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HMIC to extend inspection remit to fire & rescue services

In order to reflect this new programme of inspections, HMIC will change its name to HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS)

Surrey PEEL 2016

Effectiveness

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

Last updated 02/03/2017
Good

Surrey Police is good in respect of its effectiveness at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Our overall judgment this year is an improvement on last year, when we judged the force to require improvement.

The force still needs to improve how it investigates and supervises less serious crime. However, there have been marked improvements in the way it safeguards those who are vulnerable from harm and the way it supports victims. The force has also improved its response to serious and organised crime and has the specialist capabilities necessary to prepare for national threats.

Surrey Police is good at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. It is committed to keeping neighbourhood policing at the heart of its service. The force uses a structured problem-solving approach and works well with partner organisations. However, the force has a limited understanding of the threats facing its communities, and it needs to communicate more effectively with local people to obtain their views about neighbourhood priorities.

The way in which the force investigates crime and manages offenders still requires improvement. It has made some progress since last year. For example, it has increased the number of specialist staff investigating more complex and serious crimes, and has reduced the backlog of mobile phones and computers awaiting forensic examination. However, the force needs to improve the standard of investigation of less serious crime (such as minor criminal damage) and the supervision of these cases. The force recognises this and has provided additional training and mentoring for officers, and has employed agency staff in supporting roles. Nevertheless, some frontline officers and staff still do not have the skills to investigate some of the crimes that are allocated to them.

The force should also consider widening its approach to integrated offender management to maximise its impact on reducing threat, harm and risk. It also needs to ensure that suspects and offenders who are listed as being wanted on the police national computer, people who fail to appear on police bail, named and outstanding suspects, and suspects identified through forensic evidence are found quickly, and arrested.

Surrey Police is good at protecting people who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims. The force has made considerable improvements since 2015 and now has a good understanding of the nature and scale of vulnerability in its local area. Officers and staff understand their responsibility to assess and safeguard vulnerable people at the earliest opportunity. The force responds well to vulnerable people based on its assessment of vulnerability and risk at the initial point of contact. Improvements to its IT systems would allow the force to make a more robust assessment of vulnerability and risk.

The force has also improved its response to serious and organised crime. It has a better understanding of the threats posed to its communities, and neighbourhood officers are used effectively to collect intelligence and disrupt organised crime groups in their areas. However, the force should take steps to identify those people who might be at risk of being drawn into serious and organised crime, and work with other organisations to deter offending.

Surrey Police has good plans to ensure that it can respond to the threats set out in the Strategic Policing Requirement, including firearms incidents. It collaborates with Sussex Police and the two forces have effective procedures to test their preparedness to respond to civil emergencies and public order incidents. The force has a comprehensive training programme for firearms officers and firearms commanders, which is often carried out jointly with other forces in the south east region.

Questions for Effectiveness

1

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

Surrey Police is good at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. It is committed to keeping neighbourhood policing at the heart of its service. Specialist neighbourhood officers are rarely taken away from their core roles to carry out other functions such as policing public order or football matches.

The force is good at addressing some of its most problematic, ‘chronic and enduring’ crime and anti-social behaviour problems. It uses a structured problem-solving approach, employing a range of tactics to prevent crime and disorder. It works well with partner agencies and has a well-established and effective anti-social behaviour team. We found numerous examples of the force and its partners tackling crime and disorder effectively.

However, the force does not do enough to understand the threats facing vulnerable communities. It does not have the neighbourhood profiles which would provide much of that information. There is some good ad hoc engagement by neighbourhood officers, but the force should communicate with the public in a more structured way.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should work with local people and partner organisations to improve its understanding of local communities, including those which are harder to reach such as migrant communities or elderly people.
  • The force should evaluate and share effective practice routinely, both internally and with partners, continually to 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?

Surrey Police’s approach to investigating crime and managing offenders requires improvement. This is consistent with the findings of HMIC’s effectiveness inspections in 2014 and 2015, in which we also found that the way the force investigated offending required improvement.

Some progress has been made. Over the last 12 months there has been a reduction in the backlog of mobile phones and computers that need to be forensically examined and there has been an increase in specialist staff, and improved supervision in the safeguarding investigation units (SIUs). However, the quality of many investigations remains poor.

The force recognises that it needs to improve the standard of investigations of less serious crime and it is working hard to address this through increased training provision, employing agency staff to support officers, and mentoring. However, some frontline staff still do not have the skills to investigate some of the crimes which are allocated to them. In addition, some supervisors do not review and endorse crime investigations or they are insufficiently trained to do so. The quality of arrest handover packages between officers is also poor.

The Policing in Your Neighbourhood (PIYN) model, implemented in April 2016, has made significant changes to how the force operates. The chief constable and his team are confident the changes will result in improvements in the longer term, and this view is supported by many officers and staff.

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • The force should ensure that all investigations are completed to a consistently good standard, and in a timely manner. There should be regular and active supervision of investigations to improve quality and progress.
  • The force should improve its ability to retrieve digital evidence from mobile phones, computers and other electronic devices quickly enough to ensure that investigations are not delayed.
  • The force should ensure that people who are circulated as being wanted on the police national computer, people who fail to appear on police bail, named and outstanding suspects, and suspects identified through forensic evidence are swiftly found and arrested.
  • The force should ensure that people who are circulated as being wanted on the police national computer, people who fail to appear on police bail, named and outstanding suspects, and suspects identified through forensic evidence are swiftly found and arrested.
3

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

Since our vulnerability inspection in 2015, Surrey Police has made a huge effort to improve its response to vulnerable people. The force now has a good understanding of the nature and scale of vulnerability across the force area. Officers and staff are aware of their responsibility to assess and safeguard vulnerable people at the earliest opportunity, and the initial assessment process is good. There is improved governance, partnership working and data sharing and dissemination. A missing person profile is being published and there is considerable investment in safeguarding through additional officers, staff and supervisors within specialist public protection teams. Additional training has been provided across the force to emphasise that safeguarding is not simply the role of specialist teams.

There is still room for improvement, however. The force is still unable to identify a repeat victim by name alone when the initial call is received. Also, the domestic abuse arrest rate is in line with the England and Wales rate but the force itself has seen a 10.1 percentage point fall in the 12 months to 30 June 2016 compared to the 12 months to 31 March 2016. The force needs to improve its understanding of the reasons for this and take appropriate action.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should ensure that it can identify repeat victims (including domestic abuse victims) when an initial call is received, so that the assessment of risk can be identified at the earliest opportunity.
  • The force should improve its understanding of the reasons for the declining domestic abuse arrest and charge/summons rate and take appropriate action to address it.
4

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

Surrey Police has a better understanding of the threats posed to its communities by serious and organised crime since our 2015 effectiveness inspection, but still has more to do. Local profiles created for each of the three divisions include a sound understanding of emerging and traditional serious and organised crime threats, but contain limited intelligence and information from partnership agencies such as health and education.

The force has improved greatly its mapping of OCGs in the last year and has a much clearer understanding of the threats and risks posed by those OCGs that cause the most harm.
Surrey Police responds well to serious and organised crime, and neighbourhood officers are used effectively to help the disruption, dismantling and investigation of OCGs. They are well-briefed and play a regular and active part in collecting intelligence about OCGs in their areas. There are effective working relationships with the anti-social behaviour team, and these relationships result in good use of ancillary orders such as criminal behaviour orders.

The force obtains specialist support from south east regional organised crime unit (SEROCU) and has carried out several successful operations to target OCGs. However, the force does not measure the impact of the activity it carries out to disrupt OCGs or share learning systematically to improve its effectiveness.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should further develop its serious and organised local crime profiles in conjunction with partner organisations 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 take steps to identify those people who are at risk of being drawn into serious and organised crime, and ensure that preventative projects are put in place with partner organisations to deter them from offending.
  • The force should improve its understanding, across the government’s national 4P framework, of the impact of its activity against serious and organised crime, and ensure that it learns from experience to maximise the force’s disruptive effect on this activity.
5

How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?

Surrey Police has good plans to mobilise in response to the threats set out in the Strategic Policing Requirement. It works well with other forces in the region when the need arises.

The force is well prepared to respond to an attack which requires an armed response. The force has recently reviewed its assessment of threat, risk and harm and this now explicitly includes the threats posed by marauding armed terrorists. To be appropriately prepared for this threat Surrey Police plans to increase its firearms capacity and capability, both as part of a national programme to increase the capability and capacity of trained firearms officers but also through local projects. The force is progressing with the implementation of these plans.

Ungraded