His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has moved West Midlands Police (WMP) into an enhanced level of monitoring, also known as ‘Engage’.
HMICFRS said on Friday that West Midlands Police was moved into Engage because it is not:
- carrying out effective investigations which lead to satisfactory results for victims;
- making sure multi-agency risk assessment conferences (MARACs) – meetings where statutory and voluntary agency representatives share information about people at high risk of domestic abuse – 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 added that it was assured West Midlands Police is taking steps to address the above concerns, but significant and sustained improvements are required. As a result, the inspectorate will be closely monitoring the force’s progress.
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.”
WMP arrest rate has ‘increased by a third’
Responding to the HMICFRS’s decision, WMP Chief Constable, Craig 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.”
Image: West Midlands Police Chief Constable, Craig Guildford. Credit: WMP Twitter account