A watchdog has criticised Lancashire Police for not having an ‘overarching crime prevention strategy.’
The report, by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) found Lancashire was also among forces unable to tell inspectors the number of named suspects yet to be arrested and inspectors found some staff had not recieved crime prevention training.
Inspectors also looked at 50 unattended crime reports and found 34 contained no evidence of any investigation.
However, the force was praised for its long-term crime prevention initiatives and its use of social media to inform the community.
The HMIC also said the force had a ‘relatively good understanding of demand’ and is taking steps to address how resorces are distributed.
The report – which made a series of recommendations for all 43 UK forces – called policing a ‘postcode lottery’ after finding members of the public received a different response from police for the same kind of crime or incident, depending on where they live.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Roger Baker, who led the inspection, said: “Police forces have done a good job in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, leading to long-term reductions over the last ten years.
“However, we were concerned to find that a member of the public will receive a different response from the police for the same type of crime or incident, depending on where they live; this sort of postcode lottery has to stop and a consistent approach applied across England and Wales.”
Deputy Chief Constable Andy Rhodes said: “We are obviously pleased that HMIC have highlighted some real positives in this report but it is disappointing that some of the learning points raised are presented with very little accompanying context.
“Alongside this report should be some context about where policing finds itself in light of reducing budgets and resources.
“Taking £80m from our own budget inevitably means big changes to how we work and the impact is now being felt, however any changes are well considered and we were judged to be ‘Outstanding’ in this regard by HMIC last month.
“We have changed the way we manage and investigate crime which, when you look at how this is reflected in the HMIC report, could appear concerning to the public.
“In fact we have found this to be a much more efficient use of officer time which actually delivers a better quality of service at first contact to the victim.”