City of London 2016Read more about City of London 2016
This is HMIC’s third PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of City of London 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 is good.
The extent to which the force is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime requires improvement.
The extent to which the force is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
Matt Parr, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
I am satisfied with some areas of City of London Police’s performance, but there are aspects of the efficiency with which it operates that are of serious concern to me.
I am pleased with the improvements City of London Police has made in protecting vulnerable people since last year.
The force has structured processes that provide a consistent response to incidents involving vulnerable people. The workforce has a good understanding of vulnerability, and the force collaborates effectively with partner organisations to keep victims safe, and to provide the right safeguarding arrangements for vulnerable people.
I am satisfied that the force investigates crime to a good standard: control room staff are effective at gathering evidence at the first point of contact, and investigations are allocated to those with the proper skills and experience. However, the force does need to improve how investigations are supervised.
City of London Police works well with national and international organisations to identify and respond to complex and emerging economic crime. However, I have some concerns about the force’s approach to preventing and tackling other crime, including other types of serious and organised crime.
With the exception of economic crime, the force has a limited understanding of the threats facing people who live and work in the City of London. It has used a range of tactics to prevent crime and tackle anti-social behaviour, but it needs to adopt a more structured problem-solving approach if it is to fully understand which tactics work best. The force also needs to improve the intelligence it gathers on serious and organised crime to increase its understanding of this threat, and it needs to use that intelligence in a co-ordinated and effective way.
City of London Police has a good understanding of the current demands for its services. However, I do not believe the force has a sound understanding of how these demands will change in the future or a shared understanding with other organisations of who is responsible for which actions to take when safeguarding and caring for victims.
I am concerned that the force’s understanding of the costs of providing its services is restricted to those associated with economic crime, which means that the force cannot be certain that it offers value for money in other aspects of its service. I am also concerned that the force does not routinely evaluate the outcome of its change programmes and the effectiveness of its collaborative work with partner organisations. It does not have a detailed enough knowledge of the current skills and capabilities of its workforce, or the skills it may need in the future.
These gaps have seriously hindered its ability to plan, and in particular to consider how new technology could transform the way it operates. However, I am reassured that the force is taking action to address these concerns.
City of London Police does engage with the people it serves to understand their perceptions of what constitutes fair and respectful treatment. However, it could do more to develop its understanding of the issues that have the greatest impact on public perceptions and to demonstrate to the public that it has acted on their feedback.
I am reassured that the force has an effective vetting policy, and it uses a range of methods to reinforce standards of acceptable behaviour among its staff. However, it needs to improve how it looks for signs of misconduct and corruption, including its approach to managing the risk of officers or staff abusing their authority for sexual gain (that is, taking advantage of a position of power to exploit vulnerable victims of crime).
City of London Police uses a range of methods to understand the areas that have the greatest effect on its workforce’s perceptions of fair and respectful treatment. However, the force could do more to demonstrate to its staff how it has responded to their concerns.
In summary, I am impressed by the force’s approach to fulfilling its national responsibilities on economic crime. But I would like to see real improvement in some aspects of its local responsibilities. The force also needs to make significant improvements in its approach to planning.
City of London Police provides policing services specifically to the City of London. It has a number of national obligations related to economic crime. Its small resident population of 9,000 is affluent, as well as ethnically diverse, with 21 percent from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.
The population increases dramatically on a daily basis to about 0.4 million, as people commute into the area to work, visit or socialise. Providing services across the entirety of the force area is helped by the size of the force and the good transport system, which includes major rail stations and public transport hubs.
The proportion of areas in the City of London that are predicted (on the basis of detailed economic and demographic analysis) to present a very high challenge to the police is very high compared to the national average. The most challenging areas are generally characterised by a high concentration of people living, working, socialising, or travelling in the area.
Features that both cause and/or indicate a concentration of people include the number of commercial premises, including licensed premises and fast-food premises, public transport, and social deprivation. In some areas, these features are combined.
City of London Police shares a call centre with the City of London Corporation for non-emergency police calls. Most of the force’s support functions are also provided in partnership with the Corporation, which owns all buildings on the force estate. The force has been collaborating with a commercial technology company to introduce a range of technology for the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, which the force houses in its economic crime directorate.
The force works closely with charities, social services and health workers, such as the London Ambulance Service and NHS street nurses, to help the large numbers of homeless people who shelter in the City of London at night. Homeless people can generate considerable demand on police services, but the force has worked closely with these partner organisations to reduce demand before it arises.
Looking ahead to 2017
In the year ahead, I will be interested to see how the force responds to this assessment and to the areas for improvement that HMIC identified last year.
I will be particularly interested to see:
- how the force improves its approach to preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour;
- how the force improves its approach to disrupting serious and organised crime;
- how the force improves its understanding of the skills of its workforce and how it will develop those skills to meet future demands; and
- how the force improves its future planning.
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
City of London Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force has an effective approach to investigating crime and protecting vulnerable people, particularly victims of domestic abuse. However, improvements are required in how it approaches preventing crime and anti-social behaviour and – in a change from our findings in last year’s assessment – how it tackles serious and organised crime. Our overall judgment remains the same as last year.
Overall, the effectiveness of City of London Police is good. However, improvement is required in some important areas.
The force needs to improve how it prevents crime and tackles anti-social behaviour. Although it analyses national intelligence to identify and respond to economic crime, low volumes of local intelligence impair its development of a wider understanding of threats across all communities. We found no routine use of a structured problem-solving model or assessment of the effectiveness of problem-solving activities.
The force is good at investigating crime and reducing re-offending. It allocates appropriate resources to calls for service, and its initial investigations are effective. Subsequent investigations are generally conducted effectively by suitably trained staff, supported by specialist functions. Although the improvement plan is still to be implemented, the force has responded positively to previous HMIC comments on integrated offender management.
The force is good at protecting those who are vulnerable and supporting victims. Its initial response to vulnerable victims is effective, and officers and staff have a good understanding of vulnerability, enabling them to identify and protect vulnerable people. Improved flagging of vulnerability on records would enhance this further. The force investigates effectively offences involving vulnerable victims. It also works well with other organisations to support victim safety.
The force’s approach to tackling serious and organised crime and managing organised crime groups requires improvement. We found a sophisticated understanding of the threat from economic crime and a structured process to assess the threat from serious and organised crime. However, this would be improved by increased local intelligence and data from other organisations.
The force has good specialist capabilities and effective arrangements to fulfil its national responsibilities. Appropriate arrangements are in place to deal with major incidents. An extensive armed policing strategic threat and risk assessment provides a thorough understanding of the threat from firearms.
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
HMIC has assessed that City of London Police requires improvement in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
City of London Police has a good understanding of the current demand for its services. On a daily basis, it collates, assesses and acts upon a wide range of information on the current demand for its services, and deploys its operational resources efficiently to meet that demand. The force has assessed ‘hidden’ or unreported crime, and has identified those areas of ‘hidden’ crime that pose the greatest threat to its communities. These are child sexual exploitation, modern slavery and human trafficking, and domestic abuse.
City of London Police’s detailed understanding of how much it costs to investigate a particular type of crime or to respond to an incident is restricted to its economic crime directorate. This means that the force cannot be confident that it offers value for money in all of the services it performs. HMIC found that City of London Police has identified some inefficient and wasteful practices. However, the force could do more to ensure that it identifies such inefficiencies early. We also found limited detailed evidence of the benefits from the force’s change programmes, or from collaboration with other forces and agencies. The force has made some progress in assessing and recording the skills and capabilities of its workforce. However, skills of its police staff have not been recorded, and this means that the system is less effective than it might be.
City of London Police does not have a detailed understanding of future demand and its planning for such demand is inadequate. The force has projected the demand on its services for some of its directorates, but this process has not been completed across the force. The workforce plan was incomplete at the time of our inspection and did not consider the future (possibly additional) skills that the workforce may need in 2020 and beyond. The force has recognised that its current information and communications technology (ICT) strategy is obsolete, and has commissioned a new one. However, we are concerned that the force has not properly considered how new ICT systems could transform how it operates. The force has no functioning ICT strategy, does not assess professionally the impact of change projects, and does not have a workforce strategy that considers what skills are needed in the future. We also found confusion over the existence of an ICT change programme plan in the force. It is for these reasons that we judge the force to be inadequate at planning for demand in the future.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
City of London Police has been assessed as good in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force is good at treating all the people it serves with fairness and respect. It is also good in how it ensures that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. However, the force requires improvement in its approach to making sure it treats its workforce with fairness and respect. Our findings this year are consistent with last year’s findings, in which we judged the force to be good in respect of legitimacy.
City of London Police is good at treating all the people it serves with fairness and respect. The Code of Ethics has been incorporated into its policies and practice, officers and staff have a good knowledge of the code and its requirements. The force also engages well with its communities. However, it could do more to develop its understanding of the issues that have the greatest impact on public perceptions of fair and respectful treatment and, it should do more to demonstrate to the public that it has acted on feedback.
The force is good at ensuring that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. It reinforces standards of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour to its entire staff and has effective vetting policies and processes in place. As a result, it has developed and maintained an ethical culture. The force also effectively identifies threats to its integrity by robust and frequent monitoring of its staff. However, it should develop its counter-corruption strategy to meet the threats that the force has identified as well as improving its approach to identifying staff who seek to abuse their authority for sexual gain.
The force uses a range of methods to identify the areas that have the greatest effect on workforce perceptions of fair and respectful treatment. These include enabling the workforce to provide direct feedback to senior leaders and staff surveys. However, the force could do more to demonstrate how it has responded to staff concerns. This includes closer working with staff associations and networks. The force has invested considerably in reviewing and re-launching its personal development review process. However, the process lacks central oversight and the force has some work to do before it can be confident that it can demonstrate that its performance assessment for officers and staff is fair and effective.
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.
Police leadership is crucial in enabling a force to be effective, efficient and legitimate. This inspection focused on how a force understands, develops and displays leadership through its organisational development.
City of London Police works closely and effectively with its workforce to set out what it expects from its leaders at all levels in the organisation, and leadership expectations are well understood by the workforce and are promoted through the force’s leadership development programme. The force currently has very limited understanding of how its leadership skills at capabilities at different ranks and grades. This limits the force’s ability to identify and respond effectively to any gaps in staffing, although it is taking steps to address this and has taken on board feedback from HMIC’s 2015 inspection.
The force has a scheme to identify and develop talented individuals, and uses a range of tools to do so. However, it lacks a clear longer-term plan as to how these assessment tools should be used. Also, we found that not all of the workforce are aware of the scheme or have a clear understanding of what it aims to achieve. The force does not assess how effective training and development is at improving the skills of its staff. The force is, however, trying to widen its pool of talented staff through external recruitment.
The force culture welcomes challenges from officers and staff and ideas for innovative work. It looks for new ideas, approaches and working practices from across the police service and further afield, and asks staff who have suggested changes for help in implementing their ideas. The force has a good understanding of diversity that takes into account how diversity of background, experience and skills can strengthen its teams.
This section sets out the reports published by HMIC this year that help to better understand the performance of City of London Police.