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Northumbria PEEL 2016

Effectiveness

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

Last updated 02/03/2017
Good

Northumbria Police has been assessed as good in respect of its effectiveness at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Our findings this year are the same as last year’s assessment, in which we judged the force to be good in respect of effectiveness. The force has an effective approach to reducing crime and anti-social behaviour and is good at tackling serious and organised crime. Its response to the management of vulnerability is good. Certain areas of the force’s work require improvement, particularly the investigation of crime and reducing re-offending.

Northumbria Police’s overall effectiveness at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good. The force also has some elements of outstanding practice in the way that it supports vulnerable victims.

The force has an effective approach to preventing crime and keeping people safe. Designated neighbourhood teams provide policing at a community level. The force understands its communities, and it has effective methods of communicating with the public, and of obtaining feedback, and it gives the public an opportunity to influence the force’s priorities.

Northumbria Police has provided training in relevant powers to give its officers and staff the ability to deal with crime and anti-social behaviour effectively. However, the understanding of problem solving at a local level is mixed.

The force’s initial investigation of crime is good. Officers with the appropriate investigative skills are allocated to crimes, and they complete investigations to a high standard. However, the force has an inconsistent approach to investigations of stalking and harassment, resulting in a mixed level in the quality of investigations. There are very long delays before digital evidence is examined.

In more serious cases, such as rape, the force provides an excellent service to victims. It has robust supervisory oversight, good use of risk-assessments and a very good support service to vulnerable victims. This same level of service is also given to victims of domestic abuse, and to vulnerable victims in general.

The force is very good at using a variety of methods to gather intelligence and manage organised criminals at a strategic and local level. It also makes good use of the range of powers which are available to disrupt members of organised crime groups.

Northumbria Police has effective arrangements in place to ensure that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities.

Questions for Effectiveness

1

How effective is the force at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe?

Northumbria Police is good at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. The force is aware of the threats it faces and it works with other public service organisations at a local level to understand the nature of these threats. The force is committed to neighbourhood policing, and local teams spend most of their time working within the communities they serve. The force intends to improve its problem-solving model by using a more structured method which will allow it to learn from good practice. The force does extensive regular work engaging with the public, and it uses a variety of methods to do this. The force should review and improve the range of methods it uses to communicate with new and emerging communities, and with some existing communities which might not, in the past, have been willing to take part in traditional forms of engagement.

The force is making efforts to develop its evidence on good practice. It has started to obtain independent evaluation of projects and it has established a ‘learning zone’ as a database of good practice so that officers can learn lessons in order to improve the service which the force provides to the public.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should evaluate and share effective practice routinely, both internally and with partners, to continually improve its approach to the prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour.
2

How effective is the force at investigating crime and reducing re-offending?

Northumbria Police requires improvement in its approach to investigating crime and reducing re-offending. The force is good at identifying vulnerability at the first point of contact and then mitigating risks. The force has continued to improve its service to victims and the service is of a consistently high standard. All officers and staff understand their role in investigating crimes and supporting victims.

Officers investigate crimes involving vulnerable victims to a high standard. Good processes ensure that victims are well supported and are updated regularly about the progress of investigations. The force works well with other public services and provides effective safeguarding support through the use of restrictive orders such as domestic violence prevention notices. The force is particularly effective at arresting domestic abuse perpetrators.

The force has a backlog of outstanding digital evidence. We are concerned that there might be risks within that evidence which have not yet been identified. This might include unidentified victims, as well as suspects who have not yet been identified. In addition, such a backlog prevents offenders from being brought to justice quickly, and prolongs the time before victims are able receive justice.

Requires improvement

Cause of concern

The force’s ability to examine digital devices is causing severe delays, hampering the quality of investigations and undermining the service provided to victims.

Recommendations

The force should immediately take steps to:

  • assess and understand the risk associated with devices currently awaiting examination;
  • reduce the number of devices awaiting examination, and the time taken to examine each device; and
  • create an effective and sustainable system to ensure that new devices are prioritised and examined quickly enough that the timeliness and quality of investigations are not compromised.

Areas for improvement

  • The force should widen its approach to integrated offender management to maximise its impact on reducing threat, harm and risk. There should be clear measures of success which enable the force to evaluate how effectively it is protecting the public from prolific and harmful offenders.
3

How effective is the force at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims?

Northumbria Police is good at identifying vulnerability at the first point of contact and then mitigating risks. The force has continued to improve its service to victims and the service is of a consistently high standard. All officers and staff understand their role in investigating crimes and supporting victims.

Officers investigate crimes involving vulnerable victims to a high standard. Good processes ensure that victims are well supported and are updated regularly about the progress of investigations. The force works well with other public services and provides effective safeguarding support through the use of restrictive orders such as domestic violence prevention notices. The force is particularly effective at arresting domestic abuse perpetrators.

The force has a backlog of outstanding digital evidence. We are concerned that there might be risks within that evidence which have not yet been identified. This might include unidentified victims, as well as suspects who have not yet been identified. In addition, such a backlog prevents offenders from being brought to justice quickly, and prolongs the time before victims are able receive justice. Despite the good work which the force is doing to support vulnerable victims, this problem affects the force’s overall effectiveness in this area.

Good
4

How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime?

Northumbria Police has a good understanding of the risk and threat posed by serious and organised crime. This is informed through its use of problem profiles such as the serious and organised local crime profile as well as other more bespoke profiles such as those which deal with child sexual exploitation, domestic abuse and sex workers. Northumbria Police actively disrupts the activities of organised crime groups (OCGs), and uses disruption and enforcement tactics effectively.

The force effectively manages existing offenders through the use of ancillary and civil orders and works well with other public services to tackle organised crime. It also ensures that all its resources, including those at neighbourhood level, work together to disrupt and dismantle OCGs.

Northumbria Police keeps the public informed of its work which aims to tackle serious and organised crime by using the media to communicate with the public.

The force needs to improve the way it works with other public services when it shares information and co-ordinates activity around the disruption of OCGs. This is co-ordinated via Operation Magnet at a local level. The force should consider working with other public services to improve its projects, which are intended to prevent people from being drawn into serious and organised crime.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should further develop its serious and organised crime local profile in conjunction with other interested parties to enhance its understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime and inform joint activity aimed at reducing this threat.
  • The force should engage routinely with partner agencies at a senior level to enhance intelligence sharing and promote an effective, multi-agency response to serious and organised crime.
  • The force should take steps to identify those at risk of being drawn into serious and organised crime, and ensure that preventative initiatives are put in place with partner organisations to deter them from offending.
5

How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?

Northumbria Police has adequate plans in place to mobilise resources in response to the threats set out in the Strategic Policing Requirement. The force takes part in regional exercises and has conducted some internal exercises to test these plans. These exercises are used as a method of learning, and do inform changes to plans and procedures.

The resources available to Northumbria Police, both locally and through the regional service level agreement, ensure that the force is well-prepared to respond to a firearms attack. The force has substantially increased its numbers of armed officers, is to recruit more. Northumbria Police has the capability and capacity to respond to any threats including a marauding terrorist firearms attack, and has the ability to respond to multiple attacks using its own resources should additional support take time to arrive.

Ungraded