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Chief Constable Stephen Watson and Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham to announce the news that Greater Manchester Police has been removed by His Majesty’s Inspectorate from special measures and is no longer required to be in the Inspectorate’s engage monitoring process.
Chief Constable Stephen Watson will today be joined by Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham to announce the news that Greater Manchester Police has been removed by His Majesty’s Inspectorate from special measures and is no longer required to be in the Inspectorate’s engage monitoring process.
The Chief Constable has thanked officers and staff for their continued professionalism, dedication, and faith in the plan he originally set out back in June 2021 to improve the force. He credited their steadfast commitment to the Force coming out of special measures in less than two years, making the Force one of the most improved forces in the country.
As recently as June this year, GMP reported advancement in all areas highlighted as causes for concern by HMICFRS, and in particular the areas in which the public would more immediately see and feel progress.
Back in June 2021, 999 answer times were averaging at 1 minute 22 seconds, and non-emergency answer time was 6 minutes 44 seconds. Thanks to new leadership, better use of technology, continued investment in force contact centre teams, and the hardworking call handlers answering calls and enquiries from the public 24 hours a day, 999 average speed of answer is now just 7 seconds. In terms of national performance, GMP is now in the top ten of Force performance for 999 answer times, and 8th nationally in terms of percentage of calls answered in under 10 seconds. This performance is the best of any large metropolitan Force. Non-emergency call average answer times are now at 1 min 4 seconds down from last summer’s peak at 6 mins 44 seconds. The Chief has previously commented on his commitment to the people of Greater Manchester that GMP would answer their call when in need, and that is exactly what the Force is doing thanks to the fantastic work in the Force Contact Centre.
The Force also provides an update on response times, which continue to be under the national target. 999 incidents (grade 1 calls) have improved to an average of 10 min 19 seconds, which is well within the 15 minute target and down from a peak of 13 mins 35 seconds. Sustained improvement has also been made to Grade 2 attendance, which back in August 2021 saw response times at 28 hrs 45 min. The average time to attend a Grade 2 is now at 2 hrs 13 mins. The work here continues, but this is a clear demonstration to the public that GMP will turn out when needed, and the basics of answering calls and having a police officer respond in support of a victim of crime will now happen in the swiftest most appropriate way possible.
HMICFRS have adjudged GMP to be compliant with national crime recording standards and has also rescinded this element of the cause for concern. As a result of a renewed focus on compliance and crime recording practices, GMP is ethically and accurately capturing the details of crime reported by the public of Greater Manchester, recording around 30,500 crimes per month on average - highlighting the increasing confidence and trust victims of crime are now gaining in GMP. GMP will accurately record your crime and will in every case pursue all reasonable lines of enquiry.
The progress does not end at the point at which the Force receives and records a crime. The Chief Constable committed to doubling the number of arrests and the numbers show they are the highest they have been in two years at 4,872 arrests as of September 2022, a significant increase of 60% from September 2021. Arrests continue to grow month on month and show that the Force are on track to record the highest number of arrests since 2015/16.
During the 12 months to the end of September 2022, 23,483 investigations resulted in a charge or summons, an increase of 42%. This demonstrates that GMP is not only arresting the criminals, but ensuring that they are put through the full judicial process and face justice as appropriate. Stop and Search is also being better utilised, with 2,528 people being stop searched in September 2022, a 275% increase on the year before, with 2,093 resulting in an arrest. This is a 101% increase on the previous year and complaints have reduced by 29%, demonstrating an ethical and measured approach to this tactic.
Further reassurance can be seen through the positive outcomes as a result of this action. The Chief Constable recently reiterated his commitment to residents of Greater Manchester that their police force would respond to each and every report of burglary GMP receives. Under Operation Castle the force is making rapid improvements across the board having invested in additional training for officers and staff to improve their investigative skills, established dedicated burglary teams in districts and an improved response model. GMP has dramatically improved the speed of response and has increased the number of burglars arrested across Greater Manchester by around 70%. Not only has GMP increased the number of burglars arrested, but the Force has also solved 1,475 burglaries in the last 12 months, which is an increase of 88% on the previous year.
Following the update from GMP in the Summer which was gave a strong indication of clear, demonstrable progress and results, there were however other areas HMIC still needed the Force to address.
The first of which was the standard of investigations and the risks posed to victims, including vulnerable victims of crime.
The Force has taken several actions which tackled this directly, including a re-launched Performance Management Framework, bespoke improvement plans led by dedicated senior detectives, and increased investment in Detective resourcing which improved capacity and capability. Effective scrutiny and governance are routinely exercised at the executive level and through a refreshed Force Investigation and Crime Standards Improvement plan.
This shift in investigation performance management has meant the HMIC are confident the standards of investigation are much improved, and GMP has the structure and culture in place to protect vulnerable people, and therefore this area as a cause for concern has been rescinded.
The other outstanding area HMIC identified as an immediate priority was the Force’s ability to respond appropriately to people who are vulnerable and at risk. The Force has invested heavily in the Force Contact Centre and launched a dedicated summer plan to meet additional seasonal demand under ‘Operation Apollo’, flexing resources from across the organisation for additional support. This, combined with the new Force incident Grading & Response policy, the introduction of dedicated Child Protection Teams and the extensive work led by the Prevention Branch and the FCC now ensures that the right resource is routinely deployed to the right victim at right time, with a particular focus on especially vulnerable members of the community. Work here is ongoing, but what GMP has been able to demonstrate to HMIC is a marked improvement, which has led to this outstanding area also being rescinded as an area for concern.
Chief Constable Stephen Watson said, “Our route into ‘Special Measures’ has been thoroughly analysed and much discussed. There are several reasons as to how we came to bear our recent travails, a failure of leadership principle amongst them. As I have stated repeatedly however, the fundamental failing was simply that we stopped doing the basics well, we stopped being the police and we stopped doing many of the things that our public have every right to expect.
I have however, from the very point of assuming command of the Force last summer, been given ample evidence to assert that our recent difficulties do not bear a true reflection of the commitment, professionalism and courage that are so abundantly to be found amongst the officers and staff of GMP.
These qualities have come very powerfully to the fore in working to deliver our plan with precision and vigour. The coherence of the plan, the establishment of capable leadership at all levels and the development of effective ways to ensure that the whole Force pulls together, have all played a part. Fundamentally however, our progress speaks to the determination, enthusiasm, and hard work of our staff.
HMIC has, quite rightly, subjected the Force to a tough process and have set the bar deliberately high. That our staff are succeeding so tangibly is something of which we can all be proud. The momentum being created reflects our status as the most improved Force in the country and gives confidence as to sustainability.
Nothing in these welcome developments implies any complacency on our part. We fully recognise that much remains to improve still further. It does however represent a tangible and substantial step on our journey toward that to which we all aspire to be the finest Force in our country.
The support from the public and our agency partners is very valuable and much appreciated. I thank our communities across Greater Manchester for keeping faith with GMP and I am confident that you too will recognise the fact that our recent difficulties are being put behind us with increasing pace and certainty. I look forward to sustaining GMP’s march forward and for us to continue to make our region a safer place to live, work and visit.”