A POLICE force is starting to make progress in improving some of its services after it was placed in special measures following a damning report.

Independent inspectors have returned to Cleveland Police to see what steps are being taken to rectify failings which had been identified by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

The troubled force received the worst verdict in an inspection of any force in history in 2019 when an independent watchdog rated it as ‘inadequate’ in every area it inspected.

Vulnerable people, including children and domestic abuse victims, were being routinely let down by the force, the highly critical report concluded.

The watchdog was also highly critical of the lack of measures to tackle corruption in the force and said some senior officers were misleading the Chief Constable with incorrect information.

As a result of the latest inspection in May, a number of of areas earmarked for improvement have been signed-off – five from six areas of concern – meaning that inspectors acknowledge there has been significant progress being made.

The inspection found that the force needs to continue to involve the workforce in decision making and to identify and support people with the potential to become senior leaders.

The Northern Echo: Chief Constable Richard LewisChief Constable Richard Lewis

In a letter to Chief Constable Richard Lewis, Andy Cooke QPM, said: “I am pleased with the progress that has been made, and that this is reflected in the workforce’s experiences. While we have continually monitored progress, this is the first time we have formally reviewed the force’s results.

“I would like to take the opportunity to recognise the commitment it has taken from Cleveland Police’s workforce to make this happen. Also, I note the workforce’s willingness to engage, which has helped the force make these improvements.”

Concerns remain about the success of the force’s human resources programme but the report says progress is still being made.

The latest report added: “This is one of six PEEL causes of concern being monitored. As such, Cleveland Police remains in the engage phase of our monitoring process, at least until our next review period.”

Mr Lewis welcomed the news but there is still work to do turn around all of the concerns raised in the damning 2019 report.

He said: “Our improvement journey continues at a steady pace; this is a marathon for us not a sprint and what’s important to me is that we get it right first time.

“This work has been achieved in the midst of the pandemic, in which officers and staff have been within the frontline of the response – that is no easy feat and the positive comments from HMICFRS are purely down to their hard work.”

To read the full report click here.

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