Lincolnshire 2016Read more about Lincolnshire 2016
This is HMIC’s third PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Lincolnshire 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 is: good.
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 Lincolnshire’s performance will be published in spring 2017.
Zoë Billingham, 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?
Lincolnshire Police has been assessed as good in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force provides a good policing service to the communities of Lincolnshire at one of the lowest costs per head of population in England and Wales. It has a small workforce and a high reliance on local funding. It has entered into local partnerships, has outsourced to the private sector, and has undertaken extensive and wide ranging collaborative working. This means it saves money and brings a more efficient approach. HMIC considers that the force has done what can reasonably be expected to be as efficient as possible and yet it still faces an uncertain financial future due to its low funding base. It is likely that there will be service loss or degradation of policing services in Lincolnshire if further reductions are made to the workforce. In last year’s efficiency inspection, Lincolnshire Police was judged to require improvement.
Lincolnshire Police’s understanding of current, hidden and future demand is very good. The force uses a wide range of methods and approaches to understand demand across all areas. It recognises that it still needs to do more to encourage hard-to-reach individuals and groups to come forward. The force has done notable work to understand and to raise awareness of modern-day slavery.
The force uses its resources well to manage current demand, as HMIC also noted in 2015. It has a good understanding of the cost and quality of current service levels. It prioritises resources to meet demand and ensures its workforce has the right skills and capabilities.
The force has done what can be reasonably expected to become efficient and maximise value for money for the taxpayer while also providing an effective policing service to the communities of Lincolnshire. It provides one of the lowest costs per head of population police services in England and Wales in 2015/16, despite the force’s large geographic area and limited funds. It has a small workforce and a high reliance on local funding. It has entered into local partnerships, outsourced to the private sector, and undertaken extensive and wide-ranging collaborative work. This means it saves money and uses a more efficient approach.
However, the force is unlikely to be able to maintain the level of service it provides to the public in future if it has to make further savings by the last option available to it: further reducing frontline police officers and police community support officers (PCSOs). It is likely that there will be service loss or degradation of policing services in Lincolnshire if further reductions are made to the workforce.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Lincolnshire 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 force continues to reinforce the importance of treating people with fairness and respect. However, its capability to investigate corruption and integrity proactively is limited because there are insufficient staff, although when problems are identified it responds quickly. The force treats its workforce with fairness and respect and has a clear focus on their wellbeing.
Lincolnshire Police and its workforce understand the importance of treating the people they serve with fairness and respect, based on the force’s well-established vision and values. The force has an engagement plan to help it seek feedback from across the communities it serves (especially on those issues that have the greatest impact on people’s perceptions of fair and respectful treatment), to act on those issues and to demonstrate that it is doing so. However, the force could do more to demonstrate that it understands and responds to the wider public perception of fair and respectful treatment, particularly when involving those people who do not often come into contact with the police.
The force is working to improve trust and confidence in the police in communities where there are higher numbers of people from eastern Europe and other countries where English is not the first language. It engages with those who have less confidence in the police in order to increase their understanding of fair and respectful treatment, particularly those who may be fearful because of the police’s behaviour in their country of origin. The force recognised that victim satisfaction was negatively affected by a lack of information about the progress of an investigation and has now created a new team to improve contact with victims and witnesses.
Lincolnshire Police has continued to promote an ethical culture in which challenge and improvement are supported. The workforce are clear about expected standards of behaviour and feel able to challenge inappropriate behaviour. The force publishes details of gifts and hospitality to chief officers, and workforce business interests.
The force places significant emphasis on vetting to ensure the integrity of its workforce. However, its capability to investigate corruption and integrity proactively is limited because there are insufficient staff dedicated to this work, although the force responds quickly when problems are highlighted. The local counter-corruption threat assessment does not contain sufficient detail.
Although officers and staff recognise that the abuse of authority for sexual gain (taking advantage of a position of power to exploit vulnerable victims of crime) is serious corruption, the force has not taken sufficient steps to understand the risk in detail. It does not seek intelligence proactively about potential abuse of authority for sexual gain from external sources or through monitoring its IT systems.
Published misconduct data on the force intranet is not always up to date, and relatively little prominence is given to police staff disciplinary matters compared with police officers’ misconduct. This impairs the force’s ability to engage fully with its workforce on the outcomes of misconduct cases and to spread preventative messages.
Lincolnshire Police is good at ensuring that it treats its workforce with fairness and respect. It has a culture that encourages feedback, and it listens to staff and acts to solve problems. The force has an adequate understanding of workforce perceptions through a range of engagement channels, including surveys, seminars, and meetings with staff networks and associations.
The force has a clear focus on wellbeing and takes a preventative approach to the wellbeing of the workforce. For example, the force is raising awareness about mental health, and is training supervisors to identify early warning signs. The force intranet shows officers and staff how to find and access a range of health schemes that make up a comprehensive and accessible wellbeing programme, and the website gives practical advice on accessing other support services. Lincolnshire Police is not able to demonstrate that its performance assessment process is fair and effective because performance development reviews are not taking place annually for all members of the workforce.
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.
Lincolnshire Police engages effectively with its workforce to create leadership expectations that are clearly defined at all levels, and has a culture that encourages appropriate challenge. However, more could be done to ensure there is a well-developed understanding of what the force expects from its leaders in the lower ranks and grades.
The force provides a broad range of leadership development programmes and has a clear rationale for the techniques it uses to understand the relative strengths of its leadership. This understanding could be used more effectively by ensuring its leadership development programmes address the gaps identified in its leadership capability.
The force is very effective in the way it challenges itself to seek out new ideas from across the police service and further afield. The workforce perceive their workplace to be innovative and report that they can suggest new ideas and working practices in a straightforward way. The force has built strong links with local academic institutions.
The force’s understanding of diversity extends beyond protected characteristics, and takes into account how diversity of background, experience and skills can strengthen leadership teams, and the chief officer team regularly reviews senior leadership teams to redeploy staff and officers, having evaluated their wider expertise, experience, background and skills.
This section sets out the reports published by HMIC this year that help to better understand the performance of Lincolnshire Police.