Update on GMP progress following the HMICFRS Report from Deputy Chief Constable Mabs Hussain
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Since the HMICFRS report was released, it has and continues to be the priority for Greater Manchester Police to improve the service we provide and ensure we are putting victims of crime at the centre of everything we do. Whilst it is clear we still have a lot of work to do to regain the confidence of the public, we are working hard to deliver the high-quality service you rightly expect of us. We are making progress, including rolling out new training for officers specifically aimed at supporting victims of crime, setting up three new units specifically dedicated to improve the service you receive, and a number of other key changes are underway which I can share today.
Firstly, we have already trained over 6,000 of our officers through a newly-developed course aimed specifically at refreshing officers on our approach to supporting victims of crime and recording crimes accurately on our systems. This focuses on ensuring officers are keeping the victim at the forefront of their mind during their investigations, and includes refresher training on crime recording to ensure where more than one offense is committed in one incident, it is recorded accurately and investigated fully wherever it is appropriate for us to do so.
We also know that when members of the public call us, they want to know that we will pick up the phone and record the crime they are reporting, which is why we have launched a new Centralised Crime Recording Unit with dedicated staff who will ensure that all reported crimes are recorded at the very first moment you contact us. This will ensure the crime gets recorded correctly at the earliest point and responding officers will arrive on scene equipped with all the information they need to hit the ground running.
To ensure we're recording all crimes correctly, we have around 70 officers across the districts responsible for reviewing every incident which comes in, making sure that each and every crime committed in that incident is captured. Through our due diligence process, between December 2020 and March 2021 of the 150,283 incidents which have been reviewed, a further 6,155 crimes have been recorded.
Through our engagement with our frontline colleagues they have told us about the difficulties they have in managing the demands placed on them. To address this and to create greater capacity, a 'Prisoner Processing Unit' (PPUs) pilot in the City of Manchester has started focussed initially on violent offenders, which include suspects of domestic abuse cases. This will be rolled out in a phased approach across the force.
The PPUs will provide a dedicated team of officers who will focus on obtaining the best possible evidence whilst the suspect is in custody, leading to more efficient and effective investigations and better outcomes for victims. The team will own the entire investigation and victim's journey from the point of arrest through to court. This will include keeping the victim updated and reviewing safeguarding plans and will go some way to reducing delays in bringing offenders into the criminal justice world.
In addition to this, we are in the process of recruiting over 100 investigators into a new Crime Investigation Team to support front-line officers with their investigations. This team will look after initial enquiries with victims of crime, taking witness statements and gathering crucial evidence to support a prosecution. This will ensure crimes are progressed more efficiently, freeing up our front-line officers to continue tackling crime on the streets.
To improve chances of victims being able to see their crime through to court, we have introduced four new 'Criminal Justice Units' to make sure that when we present your case, the files are of the highest possible quality. Since the new units have been introduced at the start of 2020, we are now the highest performing metropolitan force in the country, and fifth in the UK overall which is a great improvement.
One particular area of focus for us is on helping victims of domestic abuse. We need to know that we are doing everything we can to listen to victims of domestic abuse so they feel safe and supported by officers from the moment we arrive and throughout the investigation. I know this was a particular area of concern. This is why we have conducted a review of body worn video for domestic abuse cases to see if we could have done more to support them. We are using this to take the learning and improve the service we provide and have taken action where we have seen both good and poor practice.
This is only the beginning and we will not stop learning, improving and striving to do better. We will not always get it right, but it is our and my commitment to you that we will be as open and honest on the measures and progress we are making. The improvements I have outlined today are thanks to the hard work of our dedicated officers and staff who come to work each day and work tirelessly to improve our service and find better ways of supporting victims. Chief Officers are conducting regular focus groups and feedback sessions with our colleagues to do as much as we can to support them as we work through this process.
Our new Chief Constable, Stephen Watson, will be arriving with us at the end of May and I know he will be another driving force in our mission to provide the best possible service to victims of crime across Greater Manchester and we look forward to working with him. Thank you for your continued support.