How many police forces are rated good or outstanding?

3rd Mar 2017


Two thirds of police forces are rated good or outstanding.


This is correct based on HMIC’s most recent report on police effectiveness. Of the 43 police forces in England and Wales one was found to be outstanding and 28 were good in 2016. That’s just over two thirds.

“Two thirds of police forces were rated good and outstanding, and the reason the Inspectorate gave for the good and outstanding police forces was they did focus more on neighbourhood policing.”

Liz Truss, 2 March 2017

It’s correct that just over two thirds of police forces in England and Wales were rated good or outstanding overall for effectiveness in 2016. These ratings are given by the police watchdog HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) in its most recent report.

Good or outstanding?

Having said that, only one of the 43 forces rated, Durham, was given an ‘outstanding’ rating for effectiveness. The other 28 Ms Truss is talking about were rated ‘good’.

There were also 13 forces rated as ‘requires improvement’ and one that was rated ‘inadequate’, Bedfordshire.

As well as ratings for their effectiveness, police forces are also rated on their efficiency and legitimacy over the course of the year. More forces were rated as good or outstanding overall in these elements in 2016 than for effectiveness.

What did HMIC say about neighbourhood policing?

The most recent HMIC assessment of police forces’ effectiveness focused on four key questions for each. The first of these questions looked at how good the force was at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. HMIC told us that neighbourhood policing was mostly, but not entirely, covered by this question.

Other questions looked at how good police were at investigating crime, protecting the vulnerable and tackling serious and organised crime. The ratings each force got for these four individual elements all fed into the overall rating they received. HMIC told us that some elements of neighbourhood policing might also be found in these areas.

On the question of crime prevention 32 forces, or almost three quarters, were rated good (30 forces) or outstanding (two), but that was a deterioration on the previous year’s results. HMIC found “evidence that the service is suffering from the reduction in neighbourhood-based teams. This is a consequence of forces giving priority to addressing vulnerability and risk and on occasion broader budget reductions”.

Across all police forces, HMIC highlighted neighbourhood policing as one of its areas of concern. It said it “found that neighbourhood policing continues to be eroded. The police service is no longer consistently implementing elements of neighbourhood policing known to be effective in preventing and tackling traditional crime and has not yet applied these to 21st century threats (online crime and so-called hidden and complex crimes)”.

It also recommended that there should be national guidelines on what makes for effective neighbourhood policing which all forces should check their performance against.

This fact check is part of a roundup of BBC Question Time, factchecked. Read the roundup.