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Staffordshire 2015

Read more about Staffordshire 2015

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

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

The extent to which Staffordshire 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 Staffordshire Police’s performance this year, including where I would like to see improvements next year.

Wendy Williams, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary

Read the transcript of the video

Contact Wendy Williams

HMI’s observations

I have been impressed by some aspects of the performance of Staffordshire Police. However other elements are of concern to me. I am reassured by the positive response the force has made to address the issues that we have raised.

The force works well with partner organisations and is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. It also works well to tackle serious and organised crime. However our inspections identified serious weaknesses in the services the force provides to protect and support vulnerable victims, most notably victims of domestic abuse. We also found a small number of staff displaying troubling attitudes towards victims and other people who are vulnerable.

I am pleased that work is now being undertaken by the force to improve the consistency and quality of the way it protects and supports vulnerable people, and to improve the quality of crime investigations. I am also reassured by the additional training the force is providing to address the unacceptable manner in which some victims were being treated. The force will want to evaluate and test the effectiveness of the training in addressing this issue.

In marked contrast, I congratulate the leadership of the force for its clear vision for transforming policing in Staffordshire over the next four years. It has a good understanding of its current demand and has developed processes to allow it to make informed choices about resource allocation throughout the force. Within its transformational change programme, the force is testing a new operating model that integrates investigators within other frontline staff and requires fewer dedicated neighbourhood officers.

Staffordshire Police uses an extensive range of methods to engage with local people, including surveys, public engagement activities and effective use of social media. As a result, the force has an excellent understanding of its communities. This helps it to work with partner organisations in meeting differing needs for services.

Description of force area

Staffordshire Police provides policing services to the county of Staffordshire. Although there are some more affluent areas, Staffordshire has a high level of poverty. Around 1.1 million people mainly live within the urban centres which include the city of Stoke-on-Trent and the towns of Burton-upon-Trent and Stafford. The resident population is increased by university students and the large numbers who visit, socialise, or travel through the area each year. The transport infrastructure includes major rail stations.

The proportion of areas in Staffordshire that are predicted to present a very high challenge to the police is lower than the national average. These are characterised by social deprivation or a concentration of commercial premises (including licensed premises), and in some cases both. Providing services across the entirety of the force area is hindered by the road network.

Working arrangements

The force collaborates with West Midlands Police to fulfil its responsibilities for managing firearms licensing and with several other forces in the Central Motorway Patrol Group. The force is developing a joint transport strategy with the fire and rescue service.

Effectiveness

In our effectiveness inspection, we judged Staffordshire Police to require improvement in the way in which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. HMIC found a mixed picture of performance. The force works well with partner organisations and is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour; it also works well to tackle serious and organised crime. However, improvements are needed in the way it investigates crime and manages offenders. Of more serious concern are aspects of the services it provides to keep vulnerable victims safe, which were found to be inadequate. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so a year-on-year comparison is not possible.

Efficiency

Staffordshire Police is well prepared to face its future financial challenges. It has a good understanding of its current demand and has developed processes to allow it to make informed choices about resource allocation throughout the force. The force has strong financial management and has made all of the savings required for the spending review period. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the previous spending review period, Staffordshire was judged to be outstanding.

Legitimacy

The chief constable has set out a vision for the workforce to ‘do the right thing’ when serving the public, and most of the workforce reported that an ethical culture forms part of everyday policing. Officers and staff consistently engage very effectively with the public and understand their needs.

Staffordshire Police is not compliant with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, and we have concerns about the recording of reasonable grounds for lawful use of the power. The force uses Taser fairly and appropriately.

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

Leadership

Staffordshire Police is well led, with values set by the chief constable that the majority of the workforce follows. The leadership is clear, especially in communicating future plans and priorities and in setting expectations, and we found that the workforce at all levels feels strongly involved in this process.

The force is encouraging leaders and motivating the workforce well on an informal level, though it has no formal leadership training courses routinely available above junior management grade. The force would also benefit from a formal system to identify and develop talented individuals for promotion to support the work already carried out in this area.

Insights from other inspections

HMIC undertakes other inspections in addition to the PEEL programme. Since the last PEEL assessment there have been four reports published on inspections that included Staffordshire 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 causes of concern and areas for improvement that HMIC has identified in the last year.

I will be particularly interested to see:

  • improvements in the force’s response to victims of domestic abuse to address weaknesses in how the force identifies, assesses and responds to risk;
  • improvements in the overall service provided to – vulnerable people and improvements in attitude displayed to victims;
  • continued improvement in the quality of investigations;
  • compliance with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme; and
  • improved effectiveness and efficiency of the force as a result of the new operating model.

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

Staffordshire Police’s overall approach to keeping people safe and reducing crime requires improvement.

HMIC found a mixed picture of performance. The force works well with partner organisations and is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour; it also works well to tackle serious and organised crime. However, improvements are needed in the way it investigates crime and manages offenders. Of more serious concern are aspects of the services it provides to keep vulnerable victims safe, which were found to be inadequate. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so a year-on-year comparison is not possible.

The force is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. It demonstrates a strong commitment to reducing crime and anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe, with an emphasis on prevention through early intervention. The force is particularly effective in working with local partner organisations to share information and develop joint solutions to local problems, making effective use of combined resources.

Staffordshire Police’s approach to investigating crime and managing offenders requires improvement. There are delays in some initial investigations, a lack of victim contact, limited supervision, and on occasions crimes are allocated to staff without sufficient investigative skills. The force has recognised these issues and is taking active steps to improve standards.

There are weaknesses in the services being provided by Staffordshire Police to protect and support some victims, most notably victims of domestic abuse. The force focuses strongly on identifying and protecting vulnerable victims, and it works well with partner organisations to safeguard and support victims who are identified as being at risk. However, we found several areas where improvement is needed.

The force is not consistently assessing the risks faced by all domestic abuse victims. Victims’ needs may not be fully met by the police and partner organisations because the risk they face has not been properly assessed.

Staffordshire Police is good at identifying and tackling serious and organised crime groups in its area. The force is still developing a full understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime. It is working well to provide an effective response to it, including work with partners such as good use of integrated offender management to tackle gang violence. Staffordshire Police could further enhance its understanding of the threat from serious and organised crime. An opportunity exists to build upon the profile of offending which has been established by the Cannock District local policing team and develop similar local profiles for all areas of the county.

 

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 Staffordshire Police is well prepared to face its future financial challenges. It has a good understanding of its current demand and has developed processes to allow it to make informed choices about resource allocation throughout the force. The force has strong financial management and has made all of the savings required for the spending review period. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the first spending review period, Staffordshire was judged to be outstanding.

HMIC judges Staffordshire Police to be good. The force’s understanding of its current demand is good and it is in a position to respond to dynamic changes of demand on a daily basis. Although it is meeting the current level of demand, it is aware that to meet the financial challenge ahead there needs to be a change in the way it provides its service to the public.

The force has set up a transformation programme to enable it to change the way it serves the community. The programme is looking at improving partnership work, being more efficient with its estates, improving technology and better procurement methods.

The force understands the current levels of demand on its services from the public and has taken steps to ensure that its current workforce meets that demand. This has led to some reorganisation to allow it to be more efficient. Future workforce planning is not as developed. The force is currently trying to assess demand and the future financial requirements to better understand the workforce requirements.

The force demonstrates robust financial management and has balanced the budget for 2014/15 and 2015/16. It has detailed financial plans up to 2020 including efficiency savings, providing a strong understanding of the scale of its future financial challenge. It uses reserves efficiently and has balanced the budget and found savings for the period 2014/15 and 2015/16. It has detailed financial plans up to 2020 including efficiency savings and has reserves in place as a contingency.

 

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

The chief constable has set out a vision for staff to ‘do the right thing’ when serving the public, and most staff report that an ethical culture forms part of everyday policing. We found that officers and staff consistently engage very effectively with the public and understand their needs.

Staffordshire Police is not compliant with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, and we have concerns about the recording of reasonable grounds for lawful use of the power. The force uses Taser fairly and appropriately.

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

In Staffordshire Police, HMIC found that the chief constable has set out a vision for staff to ‘do the right thing’ when serving the public and that most staff report that an ethical culture forms part of everyday policing. Staff told HMIC they feel valued and have confidence in the fairness of the complaints procedure and the promotion process.

HMIC found that the performance and standards unit is fair and consistent in its approach to complaints and misconduct investigations. There is good oversight and governance from chief officers. Staff have confidence in both the process and the management of investigations. Most staff are confident they would be treated fairly if the subject of a complaint.

When HMIC looked at how well the force understands and engages with all the people it serves, we found that in many instances officers and staff engage very effectively with the public and understand their needs. This work is supported by appropriate central guidance and excellent resources on the force intranet. As a result, we are satisfied that overall the force has a very good understanding of the needs of local people and that most officers treat people fairly and with respect.

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 Staffordshire Police is not compliant with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme and we have concerns about the recording of reasonable grounds for lawful use of the power. Use of Taser in Staffordshire Police is fair and appropriate, and it is overseen in accordance with national guidance and reviewed by senior officers.

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.

Staffordshire Police is well led, with values set by the chief constable that the majority of the workforce follows. The leadership is clear, especially in communicating future plans and priorities and in setting expectations, and we found that the workforce at all levels feels strongly involved in this process.

The force is encouraging leaders and motivating staff well on an informal level, though it has no formal leadership training courses routinely available above junior management grade. The force would also benefit from a formal system to identify and develop talented individuals for promotion to support the work already carried out in this area.

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 Staffordshire Police.

View other reports

Key facts

Force Area

1,048 square miles

Population

1.11m people 5% local 10 yr change

Workforce

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

Victim-based crimes

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

Cost

45p per person per day local 55p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

Safeguarding those who are most vulnerable is a priority. The force continues to enhance the quality of service for vulnerable victims.

The force and the office of the police and crime commissioner have a shared vision for 2020 focused on what change will deliver for our communities, our partners and our staff.

Police and crime plan priorities

Early intervention – tackling root causes to stop crime before it happens

Supporting victims and witnesses – a more joined up system for victims and witnesses to receive the support they need

Managing offenders – preventing offending in the first place and reducing the likelihood of re-offending

Public confidence – making sure everything that happens contributes to individuals and communities feeling safer