Gloucestershire PEEL 2014
Does the force act with integrity and provide a service the public expects?
Gloucestershire Constabulary has made some progress in the areas for improvement identified by HMIC in 2012. There is clear and active leadership from the chief officer team to reinforce integrity and embed the Code of Ethics. However, more is required to develop the understanding of relevant policies among the workforce. Staff are confident to report wrongdoing and the force responds in an effective and timely manner. However, the level of resources available to conduct proactive anti-corruption activity needs to be reviewed.
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 which 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 who were satisfied with their experience was less than the figure across England and Wales.
The crime data integrity inspection found that a centralised quality assurance team reviewed every crime to establish if the victim code had been applied. A reinspection of Gloucestershire Constabulary’s approach to tackling domestic abuse found that the identification of victims, particularly vulnerable and repeat victims, had improved and there was a greater understanding of the need to safeguard victims. The force had introduced a detailed guide that clarified definitions around repeat and vulnerable people; supported by a comprehensive training programme.
As a result of the crime data integrity inspection, HMIC is concerned that a notable proportion of reports of crime are not being recorded, and this means that victims of crime are not receiving the service they should when they first report a crime. HMIC is also concerned with the accuracy of the decisions taken by the force when making no-crime decisions (cancelling a recorded crime) as too many of these 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.
To what extent does the force ensure that the workforce acts with integrity?
Clear messages emphasising professional behaviour and integrity are provided to members of the force, and there is frequent dialogue between leaders and the workforce. There is a clear plan to embed the Code of Ethics through the Code of Ethics Board chaired by the assistant chief constable. The Code is also reflected in personal development objectives assigned to all staff. Members of the force are aware of the focus on integrity; however, some are uncertain about relevant force policies, including the recording of gifts and hospitality.
There are a number of methods available to staff to report wrongdoing confidentially, although some staff are concerned about the level of support they may be offered if they make such a report. The force responds to such reports in an effective and timely manner. The professional standards department requires more staff to increase the capacity for proactive work, such as monitoring and investigating the misuse of force information systems. Work is also required to ensure the force is able to identify proactively, investigate and deter corrupt behaviour. This should include effective vetting of staff who apply for promotion, cross-referencing of records and information (including procurement processes) and the identification and monitoring of staff who may be vulnerable to corruption.
What are the public perceptions of the force?
HMIC considers that there are two sources of data that give an insight into the public’s perceptions of their police force: the Crime Survey for England and Wales, and the Victim Satisfaction Survey.
The data for Gloucestershire Constabulary show that:
Crime Survey for England and Wales (12 months to March 2013)
- 61 percent of adults surveyed think that the police do an excellent/good job, which is broadly in line with the figure across England and Wales of 61 percent.
- 59 percent of adults surveyed agree that the police deal with local concerns, which is broadly in line with the England and Wales proportion of 60 percent.
Victim Satisfaction Survey (12 months to June 2014)
- 82.3 percent (± 1.7 percent) of victims were satisfied with their experience which is less than the figure across England and Wales of 85.0 percent (± 0.2 percent).
To what extent does the force respond to calls for service appropriately?
The value for money inspection found the force had set a clear performance standard for response times, and this had remained the same since 2010. The inspection found that during this time, the proportion of calls attended within these standards for ’emergency’ calls had declined, but had improved for ‘priority’ calls.
The crime data integrity inspection found that a centralised quality assurance team reviewed every crime to establish if the victim code had been applied. This included ensuring victims had been informed of the disposal of the crime. However, the inspection found victims were not always informed of outcomes.
A revisit of Gloucestershire Constabulary’s approach to tackling domestic abuse found that the identification of victims, particularly vulnerable and repeat victims, had improved and there was a greater understanding of the need to safeguard victims, most noticeably in frontline officers and staff who provide the initial response to victims of domestic abuse. The force had introduced a detailed guide that clarified definitions around repeat and vulnerable people. This was supported by a comprehensive training programme.
To what extent are the data and information provided by the force of a high quality?
The crime data integrity inspection examined 110 incident records and found that 85 crimes should have been recorded. Of the 85 crimes that should have been recorded, 76 were. Of these 76 crimes, seven were wrongly classified and three were recorded outside the 72-hour limit allowed under the Home Office Counting Rules (HOCR). This indicated a need for improvement in the accuracy and timeliness of crime-recording decisions.
The inspection also reviewed 53 no-crime records and found 46 records to be compliant with the HOCR and the National Crime Recording Standard. There was limited recorded evidence of victims being informed or updated of the final no-crime disposal; in 8 out of the 13 rape no-crimes HMIC reviewed, there was no record that the victim had been informed of the police decision.