Soham force named among Britain's worst

Cambridgeshire and Humberside police forces, which face heavy criticism over the investigation of the Soham murders, were named among the country's poorest-performing yesterday.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary also gave its lowest ratings to the Cleveland, Nottinghamshire and West Yorkshire forces. Sir Keith Povey, the Chief Inspector, said: "In comparison with their peers, they still have a long way to go."

The highest accolades were given to Kent, Lancashire, Northumbria, Staffordshire and Suffolk. Merseyside and West Midlands, two of the busiest urban forces, were also commended.

Inspectors gave each English or Welsh force a rating of excellent, good, fair or poor against 16 criteria, including the handling of "volume crime" such as burglary, traffic policing and reassuring the public.

Humberside and Cleveland had the highest number of poor ratings, with six each. Cambridgeshire was ranked poor in four categories, Nottinghamshire in three and West Yorkshire in two.

Humberside and Cambridgeshire forces are expecting scathing criticism in Sir Michael Bichard's inquiry into how Ian Huntley evaded checks to land a school caretaker's job. His report will be handed to the Home Office within days. Humberside admitted deleting Huntley's records, including allegations of sex crimes in the past, while Cambridgeshire appears to have given him the all-clear to work in the school without checking on him under his real name.

Tom Lloyd, the Cambridgeshire Chief Constable, said the assessment was "a snapshot in time and doesn't fully reflect the turnaround in performance that we have seen in Cambridgeshire in the last 12 months".

Sir Keith said there was no force whose overall performance was so poor that the Home Secretary could use his new powers to replace Chief Constables with Home Office troubleshooters. But, he added: "If there was no improvement or a massive deterioration over a period of months, that might attract some sort of response."

Handling of emergency calls was identified as one of the major weaknesses across the country, along with forces' ability to tackle cross-border and region-wide crime such as drug-trafficking.

ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Husain Abdullah returns an interception off Tom Brady for a touchdown
nflLeague has rules against 'sliding to ground on knees'
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style