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The police service can be proud of the substantial achievements and ...
The police service can be proud of the substantial achievements and

progress it has made over the last year, but there is still room for

improvement, the chief inspector of constabulary Keith Povey said

today, publishing his annual report.

The past year has seen reductions in medical retirements and sick

leave within the police force, as well as a declining number of

complaints against the police and a general reduction in crime.

However, the annual report finds that police forces need to

ratchet-up performance and press ahead with the reform and

modernisation programme if the public is to see the level of service

it demands and deserves.

Sir Keith said:

'The police service has been subject to significant pressures over

the past year, with a drive for improved performance, reform and

modernisation and delivery against a range of targets. This is in

addition to the requirement to rise to a series of challenges in

relation to terrorism, major criminality, and public order. In

general the Service can be proud of a year of substantial achievement

and progress, but there is still much room for improvement.

'Substantial progress has been achieved in implementation of the

first stages of reform, with record resources being made available to

the service. The police family has embraced the new concept of

community support officers and their useful contribution to crime

reduction and public reassurance, and the priorities of the National

Policing Plan are firmly embedded in local policing plans.

'We also see police forces in many instances hitting challenging

targets. Overall, the number of robberies, burglaries and instances

of vehicle crime have reduced, though some areas are performing more

successfully than others. Sick leave continues its welcome decline,

with the average now at 10.4 days per officer, well ahead of the

government's target of 11.5 days; and medical retirements are

following that tr end, with only 6.2 medical retirements per 1000

officers last year.

'However, the performance gap between forces must narrow. Each force

must strive to perform to the same standard as the very best, so that

the police service as a whole can demonstrate - beyond reasonable

doubt, not on a balance of probabilities - that it is facing down

crime all day, every day.'

Welcoming the report, Home Office minister Hazel Blears said:

'I am grateful to Sir Keith Povey and his team for their annual

report as well as their continued assistance in driving forward

modernisation and monitoring the performance of the police service

over the previous 12 months.

'The police service has shown that it is rising to the challenges of

police reform and improving performance. I am also pleased that the

sickness absence and medical retirement figures continue to fall, as

do the number of complaints against the police.

'We have accomplished much already, with more police officers and

community support officers on the streets and an overall reduction in

crime, but there is more to be done. Only by working together can we

sustain the momentum and build on the foundations of success that we

have already put in place.'

* The report is available on the HMIC website.

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