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Force must improve criminal investigations, says Commissioner

Devon and Cornwall’s Police and Crime Commissioner has said her force must improve the service it provides to the public after its ability to investigate crime effectively was judged as inadequate.

Force must improve criminal investigations, says Commissioner

His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) today released its 2023-25 PEEL report into the effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy of Devon & Cornwall Police.

Inspectors rated the force good at preventing crime, and adequate at ‘protecting vulnerable people’, ‘developing a positive workplace’ and ‘police powers and public treatment’. ‘Managing offenders’ and ‘leadership and force management’ were deemed to require improvement with ‘investigating crime’ and ‘responding to the public’ judged to be ‘inadequate’.

Information since the inspection was carried out shows an improving picture in relation to public contact, with reduced waiting times for 101 and 999 calls, but the Commissioner shares HMICFRS’s concerns relating to crime investigation standards.

“For several months my recently formed accountability and standards team have been examining how files are prepared for court and how data is collected and used by the force. Their findings chime with those of His Majesty’s Inspector,” she said.

“The public must be confident that when they report crime the evidence and information they supply is correctly recorded and used so perpetrators are brought to book and victims receive the justice they deserve. Despite record investment in policing in Devon and Cornwall, this is too often not the case. I will be challenging the force’s leadership to improve significantly in this area.

“The inspector’s recognition of good prevention work holds strong, with us having one of the lowest crime rate areas, but it is extremely disappointing that the force is letting too many victims down, whether with poor response times or a delayed investigation.


“I am assured that the force has improved how it manages its offenders and registered sex offenders, and progress has been made to reduce wait times for emergency and non-emergency requests for service. Also, I am pleased the inspector has formally recognised the investment in Devon & Cornwall Police’s neighbourhood team and the great work they do.”