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Warwickshire 2015

Read more about Warwickshire 2015

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

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

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

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 Warwickshire 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 am satisfied with some aspects of the performance of Warwickshire Police in keeping people safe and reducing crime, but there are areas in need of improvement in order to provide a consistently good service.

The force is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour and works well with partner agencies. The investigations undertaken by the force are high quality and well supervised. I am pleased to see the force is addressing all of the issues raised in HMIC’s domestic abuse inspection in 2014 and that the service to victims is improving. However, I remain concerned about the way in which the force assesses the risk faced by domestic abuse victims. I am similarly concerned by the way the force assesses and responds to risks faced by missing children. The understanding of, and response to, serious and organised crime is also in need of improvement.

I am impressed by the added resilience of the services provided to the communities of Warwickshire and West Mercia by the alliance with West Mercia Police. The alliance is a major contributor to Warwickshire Police being well prepared to face its future financial challenges. I am reassured by the comprehensive analysis of the changing nature of demands for services that is underway to develop options for a future shared operating model.

Notwithstanding the concerns that I have about the force’s performance, I welcome the way in which the force has acknowledged and responded to the issues we have raised.

Description of force area

Warwickshire Police provides policing services to the county of Warwickshire. Warwickshire is generally affluent. Around 0.6 million people mainly live in the urban centres which include the towns of Warwick, Nuneaton and Rugby. 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 major rail stations.

The proportion of areas in Warwickshire that are predicted to present a very high challenge to the police is broadly in line with 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

The alliance with West Mercia Police is the most extensive collaboration between forces in England and Wales. All resources below the level of chief constable and deputy chief constable are shared between both forces, with any savings being shared proportionately.

Effectiveness

In our effectiveness inspection, we judged Warwickshire Police to require improvement in the way in which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, most notably by working effectively with partner agencies. The force investigates crime well and the standard of supervision is a strength. The way in which the force assesses the risk faced by domestic abuse victims and missing children requires improvement. Improvement is also required in how the force understands and responds to serious and organised crime. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so a year-on-year comparison is not possible.

Efficiency

Warwickshire Police is well prepared to face its future financial challenges. It has achieved notable increases in efficiency and improved resilience through its alliance with West Mercia Police, which has allowed it to minimise the impact of reductions in spending on frontline policing. It has also achieved more savings than required over the last 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, Warwickshire was also judged to be good.

Legitimacy

Warwickshire Police is developing an ethical culture. However it has more to do to provide sufficient wellbeing and welfare support for its workforce, and to ensure that complaints and misconduct are properly assessed and free of bias.

The force understands the people it serves, but should improve the way that it communicates its engagement strategy to the workforce. The force is not complying with many features of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme and HMIC has a number of concerns about how Warwickshire Police conducts and records instances of stop and search. The majority of Taser by officers across the force is fair and appropriate.

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

Leadership

Warwickshire Police has clearly communicated its expectations of leaders. The force has worked well with West Mercia Police to create a single vision for the alliance between the forces, which focuses on protecting people from harm. This vision has been both embraced and implemented by both chief officer teams.

We found that the workforce has a good understanding of the force’s expectations, priorities and plans for the future. The force had not agreed details of its future workforce model, for some understandable reasons, but it could have done more to address staff and officers’ concerns about job security. The force could also do more to ensure that it is identifying and developing talent, and should implement a more structured leadership programme to provide better training and development.

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 Warwickshire 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:

  • improvements in the assessment of risk to victims of domestic abuse and missing and absent children, especially children in care;
  • improvements in how the force responds to persistent missing children, especially children in care;
  • compliance with Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme;
  • the outcome of the analysis of demands for services; and
  • how the force uses its analysis of demand in developing a new joint operating model with its alliance partner, West Mercia Police.

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 Warwickshire Police is judged to require improvement at keeping people safe and reducing crime.

The force is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, most notably by working effectively with partner agencies. The force investigates crime well and standards of supervision are a strength. The way in which the force assesses the risk faced by domestic abuse victims and missing children requires improvement. Improvement is also required in how the force understands and responds to serious and organised crime. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so a year-on-year comparison is not possible.

Warwickshire Police is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. The force vision and values demonstrate a strong commitment to protecting people from harm and working in partnership; and these are generally well understood throughout the force. It ensures appropriate processes and resources are assigned to work effectively with partner organisations to tackle problems of concern for the community.

When a crime has occurred, the force acts quickly and carries out good quality investigations, and keeping victims informed about how their cases are progressing. The force generally uses forensics well to support investigations but better arrangements are needed to retrieve digital evidence from smartphones, tablets and other devices.

The force works well with others to divert offenders away from crime, and is effective at identifying, investigating and bringing to justice repeat and dangerous offenders to stop them re-offending.

Warwickshire Police generally provides a good service in identifying vulnerable victims and responds appropriately with its partners. However, the approach to responding to vulnerable missing children and assessing the risks to domestic abuse victims is inconsistent and requires improvement.

The force needs to develop its understanding of the threats from serious and organised crime, including more effective mapping of new and emerging organised crime groups (OCGs). Completion of local profiles, formal mapping of new groups as they emerge and greater involvement of local policing teams and partners will enhance the force’s understanding of threats posed to the public by serious and organised crime. This is an area that requires improvement.

The force has arrangements in place to ensure 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 Warwickshire Police is well prepared to face its future financial challenges. It has achieved notable increases in efficiency and improved resilience through its alliance with West Mercia Police, which has allowed it to minimise the impact of reductions in spending on frontline policing. It has also achieved more savings than required over the last 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, Warwickshire was also judged to be good.

HMIC judges Warwickshire Police to be good. The unique alliance with West Mercia Police is the most extensive collaboration between forces in England and Wales. All resources below the level of chief constable and deputy chief constable are pooled and shared between both forces with any savings also being shared on a proportionate basis. This extensive collaboration has enabled both organisations to achieve budget reductions by operating more efficiently. Joint resources are used flexibly, providing added resilience that neither force could have afforded on their own.

The force is at an early stage of taking steps to better manage demand. Through its recent work to strengthen the alliance, it has carried out a comprehensive analysis of the changing demands on services faced by the two forces. This analysis also looked at the way the forces currently respond to demand. It has clearly shown that the current operating model will need to change to respond to both changing demands and reductions in budgets. The alliance is now well positioned to make progress in planning for the future.

Through the work in the alliance, the force has a good track record of controlling expenditure and achieving savings ahead of schedule. This has resulted in annual budget underspends, which have been set aside in reserves for future use. The longer term sustainability of the force’s finances is reliant upon a new model for policing being introduced across the alliance. Work is still underway to develop options for a future operating model.

 

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 Warwickshire Police is developing an ethical culture. However it has more to do to provide sufficient wellbeing and welfare support for its staff, and to ensure that complaints and misconduct are properly assessed and free of bias.

The force understands the people it serves, but should improve the way it communicates its engagement strategy to staff. The force is not complying with all features of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. HMIC has a number of concerns about how Warwickshire Police conducts and records instances of stop and search.

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

HMIC found that Warwickshire Police clearly articulates the vision and values of the organisation and these values are having a positive influence on standards of behaviour and helping to develop an ethical culture.

The force acknowledges that it has been slow to put in place adequate provision to support the welfare and wellbeing needs of officers and staff. The force also recognises that existing governance arrangements for complaints and misconduct issues have not provided sufficient oversight to ensure that processes are consistent and free from any bias.

When HMIC looked at how well the force understands and successfully engages with all the people it serves, we found there is effective and in some cases innovative, engagement with the public and an understanding of its importance in maintaining police legitimacy.

The force understands the people it serves but should improve the way it communicates its engagement strategy to staff. As a result, HMIC found that people were treated fairly and with respect by Warwickshire Police and the force understands and engages well with the people it serves.

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 the police use them fairly and appropriately. HMIC found that the force is not complying with all features of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, and needs to do more to make the public aware of the changes it has made and the information it has. However, HMIC has a number of concerns about how Warwickshire Police conducts and record instances of stop and search. Too many records do not contain sufficient reasonable grounds to stop and search a person and these are not being sufficiently identified or addressed by supervisors.

HMIC is satisfied that the use of Taser in Warwickshire Police is both fair and appropriate.

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.

Warwickshire Police has clearly communicated its expectations of leaders. The force has worked well with West Mercia Police to create a single vision for the alliance between the forces, which focuses on protecting people from harm.

Encouragingly, HMIC found widespread understanding of the force’s expectations and future plans and priorities. While the force had not agreed details of its future workforce model, it could have done more to address staff and officers’ concerns about job security. The force could also do more to ensure that it is identifying and developing talent, and should implement a more structured leadership programme to provide better training and development.

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 Warwickshire Police.

View other reports

Key facts

Force Area

763 square miles

Population

0.55m people 7% local 10 yr change

Workforce

80% frontline 78% national level
2.7 per 1000 population 3.6 national level
21% 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 National 5 year trend (no change)

Cost

46p per person per day local 55p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police have an alliance to meet the challenges of reduced budgets and continue to protect people from harm.

The changing profile of crime led to prioritising the protection of vulnerable people by increasing the resources and developing a new investigation team.

Police and crime plan priorities

Warwickshire Police and Crime Objectives:

  1. Reduce crime and disorder
  2. Protect the public from harm
  3. Deliver an efficient and effective police force for Warwickshire
  4. Empower local communities to prevent crime and disorder
  5. Meet the requirements of the Strategic Policing Requirement (SPR)