More than 60 organised criminal gangs under investigation in Hampshire

More than half of the 62 criminal gangs targeted by Hampshire police are involved in drugs
More than half of the 62 criminal gangs targeted by Hampshire police are involved in drugs
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MORE than 60 organised criminal gangs are being monitored, a report into the county’s police has revealed.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary looked at the effectiveness of Hampshire police last year.

constabulary recognises that it has a limited understanding about the scale and impact of organised criminal activity within minority ethnic and hard to reach local communities

HMIC report

In the report, published today, it said 62 organised criminal gangs were being investigated in June last year.

Of those, just over half were involved in drugs.

A new scheme also plans to map gangs with the help of local authorities and other partners, the report said.

It added: ‘The constabulary recognises that it has a limited understanding about the scale and impact of organised criminal activity within minority ethnic and hard-to-reach local communities.’

In 2014, HMIC said the force was ‘limited in its effectiveness’ in managing work against criminal gangs but this has now improved.

It added that the force had a shortfall in ‘analytical capability’ but that will be addressed with nine new staff.

Between June and September last year, 21 gangs were ‘disrupted’ with nine being targeted several times.

The report revealed that criminals had tried to ingratiate themselves with police.

All officers in the unit are vetted and are under close scrutiny.

The report praised investigators working at the force.

Inspectors looked at the force’s approach to preventing and investigating crime and anti-social behaviour, tackling organised crime, managing offenders and protecting the vulnerable.

The report praised how the force was putting most of its investigation resources in its phone resolution centre.

Overall the force was rated as ‘good’ by HMIC.

HMI Zoe Billingham said: ‘I am very pleased that the force has a strong focus on providing a good service to victims through an established commitment to neighbourhood policing.

‘Hampshire Constabulary works very well with partners, like local councils, and has an excellent understanding of local concerns and priorities.’

The only area in which the force was rated as requiring improvement was in protecting vulnerable victims from harm.

It said there were ‘significant risk’ to some victims of domestic abuse as they were assessed on the phone.

This was highlighted in a previous report last year.

Inspectors said a surge in recorded crime meant officers were doing higher than anticipated workloads, with the force trying to drive this down.

And HMIC criticised the force as supervisors rarely review progress on less serious crimes despite setting initial investigation plans.