Dorset PEEL 2014
How well the force tackles crime
Dorset Police is good at reducing crime and preventing offending. The force requires improvement in investigating crime. It is good at tackling anti-social behaviour.
Dorset Police has achieved relatively large reductions in crime and in particular, victim-based crime. The force works well with partners to prevent crime and reduce offending. HMIC found that the force has a strong focus on the needs of victims and increasing public satisfaction with the services it provides. The force is committed to delivering neighbourhood policing and has made reducing anti-social behaviour a strategic priority. Investigations are generally carried out to a good standard. The force has used investigative resources effectively by re-aligning staff to where they are needed most, and by creating specialist teams to deal with emerging threats. It has invested in an evidence-based policing approach in order to understand what works in practice. It evaluates new ideas effectively.
The force operates a good threat, risk and harm assessment process linked to effective force and local level tasking arrangements that holds local commanders to account for performance. However, there is a backlog of cases in the Safeguarding Referral Unit. This means that potentially vulnerable victims have either been waiting an unacceptable time for services, or have been missed altogether.
The force works well with partners and has achieved particular success in joint actions to dismantle and disrupt organised crime groups.
Further insights on effectiveness
The domestic abuse inspection found that the public in Dorset could have confidence that, generally, the police provided a good service to victims of domestic abuse and helped keep them safe. The force had a well-developed and effective response to high-risk victims of domestic abuse, and staff worked well with partners.
The crime inspection found that the force had a strong focus on tackling and dismantling organised crime groups. The force has been able to redeploy investigative resources to target the emerging threats of cyber-crime and child sexual exploitation by setting up separate cyber-crime and police on line investigation teams.
How effective is the force at reducing crime and preventing offending?
Dorset Police has structures and processes that ensure its resources match threat, risk and harm. The force has reduced crime by seven percent in the past year and victim-based crime also by seven percent.
Dorset has a victim-focused approach and is continuing to review processes to identify further opportunities to improve its service.
Dorset has strong working relationships with partners. These help the force to tackle effectively crime types ranging from seasonal theft from vehicle and sexual offences to organised crime.
How effective is the force at investigating offending?
The crime inspection found that staff had a good awareness of what might constitute a vulnerable victim and the importance of providing appropriate support. There were robust processes for initial assessment and safeguards in place to check some of these assessments. However, there were two significant weaknesses identified in terms of the narrow definition of vulnerability and the backlog of cases in the safeguarding referral unit, meaning potentially vulnerable victims were either waiting an unacceptable time for services or were missed altogether.
Dorset Police generally carries out investigations to a good standard and have made effective use of existing resources to focus on emerging threats.
Dorset has made a significant investment in evidence-based policing in order to understand what works. The force can then evaluate its activity to improve its services to victims and prevent crime.
How effective is the force at tackling anti-social behaviour?
The crime inspection found that reducing anti-social behaviour is a priority for Dorset Police. It is underpinned by the presence of dedicated safer neighbourhood teams who are committed to working with the community on what local people consider important.
Dorset has strong working relationships with partners to reduce anti-social behaviour, and the force is working closely with them to understand and use the new legislative powers.
Dorset continuously seeks to improve its handling of anti-social behaviour to achieve good outcomes for victims. The force makes extensive use of restorative justice in cases involving young people, and it is considering how to extend this approach to adult offenders.
How effective is the force at protecting those at greatest risk of harm?
The domestic abuse inspection found that the public in Dorset could have confidence that, generally, the police provided a good service to victims of domestic abuse and helped keep them safe. Domestic abuse is a clear priority for the force, and this is understood by staff at all levels. The force had a well-developed and effective response to high-risk victims of domestic abuse and staff worked well with partners.
The crime inspection found evidence that Dorset Police had undertaken a domestic abuse victim satisfaction survey in Poole and Bournemouth; the survey looked at the quality of the police response to reported incidents. The inspection also reviewed Dorset’s domestic abuse action plan and found the plan submitted followed the national action plan template outlining a broad range of actions in line with the agreed national priorities for forces to improve their response to domestic abuse. The plan did contain references to the HMIC force recommendations; however, it did not include clear evidence of activity in those areas where the force itself felt it had further work to do.
How effective is the force at tackling serious, organised and complex crime?
There was no Strategic Policing Requirement inspection for this force.