WEST MIDLANDS Police has been put into special measures following a series of failings including poor investigations.
His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary (HMICFRS) has placed the force into an enhanced level of monitoring.
The inspectorate said this was because the force was not ‘effectively managing the risk posed to the public by registered sex offenders’ and offenders accessing indecent images of children.
HMICFRS said it was assured West Midlands Police is taking steps to address these concerns, but significant and sustained improvements are required and 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.”
The force said many of the issues identified developed as a result of the previous operating model.
West Midlands Police Chief Constable, Craig Guildford, has hit back saying he ‘completely disagrees’ with the decision.
He 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’ concern.”
The Chief Constable said it was ‘misleading’for the inspectorate to say victims were not safeguarded – and domestic abuse arrest rate have increased from 27 per cent to 39 per cent.
He acknowledged issues around the force’s management of sex and inline child abuse offenders but said these were a ‘legacy’ of the previous operating model.
The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Simon Foster said immediate action has taken place.
The Labour PCC said: ““I am treating this matter with the utmost seriousness and as a top priority. I have immediately met with the Chief Constable.
“I am holding him to account, to ensure he prepares and implements an effective Action Plan, in order to resolve the areas of concern as a matter of urgency.
“I have been repeatedly warning the government that its reckless cuts to policing, which even after the so-called police uplift, left West Midlands Police with 1,000 fewer officers than it had in 2010, have caused immense damage to the force.
“The announcement by His Majesty’s Inspectorate, is yet further evidence of the damage inflicted on West Midlands Police and the people of the West Midlands by the government. I trust the government can appreciate the consequences of its own actions.”