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Thames Valley Police: Inquiries into low level crime 'need improvement'

Crime scene Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Inspectors found the force needed improvement in investigating low level crime but inquiries into serious crime were good

A police force needs to improve how it investigates "less complex crime", according to a watchdog's findings.

The Inspectorate of Constabulary found Thames Valley Police (TVP) "closes some investigations too early" and raised concern over its recording of crime.

However, inspectors rated the force "outstanding" in "meeting current demands and using resources" and said it was "good" overall.

TVP said it was "working hard" to improve investigations.

Deputy Chief Constable Jason Hogg said the force had "already taken steps to address the issues raised", and said the force had recruited "additional skilled investigators" and increased the number of digital technicians "to handle the ever-growing volume of digital evidence".

Zoe Billingham, inspector at Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, said TVP "understands it communities" but added it needed to "improve how it investigates crime through better training and more effective supervision".

"My overall assessment is that the force's performance has declined since last year," she added.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Thames Valley Police was praised for "meeting demands and using resources"

Inspectors also found 42% of TVP staff had not been vetted - the second highest amount in the country.

Ms Billingham said the size of the vetting backlog was a "cause for concern".

Mr Hogg said TVP had completed about 77% of vetting applications since the inspection and expected to be "fully compliant with the national vetting guidelines by March 2020".

It was also noted that 5.4% of the workforce was from a BAME background compared to 15.4% of the population, with 94.6% of staff identifying as white.

"We continue to work to improve our services in line with our ambition to deliver an excellent service and to be regarded as an outstanding police force," Mr Hogg said.

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