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Nottinghamshire PEEL 2015

Effectiveness

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

Last updated 18/02/2016
Good

HMIC judges that Nottinghamshire Police is good overall at keeping people safe and reducing crime.

The force works well to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, and to prevent offending and there are strong local partnership arrangements in place to support this work. The force’s approach to investigating crime has improved overall, but the way it supports some vulnerable victims requires improvement, particularly its services to protect vulnerable children and victims of domestic abuse. The force is good at disrupting the activity of organised crime groups. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so comparison of their year-on-year effectiveness is not possible.

Nottinghamshire Police has a strong focus on the prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour. Staff throughout the organisation understand the importance of tackling these issues and there are strong partnership arrangements in place which bring local partners together to work jointly. The police and partners have a shared commitment to directing activities to areas of greatest risk. The force has a guiding principle to support neighbourhood policing and ensure it is making the most impact on preventing crime.

The way the force is investigating crime is changing. It has improved the quality of investigation and when a crime has occurred it makes sure most victims are safe and keeps them informed about how their cases are progressing. The force works well to identify, investigate and bring to justice repeat and dangerous offenders and to stop them re-offending.

Increasingly the force focuses on so-called hidden crimes such as domestic abuse and child sexual exploitation with a view to protecting the most vulnerable members of the community.

It is increasing the number of specialist staff and officers who investigate these offences but workloads are sometimes still high, putting at risk the service provided to some of the most vulnerable victims.

The force has an in-depth understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime. Supported by highly skilled and experienced staff and a good relationship with the East Midlands Special Operations Unit, which provides additional specialist skills and resources, the force is good at disrupting the activity of organised crime groups.

The leadership has strong oversight of the force’s ability to respond to national threats, such as terrorism, serious cyber-crime incidents and child sexual abuse. Its own arrangements for ensuring it can meet its national obligations in this regard (such as planning, testing and exercising) are good.

 

Questions for Effectiveness

1

How effective is the force at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, and keeping people safe?

 

Nottinghamshire Police is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. Although crime and anti-social behaviour rates in Nottinghamshire remain higher than those seen in England and Wales as a whole, the area has seen a relatively large reduction in crime since 2010. HMIC found a strong commitment to neighbourhood policing, but a planned reduction in the number of police and community support officers (PCSOs) means some preventative work may be at risk.

The force has strong partnership arrangements to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour and effective processes enable it to assess the extent of current and emerging threats and risks to its communities. The police and partner agencies have a shared commitment to directing activities to areas of greatest risk and tackling the crimes that matter most to local people. The force has the right processes in place alongside a range of powers and tactics to work together with partner organisations to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour and keep people safe.

In the 2014 crime inspection HMIC recommended that the force needed to improve the way it learned from what works and shared good practice. There has been some improvement with the force working towards an evidence-based policing approach to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour, however, the new database of ‘what works’ is not widely known and is therefore not used by frontline staff.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should evaluate tactics and share effective practice routinely – both internally and with partners – to continually improve its approach to the prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour.
2

How effective is the force at investigating crime and managing offenders?

Nottinghamshire Police has made progress and is generally good at investigating crime and managing offenders. Since HMIC’s 2014 crime inspection, the quality of investigations has improved. Investigations are generally carried out by the right staff with the right levels of skills and qualifications and there is better monitoring and supervision.

The force has also made some progress in addressing HMIC’s previous concern about the quality of some public protection investigations. The force has reviewed the way it is structured to ensure that vulnerable victims are given the right level of support. It has plans to increase the number of staff in specialist units. However, there are still high workloads in some specialist public protection teams and significant gaps in accreditation for temporary detectives and constables. The force recognises this and has established a training and accreditation plan for these staff.

Forensic and digital specialists are used effectively to support investigations, although some backlogs do exist for phone investigation.

Arrangements for identifying and managing offenders to prevent them from re-offending is good and the force works well with other organisations to provide support to prevent re-offending.

Good
3

How effective is the force at protecting from harm those who are vulnerable, and supporting victims?

Nottinghamshire Police generally provides a good service in identifying and assessing the risks to vulnerable people. The force works well in partnership with other organisations. However, we found some areas where improvement is needed to ensure that the force can provide the best possible service to keep safe vulnerable people, particularly children.

When frontline officers identify a victim is vulnerable, they generally provide good safeguarding for the victim, however we sometimes found confusion as to whether a risk assessment or a child referral needs to take place. We also found backlogs in assessments, some involving children, awaiting referral to other organisations.

The force has improved its approach to tackling domestic abuse but still has work to do. In addition, it has decided not to refer all cases assessed as high-risk to multi-agency risk assessment conferences.

The force responds well to missing and absent children, however, it is not yet sufficiently prepared to tackle child sexual exploitation. The force is planning to increase the number of staff in public protection team but needs to ensure staff are fully trained and skilled in dealing with vulnerable victims. In addition, the force has only provided limited training to staff in frontline roles on domestic abuse, missing and absent children and child sexual exploitation.



Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • The force should improve its approach to safeguarding victims of domestic abuse who are assessed at high risk. It does not refer all high-risk cases to multi-agency risk assessment conferences and criteria differ between the county and city areas for those cases that will and will not be considered. The triaging process does not involve all partner organisations, is inconsistent with other forces and is contrary to recognised guidance.
  • The force should improve its initial response to vulnerable victims by ensuring frontline officers and staff are appropriately trained to investigate and to safeguard vulnerable victims.
  • The force should improve its investigation of cases involving vulnerable victims by ensuring officers with appropriate skills and expertise carry out such investigations and it supervises their workloads to ensure they can do so effectively.
  • The force should improve the way it works with partners to share information and safeguard vulnerable people, specifically in relation to addressing the backlog in cases that require further assessment and referring to other organisations.
  • The force should improve its compliance with the duties under the code of practice for victims of crime, specifically in relation to victim personal statements.
  • The force should improve its response to persistent and repeat missing children by ensuring information from previous missing episodes is used to develop a co-ordinated and prioritised response.
  • The force should improve its response to child sexual exploitation by developing its understanding of the nature and scale of the issue and ensuring that preventive activity is properly co-ordinated.
4

How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime, including its arrangement for fulfilling its national policing responsibilities?

Nottinghamshire Police is good at identifying and tackling serious and organised crime groups in its area. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their effectiveness at tackling serious and organised crime, including a force’s arrangements for ensuring that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities, so no year-on-year comparison is possible.

The force has a well-developed understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime, and an effective multi-agency response to it, including work to prevent people from becoming involved.

The force needs to further develop its local profile for serious and organised crime with partners. Raising awareness among frontline officers and staff on organised crime group activity in their local areas is also needed to ensure co-ordinated and better intelligence.

The force has its own specialist officers to tackle serious and organised crime and it has access to an extensive range of specialist policing capabilities provided by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit.

The leadership has strong oversight of the force’s ability to respond to national threats, such as terrorism, serious cyber-crime incidents and child sexual abuse. Its own arrangements for ensuring it can meet its national obligations in this regard (such as planning, testing and exercising) are good.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should add relevant data from partner agencies to its serious and organised crime local profile, and ensure that it has a local partnership structure in place with responsibility for tackling serious and organised crime.
  • The force should improve the awareness of organised crime groups among neighbourhood teams to ensure that they can reliably identify these groups, collect intelligence and disrupt their activity.