introduction of a new policing model creating dedicated neighbourhood teams which ensure increased visibility and engagement with our communities

  • Significant improvements to the quality of our investigations

  • Increased governance around how we monitor our performance and map our demand

  • Publication of a three-year strategic plan outlining our key priorities and deliverables

  • This programme of work has resulted in an enhanced service to victims - from shorter 999 and 101 call answer times, safeguarding more people by identifying vulnerability at the earliest opportunity, better quality investigations and an improvement in the number of justice outcomes.

    Although the decision to remove the Engage status from Wiltshire Police is a welcome one, Chief Constable Roper said that it will not deter the organisation from maintaining a focus on continuous improvement and the journey towards the force being rated as ‘outstanding’.

    She said: “Today’s news is testament to the steadfast commitment of everyone at Wiltshire Police to improve the service we provide to our communities.

    “This is a significant development in our improvement journey, but it does not imply any complacency on our part - we fully recognise that much remains to improve further still.

    “We know what we need to focus on and we have a detailed road map to ensure nothing distracts us from driving our improvements forward.

    “However, this does represent a substantial moment in our onward journey towards our aspiration to be an outstanding police force.

    “I would like to publicly thank all my colleagues at Wiltshire Police for their support and commitment throughout this process.

    “I would like to also recognise the support from our local partners and our communities. Thank you for the faith you installed in me as Chief Constable and the comprehensive improvement plan we established.

    “The support from our Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Wilkinson and the clear direction established within his Police and Crime Plan, has also bolstered our progress through this process.

    “The assistance we’ve received from national partners and colleagues within the Engage process – including the College of Policing, the National Police Chiefs’ Council, other police forces and the Home Office - has also been fundamental in providing crucial guidance and, when required, challenge to our improvement plans.

    “I look forward to sustaining our onward improvement, becoming a police force which provides an outstanding service to our communities and, above all, upholds our commitment to Keeping Wiltshire Safe.”

    Now that Wiltshire Police has been removed from the Engage element of the process, the force will now enter into the ‘scan’ phase of the HMICFRS monitoring process which involves quarterly monitoring of performance to ensure improvements are sustained.

    Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Wilkinson said that today’s announcement was excellent news and rightly highlights the hard work and progress made by the officers, staff and volunteers, of Wiltshire Police since 2022.

    Mr Wilkinson said: “It has been a joint priority of Wiltshire Police and my office to ensure significant reform across all areas of the organisation to provide a stable foundation for all necessary improvements and which allows the Force to function strategically but also enable it to deliver the policing service it knows it should - and which our residents want and need.

    “Chief Constable Catherine Roper’s vision and leadership has meant changes are being delivered at pace within the force: a new chief officer group and taut command structure, essential strategic direction, streamlined management boards, a new performance framework and a focus on delivery of operational policing alongside an emphasis on improvements to operational corporate governance.

    “This has ensured Wiltshire Police is operating as it should - enabling, and empowering, the Force’s excellent officers, staff and volunteers to improve their operational performance across the board. We now need to ensure those operational improvements are sustained by improvements to our corporate support services.

    “As a result, Wiltshire Police has been able to demonstrate to PPOG it is steadily and consistently improving its positive outcome rates against all crime types and is actively delivering the priorities and focus within my current police and crime plan – written after wide-ranging consultation with our communities when I was first elected.

    “My immediate goal now will be to update the police and crime plan – again informed by our communities – to set the strategic operational policing blueprint for the next four years and to re-double the collective efforts of my office and Wiltshire Police to deliver on our residents’ priorities and tackle the crimes that matter most to them.

    “Working together, we will continue making Wiltshire safer.”

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    Phil Mackie
    (Wiltshire Police, Communications & Engagement Officer, Wiltshire)

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