Police force fails efficiency test: Under-resourced Derbyshire is refused certificate for the second year

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The Independent Online
A POLICE force has been declared inefficient by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary for the second year running - twelve months after being ordered to put its house in order.

In a report on Derbyshire Police issued yesterday, Geoffrey Dear, the Inspector, says he is refusing the formal Certificate of Efficiency for the second time because the force remains seriously under-resourced and there is an unprecedented 'catalogue of dissatisfaction' among the public.

He warns: 'Without adequate resources, managed to advantage, the problems that they face will continue to grow beyond their abilities to respond. On all the evidence available there is no realistic prospect of an improvement in the near future.'

The certificate is necessary for the force to receive Home Office funding; the Home Office could also take over running of the force although in practice neither is likely to happen. The case is the first occasion this century that certificates have been refused.

Mr Dear first refused a certificate in June last year. The Home Office gave the force six areas in which to improve performance and subjected it to quarterly inspections. He says the force has failed to meet each of the targets: it remains below establishment, suffers from curtailed or cancelled training and reduced overtime, cannot repair buildings or replace worn-out vehicles, while scenes of crime and fingerprint officers are insufficient or poorly trained.

Although some improvements had been made, Mr Dear says, many were eroded by the restrictions of the pounds 80m budget set by Labour-controlled Derbyshire County Council for 1993-4 - about pounds 3m below the minimum requested by John Newing, the Chief Constable.

Mr Newing released a 45-page response to the report, and denied that the force was inefficient. He said the crucial issue was 'a shortage of funds'.

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