Devon

Devon and Cornwall Police chief criticises watchdog report

Devon and Cornwall Police headquarters at Middlemoor Image copyright Google
Image caption Police sources said no reply to the letter had been received by the force which is based in Exeter

A police chief has accused the policing watchdog of "factual inaccuracies" over a report which criticises how a force protects vulnerable people from harm, the BBC can reveal.

Devon and Cornwall Police wrote a letter to Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) after it said the force "requires improvements".

The watchdog said changes had been made but "significant work" had to be done.

However, the force accused the HMIC of making "inaccurate, adverse comments".

The report looked at how England's police forces protected and supported vulnerable people, including victims of domestic abuse.

In relation to Devon and Cornwall, it said "there is still significant work to do" but the force has "acted on the messages" of the previous report in 2014 and is now tackling domestic abuse as "an important priority".

'Unfathomable'

Wendy Williams, HMIC Inspector, said: "The force effectively identifies vulnerable victims.

"Its sexual offences and domestic abuse investigation teams provide a specialist response to crimes committed against vulnerable victims.

"However, the teams are not yet fully resourced which means that some vulnerable victims do not receive this tailored support."

In the six page letter, Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said the HMIC was "failing to understand" work that had been done since the previous assessment, and called its conclusions "unfathomable".

He wrote: "The positives far outweigh the negatives and do not appear congruent with the overall grading given.

"I formally ask that the assessment is reviewed."

Ms Williams told the BBC: "It's undoubtedly the case that Devon and Cornwall Police has invested significantly in the needs of vulnerable victims.

Image caption Devon and Cornwall Police accused the HMIC of "inaccurate adverse comments"

"However, when we inspected, which was admittedly six months ago, the force was in a state of transition.

"We inspect at a point in time and we acknowledge that many of the processes that had been put in place were in their transitional phase."

Across the country, the HMIC judged 12 forces to be 'good', 27 forces to 'require improvement' and four forces to be 'inadequate'.

Police sources said no reply to the letter had been received by the force.

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