West Mercia 2016Read more about West Mercia 2016
This is HMIC’s third PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of West Mercia 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 West Mercia’s performance will be published in spring 2017.
Wendy Williams, 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?
West Mercia Police is good in how efficient it is at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force has a comprehensive understanding of its current and likely future demand and makes use of a range of demand tools; there are also plans to introduce predictive analytics. The force uses its resources to manage demand well and is changing the composition of the workforce to meet the challenges of the future. The force is working towards establishing a new operating model which is part of its Vision 2020 plan for the future. The force’s change programme is robust and subject to external oversight, and the force is making good use of commercial partners to bring specialist skills and expertise to deliver Vision 2020.
The force has a strategic alliance with Warwickshire Police (the alliance), whereby all posts below deputy chief constable are shared. Both forces share a single vision and set of values and work to a harmonised set of policies. As a result, practice and procedures should be the same in both forces, and, in this inspection, HMIC found that to be the case. Therefore, save for specific localised examples, all references to the force can be read as applying equally to the alliance.
The force is good at understanding the current and likely future demand for its services. Its intelligence analysis supports the daily management meeting and extensive demand analysis has led to changes to the composition of the workforce. This ensures that resources are aligned to the areas of greatest need. The force intends to refine this understanding by recruiting an analyst to record real-time demand data from all of the force’s ICT systems. It has also carried out further research to deepen its understanding of secondary demand, for example the time invested in the investigation of offences.
The force is good at using its resources to manage current demand. The force’s priorities are identified in a forward-looking strategic assessment, and an accompanying control strategy ensures that they are properly resourced.
The force’s people strategy outlines how it plans to establish and maintain the correct blend of skills and experience in the workforce; this is managed through the monthly workforce management group (WMG). The WMG has recently undertaken a comprehensive skills assessment as part of this programme.
The alliance between West Mercia Police and Warwickshire Police is more extensive than any other that is unique in the police service. The force also collaborates with five partner organisations in the unique Place Partnership Limited (PPL). PPL is an ambitious joint venture involving the sharing of estates and facilities management. This collaboration aims to save £58m over ten years through the sharing of services and realise disposal receipts of around £100m through the sale of obsolete buildings.
The force has a well-established change programme which uses a dashboard to track project benefits and is clearly linked to the force’s medium-term financial plan (MTFP).
The force is good at planning for demand in the future. It has used extensive demand analysis to inform Vision 2020, which includes technological advances, notably a significant upgrade of the ICT operating platform. The force is seeking to appoint external partner organisations with expertise in transformational change to lead change and has commissioned consultants to advise on the ICT developments.
The MTFP is prudent and includes a credible programme to balance the budget, including some use of reserves. The force is investing in capital projects, such as the redesign of control rooms, to make savings. The exact scale of the anticipated savings has yet to be determined.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
West Mercia Police is good in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
Treating people with fairness and respect is widely understood across the organisation. The force has improved the way it uses stop and search. It regularly clarifies and reinforces acceptable standards of behaviour. It works well with the public and the workforce in managing the outcomes of misconduct and corruption cases. The workforce recognises the force’s clear commitment to health and wellbeing.
The overall judgment of good is an improvement from HMIC’s inspection of 2015 which found the force to require improvement.
The force has entered into a strategic alliance with Warwickshire Police (the alliance), within which all posts below deputy chief constable are shared. Both forces share a single vision and set of values, and work to a harmonised set of policies. As a result it would be expected that practice and procedures would be the same, or at least similar, in both forces. Indeed, in this inspection HMIC found that to be the case. Therefore, apart from specific localised examples, all references to the force can be read as applying equally to the alliance.
The force is good at treating all of the people it serves with fairness and respect. The force’s vision and values, clearly linked to the Code of Ethics, are widely understood across the organisation. The force actively seeks to identify and work with those who may have less trust and confidence in the police.
The force is good at ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. It regularly clarifies and reinforces acceptable standards of behaviour and makes it clear when standards fall short of expectations.
The force has not yet installed software that automatically monitors access to sensitive databases to ensure that officers and staff are not misusing computer records. This delay is due to a major upgrade of the force’s operating systems and it is actively seeking a solution. The force offers and promotes a range of options for staff to report wrongdoing. The force works well with the public and the workforce regarding the outcomes of misconduct and corruption cases.
The force is good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect. We found a clear commitment to health and wellbeing that is recognised by the workforce. The force has made significant progress in reducing absence levels and time off accrued.
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.
West Mercia Police’s strategic alliance with Warwickshire Constabulary (the alliance) has resulted in all posts below deputy chief constable being shared. Both forces share a single vision and set of values, and work to an agreed set of policies. For this reason, HMIC anticipated that practice and processes would be the same for both forces, and has found this to be the case. Therefore, apart from a few specific examples, all references to the force apply equally to the alliance.
Leadership expectations form an integral part of the force’s vision and values, and are widely understood by officers and staff. The chief officer team meets all newly promoted officers to communicate these expectations.
The force does not make use of all the tools available to improve its leadership capability. For example, it has only recently conducted a comprehensive skills assessment as part of its evaluation of training needs and its leadership development programme. The force maintains a database of interested and skilled people who can be approached for recruitment to specialist posts, including senior leadership positions. However, many officers and staff that HMIC spoke to were unaware of any talent management schemes.
The force has successfully involved its employees in changes through its ‘change hub’ (a team dedicated to managing change) and is working to develop diverse leadership teams, although the force’s policy of posting staff anywhere across West Mercia and Warwickshire has deterred some staff from applying for promotion.
This section sets out the reports published by HMIC this year that help to better understand the performance of West Mercia Police.