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Merseyside 2015

Read more about Merseyside 2015

This is HMIC’s second assessment of the effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy with which Merseyside 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 Merseyside Police is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.

The extent to which Merseyside Police is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.

The extent to which Merseyside Police is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.

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

Read more about my assessment of Merseyside 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

I am very pleased with the performance of Merseyside Police in keeping people safe and reducing crime.

The force has strong arrangements in place with its partner agencies and it uses these to outstanding effect to tackle all aspects of organised crime. It responds well to vulnerable victims, regarding those most vulnerable as a priority and giving them good support, particularly missing children. The force investigates crime well, and it recognises the impact of anti-social behaviour and the consequences should it go unchecked.

I am reassured that Merseyside Police is well prepared to face its future financial challenges, having successfully reduced its spending over the last spending review period. There is a clearly articulated and well understood view of the short term priorities for the force and the resources and skills required to achieve them. The force’s change programme is ensuring workforce plans are closely aligned with demand and future organisational and financial requirements. I would, however, like to see a more detailed analysis of how the savings achieved during the latest programme of change will influence the budgetary planning beyond 2017.

I am impressed by the strong, visible and knowledgeable leadership demonstrated within the organisation, which could be further improved by more work to understand better and respond to the views of the workforce. The force engages well with the communities of Merseyside, using a variety of methods.

Description of force area

Merseyside Police provides policing services to the metropolitan area of Merseyside. Although there are some more affluent areas, Merseyside has a high level of poverty. Around 1.4 million people live in a predominantly urban setting. The force covers the conurbation that includes the city of Liverpool and surrounding towns. The resident population is increased by very large number of university students and the large numbers who visit, socialise in, commute into, or travel through the area each year. The transport infrastructure includes major rail stations, an airport and a major sea port.

The proportion of areas in Merseyside 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

Merseyside Police has collaborative working arrangements with all the other north west forces through the Regional Organised Crime Unit. It is exploring further opportunities to expand beyond the current arrangements, which focuses on serious and organised crime. The force is also finalising an agreement with Cheshire Constabulary and North Wales Police to provide forensic services.

Mental health triage services are provided in collaboration with the Mersey Care NHS Trust.

Effectiveness

In our effectiveness inspection, we judged Merseyside Police to be good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. It works well with other organisations to keep people safe, including the most vulnerable, by preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. The quality of crime investigation is good and the force works well to stop re-offending. It is outstanding in its tackling of organised crime groups, and has the necessary arrangements to enable it to fulfil its national policing responsibilities. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so comparison of their year-on-year effectiveness is not possible.

Efficiency

Merseyside Police is well prepared to face its future financial challenges. It has successfully reduced its spending over the last spending review period while working hard to maintain its services to the public. For these reasons the force is graded as good. Future saving plans beyond 2017 are not detailed and rely heavily on savings coming from the force’s change programmes. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the previous spending review period, Merseyside was judged to be good.

Legitimacy

There is an ethical culture within Merseyside Police, and the force has established practices to support the wellbeing of the workforce and deal with complaints and misconduct in a fair and appropriate way.

Merseyside Police engages well with its communities using a range of methods, and officers and staff understand the importance of treating people fairly and with respect. The force complies with all features of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme apart from the need to publish data. 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

Leaders in Merseyside Police are visible and demonstrate strong, effective leadership. We found strong loyalty and commitment from the workforce who are proud to work for Merseyside Police. The force undertook a cultural audit with its middle managers and above, to understand better the leadership culture within the force.

The majority of the workforce is well-motivated and has a high regard for its senior leaders. Successful engagement is primarily led through the extensive ‘Just Trilogy’ (Just Talk, Just Think and Just Lead) road-shows and the change programme. However the force should do more to understand the specific views of its workforce by conducting a regular survey.

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 Merseyside 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 and the areas for improvement that HMIC has identified in the last year.

I will be particularly interested to see:

  • the formation of a new command team during 2016, which will see the appointment of a new chief constable and two new assistant chief constables;
  • more detailed analysis as to how the savings achieved during the latest programme of change will influence the budgetary planning beyond 2017; and
  • urther work to understand and respond to the views 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
Good

Merseyside Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime.

It works well with other organisations to keep people safe, including the most vulnerable, by preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. The quality of crime investigation is good and the force works well to stop re-offending. It is outstanding in its tackling of organised crime groups, and has the necessary arrangements to enable it to fulfil its national policing responsibilities. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so comparison of their year-on-year effectiveness is not possible.

The force is committed to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. Its approach to prevention is well understood by officers and staff. The force has an effective neighbourhood policing model and a strong working relationship with partners to solve problems in local areas.

The force responds well to vulnerable victims and treats them as a priority. It provides a high level of support to the most vulnerable victims, with missing children a particular priority.

The force uses its specialist functions effectively to safeguard and protect victims and works well with partners.

The quality of investigation is good and investigators ensure that victims are safe and kept informed. The force is effective in identifying, investigating and bringing to justice repeat and dangerous offenders, and stopping them from re-offending.

Merseyside Police is outstanding in the way it identifies and tackles serious and organised crime. It has a well-developed understanding of the threat posed from serious and organised crime.

It has a strong ‘whole force’ approach to tackling and disrupting serious and organised crime in collaboration with partner organisations. This has resulted in a number of successful operations and projects that have improved the lives of those living in communities affected by organised crime.

The force has the necessary arrangements in place to ensure that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities.

 

View the four questions for effectiveness

Efficiency

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

Last updated 20/10/2015
Good

HMIC found that Merseyside Police is well prepared to face its future financial challenges. It has successfully reduced its spending over the last spending review period while working hard to maintain its services to the public. For these reasons the force is graded as good. Future saving plans beyond 2017 are not detailed and rely heavily on savings coming from the force’s change programmes. For this reason it cannot be judged outstanding. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the first spending review period, Merseyside was judged to be good.

HMIC judges Merseyside Police to be good. The force continues to make good progress in achieving its plans to address the budgetary pressures it faces. It has a good understanding of the main elements of the demand for its services, especially from the public and uses its resources well to fight crime and keep its communities safe. The force is enhancing its current understanding of demand through work within its change programme and is altering the way it works to ensure its reduced resources can match demand while improving the timeliness and quality of its services.

There is a clearly articulated and well understood view of the short term priorities for the force and the resources and skills required to achieve them. The force’s change programme is ensuring workforce plans are closely aligned with demand and future organisational and financial requirements. However, these plans are not sufficiently developed to inform the force’s future operating model which will be vital in providing affordable and sustainable services in the future.

The force has a good track record of achieving its savings. It has controlled its expenditure well and achieved its total savings requirement over the last spending review period. There are plans in place to make savings in future years although beyond 2017 they are less detailed and rely heavily on savings coming from the force’s change programmes.

 

View the three questions for efficiency

Legitimacy

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

Last updated 11/02/2016
Good

HMIC found there is a strong ethical culture within Merseyside Police, and the force has established practices to support the wellbeing of staff and deal with complaints and misconduct in a fair and appropriate way.

Merseyside Police engages well with its communities using a range of methods, and officers and staff understand the importance of treating people fairly and with respect. The force complies with all features of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme apart from the need to publish data. 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 there is a strong ethical culture within Merseyside Police. The Code of Ethics is fully integrated into the force’s vision which has been clearly communicated to staff and integrated within force policy, practice and most training.

The force has established a range of practices to support the wellbeing of staff and the majority of staff we spoke to felt supported. HMIC found that the force deals with complaints and misconduct in a fair and appropriate way.

When HMIC looked at how well the force understands and engages with all the people it serves, we found that Merseyside Police fully understood the relationship between engagement and legitimacy and we found commitment to neighbourhood policing and engagement. The force effectively engages with the public through conventional meetings, face-to-face within the communities it serves, and through creative and tailored communication campaigns. It utilises information well from a range of sources at a local level, and through social media, although recognises it could do more to gain better insight of the results of this activity at a force level. As a result we are satisfied that the force has a reasonable understanding of the needs and concerns of the public, more so at a local level than at force level.

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 found that Merseyside Police complies with all the features of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme apart from publishing data. Taser officers are fully trained and the use and oversight of the deployment of Taser is well managed.

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.

Leaders in Merseyside Police are visible and demonstrate strong, effective leadership. We found strong loyalty and commitment from the workforce who are proud to work for Merseyside Police. The force has a good understanding of its leadership culture, particularly in relation to middle managers and above.

The majority of the workforce is well-motivated and has a high regard for its senior leaders. Successful engagement is primarily led through the extensive ‘Just Trilogy’ (Just Talk, Just Think and Just Lead) roadshows and the change programme, however the force should do more to understand the specific views of its staff by conducting a regular survey.

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 Merseyside Police.

View other reports

Key facts

Force Area

249 square miles

Population

1.39m people 2% local 10 yr change

Workforce

76% frontline 78% national level
4.3 per 1000 population 3.6 national level
18% change in local workforce since 2010 15% national change since 2010

Victim-based crimes

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

Cost

64p per person per day local 55p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

Merseyside has a population of about 1.5 million, deals with over 1.4 million calls for service annually, of which about 250,000 are emergency calls.

Since 2010, savings of over £63 million have been made. By March 2015, the workforce had reduced by 1,285 posts, equivalent to an 18 percent reduction.

Police and crime plan priorities

After listening to the people of Merseyside, the Commissioner identified the following priorities for the region:

  • Tackling serious and organised crime
  • Reducing crime and anti-social behaviour
  • Providing a visible and accessible neighbourhood policing style
  • Maintaining public safety
  • Taking effective action against all forms of hate crime