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Bedfordshire 2016

Read more about Bedfordshire 2016

This is HMIC’s third PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Bedfordshire Police. PEEL is designed to give the public information about how their local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year. The assessment is updated throughout the year with our inspection findings and reports.

The extent to which the force is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime: not yet graded.

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

The extent to which the force is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime: not yet graded.

The efficiency inspection findings are published below. My overall assessment of Bedfordshire’s performance will be published in spring 2017.

Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary

Contact Zoë Billingham

Effectiveness

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

To be graded

PEEL assessments are updated throughout the year, as the results of the different inspections and data collections become available. The graded judgments for effectiveness will be published in March 2017. See last year’s assessment of the force’s effectiveness.

View the five questions for effectiveness

Efficiency

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

Last updated 03/11/2016
Requires improvement

Bedfordshire Police has been assessed as requires improvement in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force is improving its understanding of current and likely future demand for police services and is reorganising its operations to use its resources better to meet demand, particularly through collaborative working with other forces. However, HMIC found that overall, it needs to do more work to understand demand fully, ensure best use of its resources to meet demand and plan for future demand. In last year’s efficiency inspection, Bedfordshire Police was judged to require improvement.

Bedfordshire Police has low levels of funding compared with other forces. It needs to do more to match its very limited resources to the challenging demands it faces, especially since the volume and complexity of crimes it deals with in some parts of the county, for example Luton, compares with the crime profile of a London borough. The force requires improvement in its understanding of current and likely future demand on its services and the force recognises it needs to improve its understanding so it can make best use of its resources. The force has explored good practice nationally and through the College of Policing to help it develop a more sophisticated understanding and it is developing an action plan. HMIC has seen some positive progress, but more work is needed.

The force acknowledges it could do more to understand where inefficient internal processes are leading to unnecessary demand on police time and resources. It is reviewing its governance processes to identify how it can reduce this unnecessary internal demand. The force is at an early stage in developing its understanding of likely future demand. In a strategic alliance with Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Constabularies, the tri-force ‘futures team’ has undertaken research to explore options for effective policing in the future.

The way Bedfordshire Police uses its resources to manage its current demand also requires some improvement. It has recently invested additional resources in areas of increasing demand, such as the public protection directorate, to increase its capacity to investigate serious sexual offences and safeguard vulnerable children and adults. It is closely monitoring performance to ensure that the new policing model is working effectively. It is introducing a new shift pattern for frontline officers, which aims to make sure more police officers are available at times when demand is greatest. However, the model will not be fully functional until this work and the recruitment of additional officers is complete, particularly within community policing. As a result the force cannot yet evaluate how effective it is at meeting demand.

Bedfordshire Police is to be commended for its strong commitment to joint working, clearly demonstrated by its mature and well-established collaborative work with Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire Constabularies. The forces in this strategic alliance have an ambitious and innovative plan to work collaboratively in all policing functions, except local policing, by 2017. Further collaborative work is planned with four other forces and Bedfordshire Police is also in the early stages of developing strategic partnerships with other emergency services and local government organisations to share resources and manage future demand together. While the force can demonstrate how collaboration and joint working is improving outcomes, reducing costs and building resilience, it does not yet have a comprehensive understanding of costed outcomes.

Bedfordshire Police requires improvement in the way it is planning for demand in the future. The lack of a comprehensive understanding of future demand and workforce capabilities limits its ability to plan for the future. The force does make prudent assumptions about future income and costs. However, despite better than anticipated government grant for policing in 2016/17, the force still faces financial risks and uncertainties. The savings plans remain austere and continuing workforce reductions are planned through to 2019/20.

In HMIC’s 2015 inspection, the force was assessed as requiring improvement in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime, and this year’s inspection has led to the same judgment.

View the three questions for efficiency

Legitimacy

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

To be graded

PEEL assessments are updated throughout the year, as the results of the different inspections and data collections become available. The graded judgments for legitimacy will be published in December 2016. See last year’s assessment of the force’s legitimacy.

View the three 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

PEEL assessments are updated throughout the year, as the results of the different inspections and data collections become available. HMIC’s assessment of leadership will be published in December 2016. See last year’s assessment of the force’s leadership.

View the three questions for leadership

Other reports

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

View other reports

Key facts

Force Area

477 square miles

Population

0.64m people 11% local 10 yr change

Workforce

76% frontline 78% national level
3.2 per 1000 population 3.6 national level
8% 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

43p per person per day local 55p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

Find out more about the area policed by this force.

Police and crime plan priorities

The police and crime plan, as well as other information about the PCC, can be found on their website.