Today (Thursday 25th February) Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) publishes its state of policing report.
Over the past 12 months HMIC has been independently assessing how well police forces across England and Wales perform as part of the annual PEEL inspection (into Efficiency, Effectiveness and Legitimacy).
This report comes on the back of the publication of all PEEL inspections.
Chief Constable Simon Byrne said:
"The results of this independent assessment show that Cheshire Constabulary is one of the best performing forces in the country. This is fantastic news for us as a force and for the public of Cheshire and reflects the hard work and commitment of every officer and member of staff including the volunteers who support us on a daily basis.
"We are rightly proud of the service we deliver to the public here in Cheshire. The results for the Constabulary have been excellent – we have been rated 'outstanding' overall for efficiency and ‘good’ overall for legitimacy and effectiveness. In particular we have been highly praised for a number of key areas including a strong track record of achieving savings, being exceptionally well prepared to face our future financial challenges, understanding, engaging with and treating fairly the people we serve and being strongly committed to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. Cheshire has also been praised for being a 'caring Constabulary' with a strong focus on vulnerable people - including victims of domestic abuse, sexual offences and child sexual exploitation.
"Almost a year ago I launched a set of commitments that clearly set out the level of service members of the public should expect from Cheshire Constabulary – the results of this independent assessment show that we are delivering on those commitments. The new policing structure, which was introduced last year, is designed to meet these priorities and once again reinforces the fact that we may be a relatively small force but we are big on ideas and big on delivering our commitments to the public.
"The transition to the new way of working was tested over the summer when the force faced an unprecedented number of high-profile incidents including a fatal explosion at a wood flour mill, a fatal plane crash during the Carfest motor show and a chemical incident on the motorway. The force was pushed to its limits and we managed the response to each of these incidents and rose to the challenge and I am extremely proud of how we dealt with a very difficult situation. It reinforces the commitment of everyone in Cheshire Constabulary to make a real difference to the local community."
Police & Crime Commissioner for Cheshire John Dwyer said:
"The results of the independent inspection of policing are fantastic news for the people of Cheshire. It’s been a challenging few years financially but I have been determined that the frontline is protected. It’s because of this that I commissioned a root-and-branch review, which has enabled investment into the frontline.
"We are now in a unique position as crime continues to fall, and is currently at its lowest for 25 years. And where it does occur we have some of our best ever solved rates.
"Neighbourhood policing remains a priority and during the course of the past year we have been recruiting officers to provide more capacity into the frontline. As a result of changes implemented, 53 extra officers were recruited. A further 181 officers are being recruited this year, which signifies another increase of 70 extra officers. Investment is also going into making sure the Constabulary has the technology it needs for the future to ensure Cheshire has a modern, agile police force. All this whilst meeting our saving targets - this is unique, this is outstanding.
"The result for our communities is that Cheshire has a police force which delivers for victims, delivers in protecting the public, invests in its future and is in the best possible position to meet the challenges of today and those to come. The Constabulary is making Cheshire safer and more prosperous for its communities, and creating a hostile environment for criminals.
"As a force we continue to address recommendations and areas for improvement as identified by the HMIC – and I will be closely monitoring progress and holding the Chief Constable to account for addressing these areas where the Constabulary must improve."