Greater Manchester PEEL 2016
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Greater Manchester Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Our overall judgment is the same as last year, when we judged the force to be good. The force is committed to neighbourhood policing and its approach to tackling serious and organised crime is outstanding. The force has the necessary arrangements in place to ensure that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities. However, improvements are still needed in the standard of investigation and supervision. While addressing vulnerability remains its greatest priority, limitations at initial response can leave victims vulnerable to further harm.
Greater Manchester Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force is committed to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, and to making a difference for communities. The force introduced a new way of working which enhances its neighbourhood policing, and that continues to be the link between the community and the police. However, problem solving is inconsistent with some limitations as to how the force assesses what actually works.
When a crime occurs the force’s investigations vary. Serious crime is investigated to a high standard; however, this is not the case for other crime types. The force works well with other agencies to identify, investigate and bring to justice repeat and dangerous offenders and to reduce re-offending.
Greater Manchester Police is effective in identifying at an early stage those victims who may be vulnerable. It generally investigates crimes against vulnerable victims to an acceptable standard. However, on occasions, because of some flaws in the deployment process, vulnerable people wait an unacceptably long time for police attendance. On a more positive note, the force supports victims of domestic abuse and uses legislation well to place restrictions on perpetrators.
Greater Manchester Police has made positive steps to address the areas for improvement identified in HMIC’s 2015 effectiveness report. The force has a greater understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime. Neighbourhood officers understand their role in tackling organised crime and actively participate in disrupting crime groups. Co-ordinated work with partner organisations, such as children’s services, youth services and prisons, is of an exceptionally high standard. With this, there is a concerted effort to prevent people from being drawn into organised crime and to enhance the force’s lifetime offender management capability.
The force has appropriate arrangements in place to ensure that it can respond to national threats.
How effective is the force at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe?
Greater Manchester Police is good at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. It understands the threats facing its communities and uses information from across the force and from other local partner organisations to make sure these threats to all sections of its communities are well understood.
Through its new operating model, the force has reinforced its commitment to providing a policing service that has the interests of the local communities at its centre, as well as close and effective neighbourhood working with other partners. Neighbourhood policing continues to be the link between the community and the force through the dedicated neighbourhood beat officers and police community support officers (PCSOs). The force uses conventional engagement methods and social media to communicate with a wider audience.
The force works well with partner organisations to provide a collaborative problem-solving approach to dealing with community concerns. The use of problem solving at the local level is consistent. However, the force itself has a limited understanding of the importance of carrying out any evaluation of the overall process. The force has seen a reduction in incidents of anti-social behaviour; however, there is a notable rise in the amount of recorded crime.
Areas for improvement
- The force should adopt a structured and consistent problem solving process to enable it to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour more effectively.
How effective is the force at investigating crime and reducing re-offending?
Greater Manchester Police’s approach to investigating crime and reducing re-offending requires improvement.
The force allocates crime for investigation appropriately and officers possess the required level of skills. Within the control room, call takers correctly assess risk and generally gather sufficient information to assist in the early stages of investigation. However, following the initial gathering of evidence by the first attending officer, the subsequent handover to another investigator is limited and has an unacceptable standard of supervision. Despite the limitations with its investigations, the force continues to provide a quality service for victims of crime.
Greater Manchester Police manages offenders who pose the greatest threat to the public. Efforts to locate and arrest wanted persons are good and the force has an established approach to integrated offender management with a mixed cohort of offenders. However, the force has large numbers of registered sex offenders being managed by an insufficient number of staff. The force has a backlog of computer devices to be reviewed. This is a concern, as it is not able to identify how much risk exists within those devices.
Areas for improvement
- The force should take steps to ensure that all available evidence is recorded at scenes of crime.
- The force should ensure that there is regular and active supervision of investigations to improve quality and progress.
- The force should improve its ability to retrieve digital evidence from computers and other electronic devices quickly enough to ensure that investigations are not delayed.
- The force should ensure that the risks posed by registered sex offenders are managed effectively.
How effective is the force at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims?
The way in which Greater Manchester Police protects those who are vulnerable from harm and supports victims requires improvement. While the force has continued to build on its support and provision of services to vulnerable people, some elements have slipped following the introduction of the new policing model.
The force is strong at identifying vulnerability at the first point of contact; however, we have concerns with the initial response that follows initial deployment. The force’s process following deployment is flawed. How officers complete domestic abuse, stalking and harassment risk assessments has some limitations. The force’s ability to review and refer medium-risk domestic abuse incidents suffers a shortfall.
Despite these concerns, the force works well with partner agencies such as health and education; and provides effective safeguarding support through the use of restrictive orders such as domestic violence protection orders; and supports the ‘domestic violence disclosure scheme. It has continued to build the picture it has on hidden crime such as child sexual exploitation and on domestic abuse and it is working towards increasing its understanding of modern day slavery. The availability of body-worn video cameras enhances the force’s ability to gather significant evidence when first attending incidents of domestic abuse.
Areas for improvement
- The force should take steps to ensure that the response to all incidents is determined by an accurate assessment of the risk and harm and not the availability of response officers.
- The force should ensure that response officers become more proficient in completing risk assessments at initial response and there is sufficient supervisory oversight to ensure opportunities to safeguard vulnerable victims are not missed.
- The force should ensure that there is a timely review of all vulnerability risk assessments to ensure that safeguarding is implemented at the earliest opportunity.
How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime?
Greater Manchester Police is outstanding in how effective it is in tackling serious and organised crime. The force has improved from HMIC’s 2015 effectiveness report in which it was assessed as good.
Tackling serious and organised crime is a priority for the force and its partner organisations. Frontline staff have a comprehensive understanding of their role in disrupting crime groups. Partnership arrangements are very well developed and there is an obvious commitment for all agencies to work together in targeting those individuals who cause the greatest harm to communities. All elements of the national strategy (pursue, prevent, protect and prepare) are actively followed with some innovative means of diverting young people from being drawn into organised crime.
The force has an advanced capacity and capability to deal with the organised crime groups that create the greatest threat and additional support is provided by the regional organised crime unit. Lifetime offender management is well advanced with numerous examples of both the use of ancillary orders and other civil powers to place restrictions on offenders. We are impressed with the work the force is doing with the prison service and this is particularly pertinent in the proactive work undertaken in getting offenders returned to prison based on intelligence information only.
How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?
Greater Manchester Police has effective specialist capabilities and has appropriate plans in place to mobilise in response to the threats set out in the Strategic Policing Requirement. The force regularly takes part in regional exercises to test these plans and makes amendments following the lessons learned from such tests. Over the past 12 months, the force has taken part in more than 20 exercises.
The resources available to Greater Manchester Police, both locally and through the North West region, ensure that the force is well prepared to respond to an attack requiring an armed response. The force has recently started to recruit officers into the force to support the national uplift in capacity and capability; it has an effective training regime that will support the planned implementation of the enhanced number of resources.