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Devon and Cornwall 2016

Read more about Devon and Cornwall 2016

This is HMIC’s third PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Devon and Cornwall 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 legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is: good.

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

Wendy Williams, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary

Contact Wendy Williams


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


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

Last updated 03/11/2016
Requires improvement

Devon and Cornwall Police has been assessed as requiring improvement in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force’s understanding of current and future demand is limited and it does not have a developed target operating model on which to base its current and future plans for allocating resources and managing demand.

Devon and Cornwall Police’s understanding of current, and likely future, demand is limited to traditional responsive policing. The force also lacks a full understanding of likely changes in demand and the impact this might have on its future capacity to sustain efficient policing. HMIC is disappointed that despite our findings in the 2015 efficiency inspection, Devon and Cornwall Police has not made enough progress in developing a new operating model to manage demand through to 2020 and beyond. As a consequence, it is unable to identify its capacity and capability requirements, including its workforce and assets, either now or in the future, to a sufficient degree of accuracy. Since the inspection in 2015 the force received a far more favourable financial settlement than expected, which has reduced the need for immediate savings. However efficiencies need to be made and while the force has some plans to align its resources to meet demand, they are not soundly based.

The force does, however, have ambitious plans to collaborate in an alliance with Dorset Police. Progress has been made to merge some services and the alliance intends to combine others, including ICT. The force has a good track record of achieving budgetary savings and has healthy reserves. The majority of savings the force plans to make by 2019/20 will come from its strategic alliance.

HMIC concludes that the current and future management of demand and resources by the force does not yet provide an assurance that the future for policing across Devon and Cornwall is sustainable.

View the three questions for efficiency


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

Last updated 08/12/2016

Devon and Cornwall Police has been assessed as good in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our findings this year are consistent with last year’s findings, in which we judged the force to be good in respect of legitimacy.

The workforce has a good understanding of the importance of treating people with fairness and respect, and makes improvements where concerns are identified. It could do more to seek feedback from those with less trust and confidence in the police. The force needs to improve the way it identifies and intervenes early to reduce risks to its integrity, particularly through analysis, vetting and auditing. The force is good at identifying and responding to workforce concerns and supporting workforce wellbeing, but needs to improve perceptions of the fairness and effectiveness of individual performance management.

The importance of treating people with fairness and respect is reflected well in Devon and Cornwall Police’s mission statement. The force uses different methods to engage with the public and gather information about the origins of negative and positive perceptions of the police. It provides feedback on lessons learned to its workforce and promotes understanding.

The force’s performance assessment system is mature and survey work has helped it gain a thorough understanding of the communities it serves; its high levels of public satisfaction confirm it is strongly committed to improving how it treats all the people it serves. The force vets new officers, staff and volunteers in an appropriate way; however HMIC found that 326 individuals had no current vetting in place. It is also unclear what effect its vetting process is having on its recruitment of a diverse workforce.

The force effectively clarifies and reinforces acceptable and unacceptable standards of behaviour. It engages with the public and its workforce about the outcomes of misconduct and corruption cases.

The force must ensure it has a clear grasp of areas of known risk, and that it consistently identifies and tackles emerging misconduct threats. The force sees the abuse of authority for sexual gain as serious corruption. It publishes the outcomes of misconduct cases internally and externally.

Positively, elements of the force’s approach are outstanding. The force takes wellbeing seriously and acts positively to identify and understand the workforce’s wellbeing needs. We found good evidence of the force addressing the cultural impact of changes in advance of making these changes, to help secure emotional engagement from the workforce.

The workforce’s views of the purpose and value of performance appraisal system are mixed. Devon and Cornwall Police’s alliance with Dorset Police offers greater opportunities to ensure workforce appraisal systems are used consistently, effectively and fairly.

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.


Last updated 08/12/2016

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.

Devon and Cornwall Police has clear and well-established leadership expectations which are effectively communicated and understood across the workforce. The force shows some understanding of its leadership capability across its workforce and has some ability to identify gaps and concerns. It uses a variety of methods to understand leadership strengths and capabilities. It should, however, take steps to understand the full set of skills of each individual and give greater consideration to how it identifies and prioritises leadership concerns across different ranks, grades, teams and departments.

The force is clearly committed to talent management: it has a variety of mechanisms to provide support to, and ensure the progression of, some of its most gifted individuals. However, its evaluation of them is currently limited. Further, it does not appear to be developing diverse leadership teams in a consistent way that acknowledges the experience, backgrounds and skills it will need. HMIC recognises that the force has done some work to address gender imbalances. However, we consider that the force would benefit from a deeper understanding of how effectively its programmes and activities have addressed leadership shortcomings, supported lateral development and secured participation from police staff and officers in all under-represented groups.

The force demonstrates a proactive approach to seeking out new ideas, approaches and working practices from other police and non-police organisations. It also encourages ideas from its workforce. We found that the development of its wellbeing programme was a particularly strong example of how the workforce’s views can influence the force’s approach.

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 Devon and Cornwall Police.

View other reports

Key facts

Force Area

3,965 square miles


1.71m people 6% local 10 yr change


78% frontline 78% national level
3.0 per 1000 population 3.6 national level
16% change in local workforce since 2010 15% national change since 2010

Victim-based crimes

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


46p 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.