West Midlands Police moved into ‘enhanced monitoring’

His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary has today moved West Midlands Police into an enhanced level of monitoring.

The monitoring process consists of two stages - scan and engage.

All police forces are in routine monitoring under the scan stage by default, but may be escalated to enhanced monitoring under the engage stage if they are not effectively addressing the inspectorate’s concerns.

HMICFRS said West Midlands Police had been moved into the engage stage because it is not:

  • carrying out effective investigations which lead to satisfactory results for victims; 
  • making sure multi-agency risk assessment conferences work effectively to keep vulnerable people safe; 
  • effectively managing the risk posed to the public by registered sex offenders; and  
  • managing the risk posed by online child abuse offenders effectively.

HMICFRS said that it was assured West Midlands Police is taking steps to address these concerns, but significant and sustained improvements are required and the inspectorate will be closely monitoring the force’s progress.  

The inspectorate also said more detail about West Midlands Police’s performance would be included in its next inspection report, which is due to be published in early 2024. His Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, Wendy Williams said:

“We move police forces into our enhanced level of monitoring, known as Engage, when a force is not responding to our concerns, or if it is not managing, mitigating or eradicating these concerns.

“The Engage process provides additional scrutiny and support from the inspectorate and other external organisations in the policing sector to help the police force improve and provide a better service for the public.

“West Midlands Police has been asked to urgently produce an improvement plan and will meet regularly with our inspectors. We will work closely with the force to monitor its progress against these important and necessary changes.”

Responding to the decision, Chief Constable Craig Guilford said that many of the issues identified developed as a result of a previous operating model, and that statistical findings are largely drawn from datasets that pre-date the launch of the force’s new operating model in April 2023. Chief Constable Guildford said:

“Although I remain respectful of HMICFRS, I completely disagree with their decision-making to move West Midlands Police into ‘Engage’ now despite providing them with recent evidence that should inform a much more comprehensive and fair assessment of the force.

“Our job now is to ensure the plans we have already implemented expeditiously address HMICFRS’ concerns.

“When I joined WMP in December 2022 I set some clear priorities as I recognised there needed to be a significant improvement in the force’s performance, the number of offenders brought to justice and the service we provide to local communities. 

“It was for this reason that I implemented a rapid overhaul of the operating model and in April 2023 we created seven new Local Policing Areas, each of which has local responsibility for responding to calls for service and investigating offences. Since implementing this new model, changing Force Contact and opening two more custody suites, our arrest rate has increased by a third as has the number of offenders brought to justice. This continues to improve each month.

“As a result of these rapid changes we are now the best performing force of our most similar forces group when it comes to solving burglary, robbery and homicide.

“Accepting that you cannot turn a force the size of West Midlands Police around overnight, and notwithstanding all of the progress, we accept that investigations need to improve further.

“Indeed, we had already identified the concerns relating to investigations before HMICFRS inspected us; and we now have a detailed plan which is already delivering improvement. This will continue to be shared with HMICFRS.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster has also issued a statement, criticising the government and the “reckless cuts” it has imposed on West Midlands Police over a period of 13 years, saying it has inflicted “immense damage” on the force. Mr Foster added:  

“Notwithstanding the so-called police uplift, West Midlands Police, were left with 1,000 fewer officers than it had in 2010. The national funding formula costs West Midlands Police £40 million a year - the equivalent of 800 police officers - and this year we received the fifth worst percentage national funding settlement in the country; and this year cuts of £28 million have had to be made and a further £22 million of cuts will have to be made next year.  

“That has had serious adverse consequences for police visibility, response times, the conduct of investigations and the ability of West Midlands Police to prevent, tackle and reduce crime and protect the vulnerable. The people of the West Midlands have been paying the price and hard-working officers and staff have been picking up the pieces.

“The decision by to move West Midlands Police to engage, is yet further evidence of the damage inflicted on West Midlands Police and the people of the West Midlands by the government.

“I was notified of the decision by HMICFRS to engage West Midlands Police, during a 15 minutes Teams call on 22 November. I have yet to receive a letter from HMICFRS, setting out its areas of concern and I was provided with no prior notice of that decision despite having an agreement with HMIC, that WMP and I would have an opportunity to make representations prior to finalising of the decision.

”I am disappointed that HMIC have then resiled from that agreement. The final decision-making process by HMIC has been seriously unsatisfactory. I disagree with the decision of HMIC – a view that is shared by the Chief Constable.

“However, I am treating this matter with the utmost seriousness and as a top priority. I am committed to holding West Midlands Police to account and working with the Chief Constable, HMIC and other relevant partners, to address and resolve the areas of concern as a matter of urgency, so as to ensure that the people of the West Midlands receive the service from West Midlands Police, that they are entitled to.”


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