AVON and Police bosses are refusing to rest on their laurels after praised was heaped on the "outstanding" force following an inspection.

The force was described as "ambitious and innovative" in its approach to be more efficient into the future in the report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary Fire and Rescue Services.

HM Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams said: "I am very pleased with the performance of Avon and Somerset Constabulary. The constabulary is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour.

"It is also good at investigating crime and tackling serious and organised crime. It identifies and responds well to incidents involving vulnerable people and works effectively with other agencies to protect them.

"The constabulary is ambitious in its planning for the future and wants to be at the forefront of innovative practice. I am very impressed with its use of technology to understand changing demand."

She added: "Senior leaders ensure that the workforce understands the importance of treating the public and each other with fairness and respect. The constabulary continues to uphold an ethical culture and promote the standards of professional behaviour it expects.

Communication with the public through Facebook and online forums and messaging is "innovative", while Avon and Somerset Police are "ambitious in their plans to transform the ways in which they use estate" and successfully identifies and nurtures talented staff.

Chief Constable Andy Marsh and Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens "have effective measures in place to talk to and work with the public".

The force was rated "good" at reducing crime, keeping people safe and how it treats the public and its own workforce.

Other highlights included:

*officers and staff have a good understanding of what makes a person vulnerable and are good at identifying vulnerable people at first contact;

*the risk posed by registered sex offenders is well managed;

*the constabulary works proactively with other organisations to uncover hidden harm and to protect vulnerable children and offers a robust response to burglary, knife crime and county lines criminality;

*information is shared with schools in domestic abuse cases;

*officers attend 86 percent of domestic abuse incidents as an emergency or priority call;

*the force is good at treating the public fairly;

*there was praise for the use of the communications team to reach communities that might not otherwise make contact.

DCC Sarah Crew said: "In our last inspection in 2017/18 we were given a good rating for the three categories. The fact that this year we have been upgraded to outstanding for our efficiency is welcome step in the right direction.

"It is recognition of the hard work and effort by all – officers and staff – in Avon and Somerset against difficult economic challenges and new crimes trends such as on-line and fraud offences.

"But we refuse to be complacent and see this as another stepping stone to our desire to become an outstanding force nationally."

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: "This report recognises the hard work, determination and effort of Avon and Somerset staff and officers.

"I hope local people can see that the constabulary continues to take steps in the right direction to offer the best police service for the communities it serves.

"Protecting the most vulnerable from harm is a priority in my Police and Crime Plan, so I am delighted that the report acknowledges the quality of the constabulary’s investigations, in particular those involving vulnerable children and adults.

"However, it’s important that we remember that there is always more work to be done."

Avon and Somerset Police Federation chairman Insp Andy Roebuck said: "This is an impressive report which highlights the hard work and dedication of so many police officers and police staff who have been committed to their policing of Avon and Somerset.

"Against the background of some of the most severe cuts to policing, the officers and staff have provided some outstanding work in protecting so many communities – that is impressive.

“The new investment into policing, which will mean more police officers, police staff and increased use of technology will bring new demands and the ability to really tackle those offences and offenders that hurt our communities."