A watchdog, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, is faced with the unprecedented challenge of investigating multiple forces, large and small. Apart from London, the police in Greater Manchester, Cleveland, Gloucestershire, Staffordshire and Wiltshire. A substantial proportion, therefore, of the population of England is subject to substandard policing. Given the variety of the forces, the suspicion must be that the rot doesn’t stop at the precise administrative borders of the police under investigation.
The watchdog will need to be given the time and resources to get on with its vital work, given the sheer scale of the problems. Its inspectors have raised “systemic concerns” about the Met, including its substandard response to emergency calls, “barely adequate” crime recording and a backlog of child abuse referrals. All of those follow a series of scandals, notably the murder of Sarah Everard and the resignation of the commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick.
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