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Cleveland 2015

Read more about Cleveland 2015

This is HMIC’s second assessment of the effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy with which Cleveland Police keeps people safe and reduces crime. PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) gives you information about how your local police force is performing in several important areas. It does this in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year-on-year.

The extent to which Cleveland Police is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime requires improvement.

The extent to which Cleveland Police is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime requires improvement.

The extent to which Cleveland Police is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime requires improvement.

This year, for the first time, we have assessed the leadership across the force at every level. The assessment has led to a narrative rather than graded judgment, which is summarised below.

Read more about my assessment of Cleveland Police’s performance this year, including where I would like to see improvements next year.


Michael Cunningham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary

Read the transcript of the video

Contact Michael Cunningham

HMI’s observations

In its PEEL inspections this year, HMIC found some areas of serious concern in the performance of Cleveland Police in keeping people safe and reducing crime. I am pleased that the force has moved to address concerns identified in previous HMIC reports, but further improvement on the issues HMIC has raised in more recent reports is now required.

I have some serious concerns about the performance of Cleveland Police in keeping people safe and reducing crime, and how prepared it is to meet future financial challenges.

I am particularly concerned by the force’s approach to protecting some of the most vulnerable people. HMIC found inconsistencies in the identification of vulnerable victims at the first point of contact with the police. We also found that the force does not respond to all incidents within the required timescale. However, I am encouraged to see the improved quality of the force’s crime investigations; and the force works well to identify and disrupt organised criminality.

I am not satisfied that the force’s financial plans will enable it to meet forthcoming pressures. The force also has more to do to match its workforce model to its demand so that the public receives the best possible service. I am pleased, however, that the force is exploring options for maximising funding opportunities and working collaboratively with other forces in the region, and this will go some way to bridge the budgetary shortfall beyond 2016.

While we found an ethical culture in Cleveland, the force needs to provide greater support to its staff and officers and enhance the wellbeing of the whole workforce.

Description of force area

Cleveland Police provides policing services to the areas of Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Hartlepool and Redcar and Cleveland. Although there are some areas of affluence, Cleveland is generally poor. Around 0.6 million people mainly live in the urban centres which include Middlesbrough, Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees. The resident population is increased by university students and the large numbers who visit or travel through the area each year. The transport infrastructure includes sea ports.

The proportion of areas in Cleveland that are predicted to present a very high challenge to the police is higher than the national average. These are characterised by social deprivation or a concentration of commercial premises (including licensed premises), and in some cases both.

Working arrangements

Cleveland Police has outsourced a number of support service responsibilities to private providers. This has included the force contact centre provided by Sopra Steria, which assesses and prioritises calls for service.

The force is continuing to develop collaborative arrangements with other forces. A joint special operations unit with Durham Constabulary provides police dog, traffic services and firearms support. The force is also exploring opportunities to collaborate on the investigation of serious, specialist and complex crimes with both Durham Constabulary and North Yorkshire Police. Further exploratory work with Durham Constabulary and Northumbria Police continues over the provision of public order training.

The deputy chief constable has recently been appointed to the position of temporary chief constable. This has triggered a number of further temporary promotions within the command team.

Effectiveness

In our effectiveness inspection, we judged Cleveland Police to require improvement in the way in which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force investigates crime and manages offenders effectively. The force works very well to tackle serious and organised crime. Although Cleveland Police understands the importance of protecting vulnerable people, there is improvement needed in the way it initially identifies and responds to vulnerable people. How it prevents crime and anti-social behaviour also requires improvement. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so a year-on-year comparison is not possible.

Efficiency

Cleveland Police is partly prepared to face its future financial challenges. It has balanced the budget and has a good track record of achieving savings, although future plans beyond 2016 are projecting a budget deficit. The force needs to improve its understanding of the demand on its services and will need to change its processes and workforce allocation significantly to meet demand and address this deficit. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the previous spending review period, Cleveland was judged to be good.

Legitimacy

Cleveland Police has an ethical culture, and the workforce know the standard of behaviour that is expected of them. During our spring inspection, the force was integrating the Code of Ethics into its policy and practice – our later inspection recognised improvements. We found that the force had started to respond to concerns raised by its workforce about their wellbeing.

Cleveland Police fully understands the relationship between engagement and legitimacy at both a strategic and local level, and we are impressed by the commitment of officers to engaging and working closely with their local communities.

I am satisfied that Cleveland Police is complying with almost all the features of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, and that Taser is used fairly and appropriately.

This is the first time HMIC has graded forces on their legitimacy, so no year-on-year comparison is possible.

Leadership

The workforce of Cleveland Police has high regard for chief officers, whom they view as credible, visible and approachable. The force is improving its communications and the engagement with its workforce.

The force has developed some effective leadership programmes, although these could be improved by covering a broader range of skills.

Insights from other inspections

HMIC undertakes other inspections in addition to the PEEL programme. Since the last PEEL assessment there have been five reports published on inspections that included Cleveland Police. More detail on some of these inspections can be found under the Other inspections section.

Looking ahead to PEEL 2016

In the year ahead, I will be interested to see how the force responds to this assessment, along with the cause of concern and areas for improvement that HMIC has identified in the last year.

I will be particularly interested to see:

  • how the new senior leadership team leads improvements across the force;
  • how the force develops its ability to understand and manage its demand, such that priority is given to responding quickly and appropriately to the most vulnerable victims, and officers have time to spend on crime prevention;
  • the progress of the force’s organisational reviews to ensure the workforce model matches the service demands in priority areas;
  • the outcome of work to explore options for maximising funding opportunities and working collaboratively with other forces such that, in combination with the organisational reviews, the force achieves the further savings required; and
  • improvements to the wellbeing and morale of the workforce.

In May 2016, like the majority of forces in England and Wales, the force will see the second elections for its police and crime commissioner.

Effectiveness

How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 18/02/2016
Requires improvement

Overall, Cleveland Police requires improvement in the way it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force investigates crime and manages offenders effectively. The force works very well to tackle serious and organised crime. Cleveland Police protects vulnerable people well but the ways in which it initially identifies and responds to vulnerable people requires improvement. How it prevents crime and anti-social behaviour also requires improvement. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so a year-on-year comparison is not possible.

Cleveland Police is committed to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. The chief constable and the police and crime commissioner have made a commitment to retain a neighbourhood presence for the future, for those victims and communities that need it most.

Historically, the force has experienced high levels of anti-social behaviour incidents. The force recognises its position amongst other forces and the impact of the renewed focus on the quality and compliance of crime recording.

The force’s ability to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour is limited, but, when crimes occur, it investigates them well and provides support to victims.

The force uses appropriately trained officers and staff and approved practice when investigating crime, gathering evidence and building cases to ensure offenders are brought to justice. However, there is room for improvement as some, more serious, crimes are being dealt with by frontline officers.

Our assessment of how Cleveland Police deals with vulnerable victims found some good work such as effective protection for domestic abuse victims. But we also found that the initial identification of vulnerable victims and the initial response is not always as robust and timely as it could be. The force works well with partners to safeguard vulnerable victims, although arrangements could be enhanced through a multi-agency safeguarding hub arrangement.

The force has a good understanding of the threat and risk posed to the communities of Cleveland by serious and organised crime. It has well established processes to identify and disrupt the activities of organised crime groups, and works well with partner organisations to prevent re-offending.

Cleveland Police has effective arrangements in place to ensure that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities. It is collaborating with other forces and organisations to enhance its capacity to respond to national threats in the future.

 

View the four questions for effectiveness

Efficiency

How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 20/10/2015
Requires improvement

HMIC found that Cleveland Police is partly prepared to face its future financial challenges. It has balanced the budget and has a good track record of achieving savings, although future plans beyond 2016 are projecting a budget deficit. The force needs to improve its understanding of the demand on its services and will need to change its processes and workforce allocation significantly to meet demand and address this deficit. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the first spending review period, Cleveland was judged to be good.

HMIC judges Cleveland Police to require improvement. The force has been required to cut its spending by 21 percent since 2010, which is higher than the England and Wales average of 18 percent. It has successfully achieved the savings needed to date, cutting its police officer strength by 23 percent and outsourcing its back office support functions to a private sector provider, including its call handling and systems for deploying police officers.

The force has some knowledge of the demand on its services but requires a better understanding of this to allow it to match its resources to demand more efficiently. Cleveland Police responds to higher levels of incidents as emergency and priority than other forces. While it responds well to emergency calls for service and endeavours to respond to all crimes, this is stretching the force’s resources. As a result there is little capacity to undertake proactive policing work in order to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

There has been limited change to the workforce model since the force restructure in 2013. Since then the volume and type of demand on its services has changed and the number of police officers has continued to fall in order to make the savings needed.

The force is now facing further financial cuts and HMIC is concerned that the force does not yet have any detailed plans in place to balance its budget after April 2016. It predicts a cumulative deficit of £11m by 2018/19. The force is exploring options to increase income and maximise funding opportunities, but the scale of further savings required is considerable and the scope in which to find those savings is limited, partly as a result of a long-term outsourcing contract with a private sector provider. The force will need to consider significant changes in the way the force delivers policing to the public.

 

View the three questions for efficiency

Legitimacy

How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 11/02/2016
Requires improvement

HMIC found that Cleveland has an ethical culture, and staff know the standard of behaviour that is expected of them. At the time of inspection the force was integrating the Code of Ethics into policy and practice and our later inspection recognised the improvements made. We found that the force has started to respond to the concerns raised by staff of low morale, not feeling valued, and their overall wellbeing.

Cleveland Police fully understands the relationship between engagement and legitimacy at both a strategic and local level, and we are impressed by the commitment of officers to engaging and working closely with their local communities.

HMIC is concerned that a large percentage of the stop and search forms we assessed did not contain sufficient reasonable grounds to demonstrate the appropriate and lawful use. However, we recognise the force has made considerable improvements to its processes since our inspection.

However, HMIC is satisfied that Cleveland Police is complying with almost all the features of the Best Use of Stop Search scheme, and that Taser is used fairly and appropriately.

This is the first time HMIC has graded forces on their legitimacy, so no year-on-year comparison is possible.

HMIC found that Cleveland has an ethical culture, and staff know the standard of behaviour that is expected of them. The force has governance structures in place to support ethical decision-making, and ensure fairness and consistency. Recruitment processes are seen as fair, free from bias and discrimination, though concerns were expressed about selection for temporary promotion.

Processes for dealing with complaints and misconduct are fair and free from bias.

When HMIC looked at how well the force understands and engages with all the people it serves, we found Cleveland Police fully understands the relationship between engagement and legitimacy at both a strategic and local level. We are impressed by the commitment of officers in Cleveland to engage and work closely with their communities. Officers and staff understand the importance of treating people with fairness and respect and how this links to improved public confidence.

The force effectively engages with the public through conventional surveys, face-to-face meetings, digital technology and social media, and it is keen to retain this balanced approach. It could improve the participation of local people in policing activities, in particular the use of volunteers, and this is something the force recognises.

Stop and search and Taser are two ways that the police can prevent crime and protect the public. However, they can be intrusive and forceful methods, and it is therefore vital that the police use them fairly and appropriately. HMIC is concerned that a large proportion of the stop and search forms we assessed do not contain sufficient reasonable grounds to demonstrate the appropriate and lawful use of this power. We recognise that the force has since made considerable improvements to its stop and search processes. HMIC is satisfied that Cleveland Police is complying with the Best Use of Stop Search scheme, apart from the need to publish certain data. We are also satisfied that Taser is used fairly and appropriately.

View the four questions for legitimacy

Other inspections

How well has the force performed in our other inspections?

In addition to the three core PEEL pillars, HMIC carries out inspections of a wide range of policing activity throughout the year. Some of these are conducted alongside the PEEL inspections (for instance, our 2016 leadership assessment); others are joint inspections.

Findings from these inspections are published separately to the main PEEL reports, but are taken into account when producing the rounded assessment of each force's performance.

Leadership

Last updated 25/02/2016

As part of HMIC’s annual all-force inspections into police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy (PEEL) in 2015, HMIC assessed how well led forces are at every rank and grade of the organisation and across all areas inspected in PEEL. We reviewed how well a force understands and is developing its leaders; whether it has set a clear and compelling future direction; and how well it motivates and engages the workforce.

Cleveland Police has clear expectations of leaders across the force, and staff have high regard for chief officers, whom they view as credible, visible and approachable. However, not all staff understand the force’s expectations of them. The force has developed some effective leadership programmes, though these focus on traditional indicators, and do not develop some core leadership skills. The force listens to its workforce through surveys, and is improving its wider communications and engagement.

View the four questions for leadership

Other reports

Last updated 22/02/2016

This section sets out the reports published by HMIC this year that help to better understand the performance of Cleveland Police.

View other reports

Key facts

Force Area

230 square miles

Population

0.56m people 1% local 10 yr change

Workforce

84% frontline 78% national level
2.9 per 1000 population 3.6 national level
37% change in local workforce since 2010 15% national change since 2010

Victim-based crimes

0.07 per person 0.05 national level
Local 5 year trend (no change) National 5 year trend (no change)

Cost

63p per person per day local 55p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

Cleveland is a geographically small force with a mix of densely populated areas with high levels of deprivation and some more affluent or rural areas.

The force has a robust approach to understand the threat and risk to its communities. This is used to define local policing and resource allocation.

Police and crime plan priorities

  1. Retain and Develop Neighbourhood Policing
  2. A better deal for victims and witnesses
  3. Divert people from offending, focus on rehabilitation and the prevention of re-offending
  4. Develop better coordination, communication and partnership between agencies to make the best use of resources
  5. Better industrial and community relations