Cumbria 2016Read more about Cumbria 2016
This is HMIC’s third PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Cumbria Constabulary. 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 constabulary is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime: not yet graded.
The extent to which the constabulary is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime is: good.
The extent to which the constabulary is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is: good.
The efficiency and legitimacy inspection findings are published below. My overall assessment of Cumbria’s performance will be published in spring 2017.
Michael Cunningham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
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.
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Cumbria Constabulary has been assessed as good in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
The constabulary has a proven track record of sound financial management and there is a well-managed change programme to oversee the continued development of services. There are plans for further investment in buildings, new technology and vehicles. While there are scalable plans to ensure that the constabulary can continue to provide an effective police service across Cumbria, these plans could be further developed to ensure that the constabulary has greater clarity on how it would continue to provide services with fewer resources, given the uncertainty of its future funding position.
Improving the way technology is used and developed is an important feature of the constabulary’s plans and it has made a significant investment in information technology to enable more flexible working. The constabulary has plans to share resources with Lancashire Constabulary and to collaborate with other blue light services, although it recognises that there is more work to do in strengthening partnership working arrangements across Cumbria. An existing collaboration with the National Health Service to introduce a multi-agency assessment and crisis centre is encouraging and has the potential to improve services for people with mental illness.
In responding to the winter 2015/16 flooding crisis across the county, the constabulary showed that it had learned from previous flooding events in 2005 and 2009 and as a result worked more effectively, including with partners.
There is a clear focus on ‘managing demand better’ as one of the most important business areas within Cumbria Constabulary’s new ‘Big 6’ framework of priorities. The constabulary has made changes to the way it responds to demand for its services by placing a number of police officers in the control room to manage calls and assess risk more effectively. The effects of this change will be considered in September 2016, as part of an ongoing review. Work to understand more complex demand within the constabulary’s crime command is still being developed. Until the results of this work are known, the constabulary cannot have a clear understanding of its demand.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Cumbria Constabulary has been assessed as good in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
The constabulary has a good understanding of the importance of providing positive and fair treatment for all members of the public. There are good arrangements in place to work with local communities and the constabulary’s workforce, and to understand their concerns. However, there are limited arrangements for the constabulary to proactively identify corruption when it has not been reported.
Cumbria Constabulary has established good arrangements to listen to the public and understand their concerns. The constabulary is addressing public priorities and people’s perceptions of whether they have been treated fairly and respectfully in the course of their involvement with the police.
The constabulary investigates complaints from the public thoroughly. There is a system in place to analyse trends and to promptly address problems concerning individual officers who are the subject of repeated complaints. All staff have a good awareness of the high standards of behaviour and integrity required of them, and regularly receive updates and reminders on the standards of behaviour expected.
The professional standards department is adequately resourced to receive, assess and manage intelligence in relation to wrongdoing and corruption from across the constabulary. However, while the constabulary can vet all new applicants, there is insufficient capacity to carry out the full range of vetting required under new guidelines of staff who have been in the constabulary for some time.
There are strong governance arrangements in place to oversee disciplinary cases, and members of the workforce are supported when they report wrongdoing. While there are confidential reporting lines available to officers and staff, there is only a limited amount of proactive investigation of wrongdoing.
There is a strong reliance on the relationship between an individual and their line manager to manage the wellbeing of staff and to understand their concerns. The constabulary has conducted an internal staff survey and is responding positively to the issues raised by the workforce through the introduction of a new wellbeing strategy, which will extend the current physical and emotional support available to the workforce.
Performance assessment occurs at management, team and individual level. The new performance assessment is centred on the constabulary’s ‘big six’ strategy that clearly sets out its ambition and values.
Current performance appraisal arrangements are immature and there is a need to improve the way information on staff progress, skills and development is recorded and managed by the constabulary.
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.
Cumbria Constabulary has clear expectations of its leaders. The senior leadership team has introduced a new vision and values for the constabulary, which is widely understood throughout the organisation. The constabulary used a staff survey to seek feedback and is addressing the concerns raised; staff feel that the chief officer team responded well to their feedback. Performance meetings at strategic, area and team level provide good accountability and allow managers to understand the relative strengths of leaders. However, the constabulary does not have a full understanding of the skills and potential of all its officers and staff because its new performance system is not fully in place. The new system is part of a strategy to identify potential senior leaders. The constabulary has leadership programmes, tailored to different ranks, and has plans for additional programmes.
Leadership problems are identified quickly and managed appropriately; emerging disciplinary issues are raised at an early stage. The constabulary plans to introduce ‘business improvement groups’ to seek new ideas from the workforce, but the workforce is not aware of these plans. At present, officers and staff can only make suggestions through the ‘ask the chief’ intranet forum or their line manager.
The constabulary is aiming to recruit and retain excellent police staff and officers to meet future needs and develop internal talent. There is scope to develop diverse leadership teams more widely. Recent selection processes have been internal, and have seen current members of the constabulary promoted, although the most recent senior appointment at chief officer rank was through an open recruitment process, and an assistant chief constable was recruited from outside Cumbria Constabulary.
This section sets out the reports published by HMIC this year that help to better understand the performance of Cumbria Constabulary.