City of London PEEL 2014Read more about City of London
This is the first PEEL Assessment of the City of London Police. In making this assessment I have used my professional judgment to consider the evidence available from inspections undertaken in the past 12 months. The available evidence indicates that:
in terms of its effectiveness, in general, the force is good at reducing crime and preventing offending, good at investigating offending and good at tackling anti-social behaviour;
the efficiency with which the force carries out its responsibilities is good; and
the force is acting to achieve fairness and legitimacy in most of the practices that were examined this year.
In making this first PEEL Assessment of the City of London Police I have taken into account the challenges of policing the City of London.
At just over one square mile, the City of London represents the smallest territorial force area in the country. However, its historic, cultural and national economic importance brings with it unique challenges. Unlike other forces, the City of London Police does not have a police and crime commissioner; instead it is held to account by a police committee of democratically elected members of the Court of Common Council and two independent members. The force balances national obligations (it leads on the country’s response to economic crime) with local concerns, resulting in a broad range of policing priorities, from counter-terrorism and public order to road safety and tackling anti-social behaviour.
I have been impressed that the City of London Police places victims at the centre of all it does and has made good progress to ensure that the most vulnerable are protected; this includes working with partners to safeguard vulnerable victims. Victim satisfaction with policing services is higher in the City of London than the England and Wales level. The force works well with partners to prevent crime and reduce repeat offending. Neighbourhood policing remains at the heart of the force’s approach and community policing teams understand their local community concerns and priorities.
I have also been impressed that the force continues to provide effective policing to the City of London and is building resources to meet its important national role in tackling economic crime.
The force’s approach to crime-recording is good, with a high degree of accuracy. However, there is a need for improvement in the timeliness of crime-recording decisions.
I do have concerns about our finding that domestic abuse, stalking and harassment, and honour-based violence (DASH) risk assessment forms could not easily be researched, as these were recorded on paper, meaning that officers may have attended incidents without being aware of previous cases involving the same victim or perpetrator.
Our intention is to examine leadership specifically as part of future PEEL Assessments, once criteria have been established. This will allow us to take account of the College of Policing review of leadership that is currently underway.
In common with other forces, there is a need to develop a better understanding of the changing demands for police services.
I am interested to see how the force responds to the areas HMIC has identified for improvement over the next 12 months. In particular, the force has started the second phase of its change programme, ‘City Futures’, which is designed to reduce costs further while improving services.
How well the force tackles crime
The City of London Police is good at reducing crime and preventing offending. The force is good at investigating offending. It is good at tackling anti-social behaviour.
The City of London Police has seen reductions in crime and anti-social behaviour over the last four years. The force is unique in size and geography, and therefore has much lower numbers of crimes and incidents of anti-social behaviour reported. The force works well with partners to prevent crime and reduce repeat offending.
Force leaders set and drive clear strategic priorities to reduce crime and prevent repeat offending. Furthermore, the force is good at placing victims at the centre of all it does; this includes working with partners to safeguard vulnerable victims.
HMIC found evidence that the force has made good progress to ensure that the most vulnerable are protected. Victim satisfaction with policing services is higher in the City of London than the England and Wales level.
Neighbourhood policing remains at the heart of the force’s approach, and community policing teams understand their local community concerns and priorities, and use a range of tactics to prevent and fight crime.
Anti-social behaviour is a force priority and there is good work taking place within the community police teams to tackle anti-social behaviour.
Further insights on effectiveness
The City of London is a unique police environment. The inspection on domestic abuse found that many of the domestic abuse incidents reported related to victims and offenders who resided outside the force area. The information that was recorded and passed to other policing organisations as part of any safeguarding plans was informative and of a high standard. The crime inspection found evidence that the City of London Police had made progress in improving its response to domestic abuse.
The crime inspection found that, as national lead force for fraud, the Economic Crime Directorate (ECD) provided the reporting mechanisms for fraud and online crime for all UK forces. The force adopted the same thorough assessment processes to identify those who were vulnerable or repeat victims of fraud. The ECD had a strong relationship with the National Crime Agency and used its specialist knowledge of economic crime to disrupt and dismantle organised crime groups.
The Strategic Policing Requirement Inspection found that the City of London Police had, or had access to through collaboration with other forces regionally, the necessary capability to tackle terrorism, civil emergency, serious organised crime and public disorder but not a large-scale cyber incident.
How well the force delivers value for money
The City of London Police has made good progress in managing the financial cuts. It continues to provide effective policing to the City of London and is building resources to meet its important national role in tackling economic crime. It faces some future risk in an uncertain financial landscape but is developing sound plans for coping with more austerity.
The City of London Police has plans in place to achieve all of the savings it needs over the spending review period; the long term holds some uncertainties. The plans for making future anticipated savings are not fully developed. The force has now started its second phase of the change programme, ‘City Futures’, which is designed to manage further funding reductions and future financial pressures as well as transforming services. In addition to providing policing to the City of London, the force also plays an important national role in co-ordinating the country’s response to economic crime and fraud. This national lead role has enabled it to develop specialist expertise and attract external funding for specific national economic crime-fighting initiatives and operations. Overall, the force understands its issues and is meeting its local and national commitments efficiently and effectively.
Despite a sizeable reduction in the number of police officers and PCSOs, crime in the City of London has continued to fall. The rate of detections and victim satisfaction are both high.
Does the force act with integrity and provide a service the public expects?
The City of London Police has made progress since the 2012 HMIC inspection. The commissioner and his chief officer team set high standards in terms of conduct and behaviour and other senior leaders understand their responsibilities to maintain and promote these standards throughout the force. HMIC found that unethical and unprofessional behaviour was appropriately challenged in the force and that officers are aware of their own individual responsibilities. The force actively and effectively identifies and manages threat, risk and harm from corruption. The force has recently initiated a mandatory e-learning training package on the Code of Ethics.
Further insights on legitimacy
The Crime Survey for England and Wales (12 months to March 2013) found that the proportion of respondents who think that the force does an excellent/good job was broadly in line with the figure across England and Wales. The same survey over the same period also found that the proportion that agrees that the force deals with local concerns was broadly in line with the figure for England and Wales. The force’s own victim satisfaction survey (12 months to June 2014) found that the proportion of victims that were satisfied with their experience was greater than the figure across England and Wales.
The domestic abuse inspection found that control room operators were very aware of the importance of identifying vulnerable and repeat victims; they were provided with computerised reminders which were used to good effect to assess the vulnerability of callers. However, HMIC was concerned that domestic abuse, stalking and harassment, and honour-based violence (DASH) risk assessments could not easily be researched as these were recorded on paper, meaning that officers may have attended incidents without being aware of previous cases involving the same victim or perpetrator.
The force has good crime-recording procedures in place when receiving reports of crime, meaning that victims receive the service they should when they first report a crime.
However, HMIC is concerned with the accuracy of the decisions taken by the force when making no-crime decisions (cancelling a recorded crime), too many of which are incorrect. The force needs to take action to improve, serve the victims of these crimes and provide the public with confidence in the force’s crime data.