CHESHIRE Constabulary has been rated 'good' for keeping people safe and reducing crime, according to a police watchdog.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) looked at whether Cheshire Police understands demand, how it uses its resources, and how well it plans for the future.

In its latest efficiency report released on Thursday, the force was highly praised for innovation in predicting likely future demand, sound budgeting and its excellent collaboration with other police forces and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.

HMIC said the force had been swift in realising the tangible benefits of new ways of working from its collaboration with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Ch Const Janette McCormick said: “Collaboration has played a part in our effort to tackle demand and financial challenges with projects currently ongoing with other forces and of course our merge with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.

“This clearly shows we are doing everything possible to make us fit-for-purpose as we continue to face incredibly challenging budget cuts.”

The HMIC efficiency report highlighted that Cheshire Police has a good understanding of demand, using a strategic threat and risk assessment to examine crime types and trends and predicted growth.

HMIC also found the force’s approach to planning for the future outstanding.

Ch Const McCormick said: “As well as analysing where crime is taking us in the future, how it will affect us and how we manage it, we also showed we have a greater understanding of hidden crime, the crime committed behind closed doors such as modern day slavery.

“We have achieved this through raising awareness and understanding among staff and officers, and by sharing of information with other agencies such as social services and trading standards.”

The report comes after the HMIC rated Cheshire Police’s crime recording processes as ‘inadequate’ in June.

Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane said: “Independent reviews like this are essential to our evolution as a Constabulary, and ongoing improvement is a continuous process for us all. It’s a commitment we have to make to the people of Cheshire.

"Despite the changing landscape and resource pressures we’re facing, the Constabulary is continuing to perform incredibly well.

"I’m pleased that we’ve received plaudits for the way we, as a team, are prioritising keeping people safe and reducing crime.

"It’s also pleasing to get the recognition for the Constabulary’s efforts to innovate and create better ways to understand demand and how we use our resources.

“This is a tremendous achievement when you consider that the Constabulary and its fantastic team of officers and staff have managed to attain largely good or excellent feedback against a back drop of severe budget cuts since 2010, some £57million.

"We have to fight hard to retain this achievement and retain the quality of our frontline services across the county. With potential further budget cuts on the horizon, we need to avoid the thin blue line being stretched too far.

"It will mean the Constabulary faces some difficult decisions around how it will police the county in the coming years and that’s something we’ll be talking a lot more about in the next few weeks before the Government’s policing budget settlement in the coming weeks."

CC McCormick said: “We are continuing to make investments and savings for the future by managing our estate, through collaboration, and by reviewing our IT processes and operating systems to improve public contact, identify demand and improve officer deployment so that we are as future proof as we can be in these challenging times.

"We still have more to do in the coming years and face some real challenges ahead.”