Police force that handled Novichok attack told to make urgent improvements

Problems were raised on how Wiltshire Police force responds to the public and how it protects vulnerable people

Published

The police force which handled the Salisbury novichok attack is failing in several areas and must make urgent improvements. That's according to a report by the police inspectorate.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary grades Wiltshire Police's performance across eight areas and found the force was 'inadeaquate' in three areas as well as needing improvement in the other five areas.

HMICFRS said the failing areas included how the force responds to the public, how it protects vulnerable people and value for money.

Wiltshire Police HQ
Wiltshire Police HQ

Last month, Wiltshire Police was put into special measures under the inspectorate's Engage monitoring scheme, which provides additional oversight and support to help make improvements.

Last week, the Metropolitan Police, the UK's biggest force, was also put into special measures by the inspectorate following recent scandals and poor peformance.

Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams said: “I have serious concerns about Wiltshire Police’s performance, particularly how it responds to the public, protects vulnerable people and makes use of its resources.

“The force is missing opportunities to protect vulnerable and repeat victims of crime. It needs to improve the way it manages victims’ calls, so that all vulnerable people are identified. Some domestic abuse victims have received an unacceptable level of service and have continued to remain at risk. The force is not supervising investigations well enough and doesn’t always follow all investigative opportunities.

“More positively, the force has recently developed plans to address violence against women and girls and intends to make progress in how it understands and protects vulnerable people."

At the same time, Cheshire Constabulary has also come in for criticism from the watchdog. The inspectorate says the force needs to improve the speed with which is answers calls from the public.

HMICFRS is also critical of the force's management of sex offenders as well as intelligence in cases of online child sex abuse.