The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) continues to do a good job protecting the public and reducing crime despite political gridlock in the Northern Irish Assembly, according to two reports published today by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
The absence of an elected Assembly meant that the PSNI could only access 95 percent of the previous year’s budget, which limited its opportunities to plan future investments. However, two inspections showed that the PSNI is coping well and understands well how it will meet future demand while also making cost efficiencies.
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HM Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr said:
“We are encouraged to find that the PSNI continues to make good use of its resources in spite of continuing uncertainty around the political situation in Northern Ireland. Since our last inspection, it has developed a deeper understanding of its workforce’s skills and capability and is in a strong position to meet the demands of newer threats such as human trafficking and cyber-crime.
“That said, we did identify some areas for improvement. We found that uniformed officers often lacked the necessary support and supervision to effectively investigate volume crimes like burglary. We also found very little evidence that the PSNI systematically pursued people it issued with arrest warrants for minor crimes.
“While we recognise that the Police Service of Northern Ireland is a high-performing force, it should investigate all crimes to a consistently high standard, regardless of the seriousness of the offence.”
The report also sets out that the PSNI:
- has been determined to be ‘good’ in how effectively and efficiently it keeps people safe and reduces crime;
- has a comprehensive understanding of local organised crime and works well with partners to dismantle it;
- could do more to ensure frontline officers apply problem-solving techniques consistently; and
- should continue its efforts to reduce the backlog of digital devices waiting to be analysed.
The Department of Justice commissioned HMICFRS to carry out these inspections as part of annual assessments of police performance. HMICFRS will carry out further inspections in 2018/19.
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Notes to editors
- HMICFRS is an independent inspectorate, inspecting policing to promote improvements in policing that make everyone safer, and assesses and reports on the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces to tackle crime and terrorism, improve criminal justice and raise confidence.
- On 19 July 2017, HMIC took on responsibility for fire & rescue service inspections and was renamed HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services.
- HMICFRS inspects all 43 police forces in England and Wales together with other major policing and law enforcement bodies. It also inspects all 45 fire and rescue services in England.
- The Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998 as amended provides that HMICFRS shall at least once in every year inspect and report to the Department of Justice on the efficiency and effectiveness of:
- the Police Service of Northern Ireland;
- the Police Service of Northern Ireland Reserve;
- the police support staff; and
- traffic wardens.
- For further information, HMICFRS’s press office can be contacted during office hours from 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday on 0203 513 0600.
- HMICFRS’s out-of-hours press office line for urgent media enquiries is 07836 217729.
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