Humberside 2016Read more about Humberside 2016
This is HMIC’s third PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Humberside 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 requires improvement.
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.
Michael Cunningham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
While I am satisfied with parts of Humberside Police’s overall performance, there are several areas that are of serious concern to me. Humberside Police has made some progress over the past year, but more needs to be done.
I am particularly concerned about Humberside Police’s weaknesses in identifying and addressing the needs of the most vulnerable people. The force has inconsistent processes for assessing the vulnerability of people when they contact the police, and there are too many occasions when the force does not respond promptly to those needing their help.
I brought these shortcomings to the attention of the force last year. I am disappointed that they have not been adequately addressed.
The standard of investigations undertaken by Humberside Police is inconsistent. The more complex crimes are investigated to a high standard by specialist detectives. However, by contrast, investigations of more frequent, less serious offences are less effective.
Some investigators do not receive the guidance and supervision that they need. I am pleased with improvements which mean that Humberside Police is now good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour, and it remains good at disrupting serious and organised crime. I am encouraged by the way the force works with prolific offenders to deter them from causing further harm.
Since last year’s assessment, Humberside Police has improved its understanding of the demand for its services and the way in which it manages calls from the public. However, the force needs to continue this progression, and it also needs to develop a better understanding of likely future demand for its services. Despite some improvements in the availability of officers, I remain concerned about the force’s capacity to respond to calls from the public. The force needs to match its resources more effectively to the demands it faces to improve its service.
I am reassured that the force has financial plans based on sound assumptions. It has identified gaps in the knowledge and skills of the workforce, which it is starting to address through recruitment. The force is planning to invest substantially in technology over the next two years.
Humberside Police actively seeks feedback about the extent to which it treats members of the public with fairness and respect, including from those who may have less trust and confidence in the police.
The force uses a variety of methods to identify issues that affect the workforce’s perceptions of fair and respectful treatment, but it could do more to demonstrate how the feedback is used to make improvements. The force has a good understanding of local and national corruption threats, and uses this to prevent police corruption. However, the force could do more to identify officers who have abused – or are at risk of abusing – their authority for sexual gain (that is, taking advantage of a position of power to exploit vulnerable victims of crime).
Humberside Police has made some improvements since my assessment last year. However, I am disappointed that the force has not made further progress, and it needs to move quickly and effectively to provide a consistently good service to the public. I remain in regular contact with the force leadership to support these improvements.
Humberside Police provides policing services to the East Riding of Yorkshire, Kingston-upon-Hull, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. Humberside has a high level of poverty, although there are some more affluent areas.
The force area is home to around 0.9 million people, who mainly live in the city of Kingston-upon-Hull, as well as the towns of Bridlington, Scunthorpe and Grimsby. The resident population is increased by university students and the large numbers who visit or travel through the area each year. The transport infrastructure includes 83 miles of motorway and trunk roads and major sea ports.
The proportion of areas in Humberside that are predicted (on the basis of detailed economic and demographic analysis) to present a very high challenge to the police is higher than 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 which 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.
Hull has been awarded UK City of Culture for 2017. The charitable trust team is now working to provide 365 days of cultural activity throughout 2017. The City of Culture and the events will increase the number of visitors to the city throughout the year.
Humberside Police collaborates with South Yorkshire Police on human resources and criminal justice functions, and on the development of joint information and communications technology projects, such as hand-held mobile data devices. They have also merged some of their operational policing functions, such as roads policing, firearms and the dog section.
Humberside Police also collaborates with other police forces in the Yorkshire and Humber region to provide a range of specialist policing services. The force takes the lead in providing regional police services for both underwater search and public order mobilisation.
The force’s vehicle fleet and maintenance services are run in collaboration with the Humberside Fire and Rescue service. The force meets with local authorities to consider opportunities to work together to reduce demand and improve services.
Looking ahead to 2017
In the year ahead, I will be interested to see how Humberside Police 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 response to vulnerable victims;
- how the force improves the standard of its investigations;
- how the force improves its understanding of the current and likely future demands for its services; and
- how the force better matches its resources to the demands it faces.
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Humberside Police requires improvement in how it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our overall judgment this year is the same as last year, when we also judged the force to require improvement. The force does not consistently identify vulnerable people, and its response to victims needing urgent help is sometimes unacceptably delayed. Its investigation of crime also requires improvement. Victims receive a good service from specialist investigators, but other investigations are inconsistent. In contrast, the force works well with other organisations to prevent crime, tackles serious and organised crime effectively and it is well prepared to address nationally-identified threats.
Humberside Police is good at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. Officers and police and community support officers understand the risk and harm within communities, and they work effectively with partner organisations to resolve local problems.
In overall terms, the ability of Humberside Police to investigate crime requires improvement. When victims of crime first make contact with the force it is not certain that their immediate needs will be properly assessed. In instances where the service provided lacks urgency, important evidence can be lost and victims unnecessarily exposed to harm.
The quality of investigation is inconsistent. Crimes such as theft which occur in high volumes are sometimes investigated poorly due to a lack of proper guidance and supervision. This contrasts with the enquiries of specialist investigators, who are better trained and victim-focused. These shortcomings were brought to the attention of the force in 2015. It is disappointing that they have not been addressed more comprehensively.
The force’s procedures to assess the initial risk of vulnerable victims within the control room are weak and are not subject to effective supervision. There are therefore occasions when the force is failing victims.
Humberside Police is good at tackling serious and organised crime, and has maintained its performance in this area since HMIC’s 2015 effectiveness report. The force is also in an appropriate state of readiness to address the national threats set out in the Strategic Policing Requirement. The force forms part of an effective collaboration with other forces in the Humber and Yorkshire region, and there are tried and tested arrangements in place for responding to major crime, acts of terrorism, and other emergencies.
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Humberside Police has been assessed as requires improvement in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
Although the force has improved its understanding of demand and the way in which it manages calls from the public since the last inspection, HMIC found that Humberside Police’s approach to managing demand is a cause of concern. It needs to make more effective use of its current resources and do more to improve the way it plans to meet future demand.
Humberside Police has some understanding of reactive demand based on recorded incidents and crime; it also has some understanding of preventative demand based on its analysis of demands from key crime types and its internal review of neighbourhood policing. This is an improvement in the force’s position since our last efficiency inspection in 2015. The force can do more to develop its understanding of current and likely future demand, particularly working with partners.
The force has taken some steps to match better its resources to demand, it now has improved its response to calls from the public and more officers are available to attend incidents because of the changes in the shift pattern and flexible working arrangements. However, the service to the public is inconsistent and can be poor on occasions because the workforce plan is still not properly aligned to the operating model. The rostered number of officers is below the minimum identified as necessary to meet uniform and detective responsibilities. On occasions priority incidents are attended late or unallocated, meaning services to the public are not consistently meeting the standards set by the force.
The force has a medium-term financial plan based on sound assumptions. It has identified workforce gaps that it is starting to fill and its properly funded ICT strategy is designed to deliver increased efficiencies and improved services for the public.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Humberside Police has been assessed as good in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
Humberside Police understands the importance of treating the people it serves with fairness and respect, actively seeking feedback and challenge from the community about the extent to which it does so. The force has a good understanding of local and national corruption threats, and has a robust vetting process in place.
Humberside Police understands the importance of treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. This is intrinsic to its vision and values, which are well understood by the workforce. The force actively seeks feedback and challenge about the extent to which it treats members of the public with fairness and respect, including those from new or emerging communities and those groups that have less trust and confidence in the police.
The force listens to and acts on information from communities, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, independent custody visitors and others within discrete business areas. However, the force website does not describe the force’s accumulated activities in response to feedback to improve treatment and fairness.
The force has a good understanding of local and national corruption threats, and these have informed its intelligence requirements and prevention activities. The force has a robust vetting process, including reviews in advance of a role change or promotion. It clarifies and reinforces expected standards of behaviour to those in post using, for example, posters and proactive professional development days to discuss ethical dilemmas.
The force has a good range of approaches to gather timely intelligence, in line with approved practice, but it could do more to identify officers who have abused – or are at risk of abusing – their authority for sexual gain.
The force publicises misconduct hearings for police officers and police staff, and shares the outcomes internally with staff and on the force’s website. It has also acted on all five recommendations from HMIC’s 2014 police integrity and corruption inspection.
The force has a range of methods – including a staff forum – to identify issues that affect the workforce’s perceptions of fair and respectful treatment, but it could do more to show how feedback has been used to make improvements.
The force values the benefits of workforce wellbeing and has established good provision to support it. Supervisors are adequately prepared and supported in their wellbeing responsibilities.
The force’s individual performance assessment process was not effective at the time of the inspection. It launched a new one in June 2016. The force’s processes to tackle poor individual performance were unsatisfactory.
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.
Humberside Police is currently investing considerable effort and resources to develop its leadership strategy and ‘Leading Together’ programme. The force has involved its workforce in developing clear leadership expectations. HMIC found that, despite these efforts, awareness is still inconsistent across the workforce, particularly among operational officers. The force is aware that police staff have yet to be included in the process. In addition, the force does not collect evidence systematically about the individual performance of officers and staff, partly because the current performance appraisal process is ineffective. The force has recognised this, and, at the time of our inspection, was implementing a new system to be launched in June 2016. This aims to identify strengths and development areas, and also to provide information to improve the continuing professional development of the workforce.
The force has introduced a leadership development programme, but has yet to evaluate it. It is positive that the force has started to assess the impact of individual aspects of the programme by using personality type profiling and by providing in-depth feedback so that officers can identify areas for development. Humberside Police has a more limited and less systematic method of identifying future leaders than some other forces. The force has engaged with the national Direct Entry scheme at police inspector level, and the internal Fast Track to inspector programme. However, it does not have a wider talent management system to identify and develop potential future leaders within its existing workforce.
The force is seeking new ideas and ways of working from across the police service, academia and industry, as well as collaborating with local police forces. It searches for, and uses ideas which have been suggested by officers and staff. It has run recruitment exercises and has used other means of attracting new talent to the force, but these do not appear to be linked to a clear sense of what the force needs in the future. In addition, although the force has an understanding of diversity within its leadership teams which extends beyond protected characteristics, we found that at the moment the force is not doing enough to ensure that it is building diverse teams through recruitment or selection processes.
This section sets out the reports published by HMIC this year that help to better understand the performance of Humberside Police.