North makes top of the cops

NORTHUMBRIA Police are among the top three performing forces in the country, according to figures released yesterday.

NORTHUMBRIA Police are among the top three performing forces in the country, according to figures released yesterday.

Only Lancashire and Surrey were placed higher in the Government performance assessments, which rate the 43 forces in seven different categories.

Northumbria Chief Constable Mike Craik yesterday paid tribute to the force, which received a top rating of “excellent” in tackling crime and protecting vulnerable people.

He said: “We are proud of our achievements and it is a credit to our police officers and police staff that Northumbria is identified as one of the country’s top performing forces time and time again.

“I want to give a clear message to our communities that we will listen to their needs and work with them and our partners to tackle all types of crime and disorder.

“I also want to make it clear to law breakers that we will actively target them and that includes those involved in anti-social behaviour, where we are taking a tough stand and arresting more and more people.”

Published jointly by the Home Office and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, the judgments are based on visits to forces, documentary and statistical evidence and consultation with stakeholders, including the public. Achieving maximum points in all categories would give a force a total of 21 points. Northumbria scored 16 and Durham 10.

The areas looked at by the Government are: tackling crime, resources and efficiency, serious crime and public protection, protecting vulnerable people, satisfaction and fairness, implementation of neighbourhood policing and local priorities.

While they make the assessments, the Home Office does not put together a league table. Ministers claim it is “erroneous” to do so as the figures are designed to compare forces with other similar forces and not as a national group.

Nevertheless, Durham Chief Constable Jon Stoddart said he believed the assessments provided the people of County Durham and Darlington with “reason for real optimism”.

He said: “The courage, dedication and commitment of our workforce are second to none and that has been underlined yet again by latest figures for all reported crime between April and September of this year. The totals show a near 8% reduction on the same six-month period in 2006. That translates into more than 2,000 fewer victims and, with detection rates rising marginally to 31%, more people are being brought to book.”

But despite some positive feedback, Durham were given a “poor” rating for local priorities – principally because of a lack of speed in responding to calls. Mr Stoddart added: “The challenges we faced since centralising our communications systems have been well documented publicly. We have made significant investment in resources and the improvements have been considerable and we expect that to continue.”

Bedfordshire is the country’s worst performing police force, scoring just one point in the assessments.

To see how the police have been scored in your area, click here

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