Inspectorate finds Belfast Harbour Police working to improve policing standards

Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (CJI) has published its first inspection report on Belfast Harbour Police.

The inspection was carried out as Belfast Harbour Police (BHP) was going through a period of significant change aimed at enhancing the policing service provided by the organisation.
“BHP’s objective is to provide an excellent standard of service in line with the recommendations made following a strategic review of policing arrangements commissioned by Belfast Harbour Commissioners in 2006,” said Brendan McGuigan, Deputy Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland.
“Inspectors commend the organisation for the work currently on-going to develop the existing policing arrangements, and the efforts made to date to recruit new staff including a Chief Officer of Police, who have the skills needed to take BHP forward. 
“CJI would support BHP’s long-term aim to develop a more ‘community orientated’ style of policing within the harbour estate,” he said, “ and Inspectors have indicated in this report, a number of steps that will enable the organisation to succeed in achieving this aspiration.”
Inspectors found the most crucial partnership BHP has is with the PSNI, as this partnership has a major impact on the performance of the organisation in preventing and detecting crime.
“At the time of this inspection, CJI found that an overall, agreed protocol did not exist between the two organisations. While at an operational level, relationships between officers from the two police services were good, Inspectors felt the development of an agreed, wide-ranging protocol should be taken forward as a matter of urgency,” said Mr McGuigan.
“The formation of such a protocol would help address issues such as establishing methods of direct radio contact between PSNI and BHP officers engaged in joint operations, and between the PSNI and the Belfast Harbour Police Operations Centre,” he said.
The Inspectorate found that in the past incident and crime recording within BHP had not been as robust as it could have been, but that this issue had already been identified as an area for improvement and investment by BHP.
 “We have recommended that BHP should work towards implementing standardised incident reporting and crime recording to enable the organisation to deliver effective policing services, based on the analysis of accurate data,” added Mr McGuigan.
Due to the level of change currently ongoing within BHP, the Inspectorate intends to revisit the organisation in 2009 to assess progress against the recommendations made.