Significant improvements by Greater Manchester Police, inspection finds
No areas of it's policing are currently inadequate, according to HMICFRS
England’s third biggest police force has “significantly improved” its performance but still needs to do better at managing offenders, said the police inspectorate.
In its report, published on Friday, His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) judged that no areas of policing by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are currently inadequate.
Stephen Watson replaced Ian Hopkins as the chief constable of GMP in May 2021 after the force was placed in special measures in December 2020 when it was revealed it had failed to record 80,000 crimes.
Mr Watson had blamed a “failure of senior leadership” for the force’s problems and promised a “dialled up muscularity” in his approach to crime, leading to GMP being moved out of special measures in October 2022.
In her summary of the latest inspection, HM Inspector of Constabulary Michelle Skeer said: “Our last inspection (in 2021) identified the chief constable’s positive changes and long-term plans. I am pleased that those plans have continued to help the force improve the service it provides to the public.
“Its leadership, governance and performance processes have increased both the productivity and proactivity of its officers.
“Chief officers have made well thought out changes and investments to make sure the force has the resources to meet the public’s demands. The force’s leadership and management have significantly improved both its service to the public and outcomes for victims of crime.
“There are still areas in which Greater Manchester Police needs to do better. However I am optimistic that the force’s leadership and management will continue to provide further improvements.”
One area which required improvement, the report found, was how the force monitors its requirement to visit registered sex offenders to ensure it quickly manages risk.
Upon initial inspection in April this year, GMP told inspectors it had backlogs of 1,490 registered sex offender visits.
At the end of the inspection period the backlog had reduced to 163, said GMP, but inspectors found some visits to offenders who had been part of the overdue backlog had again lapsed and become overdue.
In the previous inspection, Greater Manchester Police was found to be inadequate in three areas and requiring improvement in five others.
Welcoming the latest HMICRFS report, Mr Watson said: “Greater Manchester Police is no longer an underperforming force. It is a force to be reckoned with – one with good leadership and management, and one which is good at preventing and deterring crime, and disrupting serious and organised crime.
“This report reiterates the success of the plan – to focus on the basics, strengthen leadership, and improve performance, which propelled GMP out of special measures in the record time of just under two years.
“However, it goes without saying that our journey to improvement is ongoing and involves sustaining the progress we have already made, whilst ensuring continuous development in the highlighted areas for improvement – not least the management of sex offenders and suspects, which I can confirm has advanced since the inspection.”
Mr Watson, the former chief constable of South Yorkshire Police, was appointed by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, who also embraced the report.
Mr Burnham said: “I am hugely encouraged with today’s His Majesty’s Inspectorate report, which shows just how much of a turnaround GMP has made.
“When I appointed Stephen Watson as Chief Constable two years ago, I was very clear that I wanted GMP to focus on the people’s priorities of neighbourhood crime and rebuilding their relationships with local communities.
“I am proud of the work the Chief Constable, his leadership team, frontline officers and all the staff at GMP for what they have achieved. I know there is more to be done and I have every confidence Greater Manchester will soon have the outstanding force they deserve.”Published: by Radio NewsHub