Jul 6 2012 by Johnathon Menzies, Stirling Observer Friday
AN INSPECTION into performance levels at Central Scotland Police and the region’s police board has been warmly welcomed by figureheads.
The Best Value Audit and Inspection report was completed by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland, alongside Audit Scotland, and was officially released yesterday (Thursday).
Highlights include a year-on-year reduction in overall crime; high detection rates; a reduction in the number of road traffic collisions and improved use of alternatives to prosecution.
However, the report states that, in 2011/12, the force has seen what’s described as a “marked increase” in the number of complaints recorded by Central Scotland Police, from 211 the previous year to 285 – particularly from those who have violently resisted arrest.
Chief Constable Derek Penman said: “This report should provide reassurance to our communities that we’re continuing to perform well. The inspection has also highlighted several areas for further improvement and we are currently addressing these points to ensure that we continue to deliver a high quality of policing and service.”
Authors of the report also stated that the local constabulary is well-positioned to sustain performance levels while the transition is made to a single, nationwide, police force – which is to take place in April next year.
Chief Constable Penman added: “We are determined to protect the quality of our community policing. It is only through delivering quality services that we will build trust, confidence, and satisfaction in our local policing.”
Falkirk councillor Jim Blackwood, the convener of the region’s joint police board described the recently-released report as “positive” and “encouraging”.
“There are many challenges ahead and I look forward to working with the Chief Constable and his staff,” he continued. Councillor Blackwood added: “I would also like to thank the previous convener, Councillor George Matchett, and the previous board for all their hard work in achieving such a positive report.”
Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Andrew Laing said: “There are areas identified for further improvement but this is in the context of a force and board that are performing well.”
Chair of the Accounts Commission John Baillie concluded: “We welcome the board’s self-awareness. It knows how it can improve further and this can be seen in a strong transitional work plan. It has good quality information from the force but it needs to improve scrutiny in some areas and in the way reports to the public.”