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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 October 2007, 14:47 GMT 15:47 UK
Bedfordshire police 'rated worst'
Police on beat
The unofficial league table was based on Home Office figures
Bedfordshire is the worst-performing police force in England and Wales, an unofficial league table based on Home Office ratings suggests.

The 2006-2007 ratings suggested Thames Valley, Greater Manchester, Humberside, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire were also among the worst performers.

Surrey and Lancashire were among the best performers.

Chief Constable Gillian Parker, of Bedfordshire Police, was "disappointed" but said changes were being made.

She told the BBC Radio Four's World At One: "We are not dwelling on it because much of the data in the report is actually historic.

"Since the report and the inspection took place, we've undertaken quite a lot of progress to improve things and that's been acknowledged this morning."

The president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), Ken Jones, said the ratings were "shallow", "bureaucratic" and "open to misrepresentation".

He said a centralised approach to assessing forces facing different local issues was "a bit barmy".

Seven categories

The government's Police Performance Assessments rate the 43 forces in seven different categories, with a rating given of excellent, good, fair or poor.

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The categories are: tackling crime; resources and efficiency; serious crime and public protection; protecting vulnerable people; satisfaction and fairness; implementation of neighbourhood policing; and local priorities.

Bedfordshire, for instance, was given a "fair" rating for tackling crime, serious crime and public protection, resources and efficiency, and satisfaction and fairness.

But it was rated "poor" for protecting vulnerable people, implementation of neighbourhood policing, and local priorities.

Surrey, by contrast, was rated "excellent" in tackling crime, serious crime and public protection, protecting vulnerable people, implementation of neighbourhood policing, and resources and efficiency.

It was "fair" on satisfaction and fairness, and "good" on local priorities.

If each "excellent" rating was worth three points, "good" two, "fair" one and "poor" minus-one, achieving maximum points in each of the seven categories would mean a score of 21 points.

Under such a system, Bedfordshire would only achieve one point, making it the worst-performing force in England and Wales. Surrey and Lancashire would achieve 18 points, making them the best.

The Home Office says it does not add up marks in this way.

Ministers say it is "erroneous" to compile a national league table from the statistics, which compare forces with other similar forces and not as a national group.

'Tight' times

Home Office Minister Tony McNulty warned that police forces were facing financially "tight" times as the government prepared to publish its Comprehensive Spending Review.

"We are now entering a more flat-line period in terms of resources after seven or eight years of growth," said the minister.

The minister added: "The notion that this is still an inefficient public service is wrong."

Overall the "league table" is as follows:

  • One point: Bedfordshire
  • Seven points: Greater Manchester, Humberside, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Thames Valley
  • Eight points: Derbyshire, Gwent, South Wales, Wiltshire
  • Nine points: Devon and Cornwall
  • 10 points: Avon and Somerset, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cleveland, Durham, Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire
  • 11 points: Essex, Gloucestershire, Kent
  • 12 points: City of London, Dorset, Merseyside, North Wales, Sussex
  • 13 points: Metropolitan, North Yorkshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands
  • 14 points: Norfolk, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire
  • 15 points: Dyfed Powys, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Leicestershire, Suffolk, West Mercia
  • 16 points: Cumbria, Northumbria
  • 18 points: Lancashire, Surrey


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