Derbyshire 2014Read more about Derbyshire 2014
This is the first PEEL Assessment of Derbyshire Constabulary. In making this assessment I have used my professional judgment to consider the evidence available from inspections undertaken in the past 12 months. The available evidence indicates that:
in terms of its effectiveness, in general, the force is good at reducing crime and preventing offending, good at investigating offending and good at tackling anti-social behaviour;
the efficiency with which the force carries out its responsibilities is good; and
the force is acting to achieve fairness and legitimacy in most of the practices that were examined this year and has outstanding arrangements in place to deal with corruption.
Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
In making this first PEEL Assessment of Derbyshire Constabulary I have taken into account the challenges in policing the area.
Derbyshire is in the heart of the country and shares its borders with seven other forces, making cross-border crime and travelling criminality an issue. It is an economically, culturally and ethnically diverse county. With a population of over one million people, the area also attracts a significant number of tourists.
I have been impressed with the approach the force takes to investigating offending to improve the quality of the outcome for victims. Neighbourhood policing remains at the heart of the force’s approach and there is good work taking place to tackle anti-social behaviour, and a strong commitment to identify and support the most vulnerable victims. The force works well with partners in understanding local anti-social behaviour concerns and finding creative solutions. There is a very strong focus on victim care, led by the chief constable, and this ethos of protecting the most vulnerable is evident at all levels throughout the organisation.
I am encouraged that the force is working to tackle the most prolific offenders through a joined up approach with partners, and that reoffending rates are reducing.
The force has invested in a wide range of measures to promote and instil ethical and professional behaviour, and it is very effective in protecting the organisation from threats such as corruption.
I am impressed that the force’s approach to crime-recording is good, with a high degree of accuracy.
I have also been impressed with how the force is achieving the savings required and is planning for the future, while continuing to reduce crime and retain high levels of victim satisfaction.
I had some concerns about gaps in the service to some victims of domestic abuse. The force acted quickly on the inspection findings and has made progress to improve its response.
The force is part of the successful East Midlands collaboration which provides a range of policing and support services including major crime, special branch, forensics and serious and organised crime. The collaboration aims to promote a more cost-effective provision of these important policing services through forces working together.
Our intention is to examine leadership specifically as part of future PEEL Assessments, once criteria have been established. This will allow us to take account of the College of Policing review of leadership that is currently underway.
In common with other forces, there is a need to build on its understanding of the changing demands for police services in Derbyshire.
Over the past 12 months, there have been a number of inspections made of Derbyshire Constabulary. A recurring theme was the very effective process the force has, working with a wide range of partners, to translate the priorities of the police and crime commissioner into a set of annual police priorities.
This represents national good practice. I will be interested to see how the force responds to the areas HMIC has identified for improvement over the next 12 months, in particular how the force implements new information technology to improve its efficiency.
How well the force tackles crime
Derbyshire Constabulary is good at reducing crime and preventing offending. The force is good at investigating offending. It is good at tackling anti-social behaviour.
Derbyshire has seen bigger reductions in crime over the last four years than across England and Wales as a whole. The force works well with partners to prevent crime and reduce reoffending.
Neighbourhood policing remains at the heart of the force’s approach, and safer neighbourhood teams understand their local community concerns and priorities, using a range of effective tactics to fight crime and prevent it.
HMIC found that there is a strong focus on the victim, and the force has made good progress in steps to ensure that the most vulnerable are protected. Victim satisfaction with policing services is higher in Derbyshire than the figure for England and Wales.
While anti-social behaviour is not a force priority, there is good work taking place in the neighbourhood teams to tackle anti-social behaviour, although more could be done to learn from what works.
Further insights on effectiveness
The domestic abuse inspection found that there was some effective working to tackle domestic abuse, but there were some inconsistent practices across the force and gaps in the service being provided to some victims. The crime inspection found evidence that Derbyshire had made progress to improve its response to domestic abuse.
The crime inspection found that dealing with organised crime groups was a priority for the force; there was a rigorous approach to identifying and closely monitoring activity and using intelligence to disrupt their criminal activities. The force benefited from the strength of its collaborative arrangements as part of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit when tackling serious and organised crime.
How well the force delivers value for money
Derbyshire Constabulary is a low-cost force and it has achieved savings in challenging financial circumstances. It has plans to change the way in which it provides policing in the future so that it can continue to keep its communities safe with reduced resources.
Derbyshire is on track to achieve its required savings of £24.2m over this spending review period, and it has developed plans for the following financial year of 2015/16.
The force is also looking beyond this period, and the work of its change programme aims to design a new way of providing policing that will be affordable through to 2019/20.
Overall, the force understands the issues facing it, and it has a well-managed change programme in place to achieve the savings required. The outlook for 2016 and beyond is positive with business improvement methods, such as priority-based budgeting, being applied to all functions in the force. This will enable the force to examine the services it provides and better understand how to provide policing services at reduced cost.
HMIC’s assessment is that the force is achieving the savings required and is planning for the future, while continuing to reduce crime and retain high levels of victim satisfaction.
Does the force act with integrity and provide a service the public expects?
Derbyshire Constabulary has invested in a wide range of measures to promote and instil ethical and professional behaviour. It is very effective in protecting the organisation from threats such as corruption. It has made good progress against previous HMIC recommendations. There is ongoing scrutiny of all investigations by the senior managers within the professional standards department (PSD).
Further insights on legitimacy
The Crime Survey for England and Wales (12 months to March 2013) found that the proportion of respondents who think that the force does an excellent/good job was broadly in line with the figure across England and Wales. The same survey over the same period also found that the proportion of those that agree the force deals with local concerns was broadly in line with the figure for England and Wales. The force’s own victim satisfaction survey (12 months to June 2014) found that the proportion of victims that were satisfied with their experience was greater than the figure across England and Wales.
The crime data integrity inspection found that operators answering calls from the public were polite, helpful and professional. The domestic abuse inspection found that there were good systems and practices in place in the control room to identify victims of domestic abuse and ensure an appropriate police response. However, officers sometimes arrived at incidents without having a proper picture of the history of the victim or the perpetrator.
The force has good crime-recording procedures in place when receiving reports of crime, meaning that victims of crime receive the service they should when they first report a crime.
HMIC is also impressed with the accuracy of the decisions taken by the force when making no-crime decisions (cancelling a recorded crime), nearly all of which are correct.
This means the public can have confidence in the way the force records crime.