Dorset PEEL 2014
Does the force act with integrity and provide a service the public expects?
Dorset Police has made some progress in managing professional and personal relationships since the HMIC revisit inspection in 2012, and has continued to publicise and embed ethical and professional behaviour. Chief officer leadership is clear, and there is a climate of professionalism where wrongdoing is challenged. The risk of corruption and challenges to professional conduct are identified but work is required to develop the professional standards department’s policies and improve the active monitoring of vulnerability to corruption.
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 greater than the figure across England and Wales. The same survey over the same period also found that the proportion which agrees that the force deals with local concerns was greater than the figure for England and Wales. The force’s own victim satisfaction survey (12 months to June 2014) found that the proportion of victims who were satisfied with their experience was broadly in line with the figure across England and Wales.
The crime data integrity inspection found that in all cases examined, operators and call-takers were very polite and helpful, but in terms of detail, greater accuracy was required when transcribing information from callers. The inspection on domestic abuse found that staff understood the importance of identifying repeat victims and there were good systems within the control room.
As a result of the crime data integrity inspection, HMIC is seriously concerned that a notable proportion of reports of crime are not being recorded by the force. This means that victims of crime are not receiving the service they should when they first report a crime. However, HMIC is 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.
To what extent does the force ensure that the workforce acts with integrity?
HMIC found evidence of clear leadership, and a commitment to ensuring the highest standards of ethical behaviour and professional conduct from the chief officer team. Staff generally understand their responsibilities for delivering services professionally and making ethical decisions. The chief constable championed Dorset Police’s adoption of the Code of Ethics in a series of chief officer roadshows to the workforce. The force has plans to communicate further and embed the Code of Ethics.
The force takes steps to identify staff vulnerable to corruption using intelligence from different sources. There is effective analysis to understand the threat of corruption, but proactive monitoring of staff compliance with professional standards is limited.
Reports of staff wrongdoing are dealt with in an effective and timely manner, and misconduct hearings managed effectively. However, the professional standards department policies and governance needs improvement.
There is an effective process to learn lessons from experience and to disseminate the learning to the workforce. The force monitors its information systems, but not social networking sites. The force publishes the gifts and hospitality offered to its staff, but the register is not up to date and not easily found on its website. Call data from force telephones are regularly audited.
What are the public perceptions of the force?
HMIC considers that there are two sources of data that give an insight into the public’s perceptions of their police force: the Crime Survey for England and Wales, and the Victim Satisfaction Survey.
The data for Dorset Police show that:
Crime Survey for England and Wales (12 months to March 2013)
- 66 percent of adults surveyed think that the police do an excellent/good job, which is greater than the figure across England and Wales of 61 percent.
- 69 percent of adults surveyed agree that the police deal with local concerns, which is greater than the England and Wales proportion of 60 percent.
Victim Satisfaction Survey (12 months to June 2014)
- 84.5 percent (± 1.4 percent) of victims were satisfied with their experience which is broadly in line with the figure across England and Wales of 85.0 percent (± 0.2 percent).
To what extent does the force respond to calls for service appropriately?
The value for money inspection found the force had set a clear performance standard for response times, and this had remained the same since 2010. The inspection found that during this time the proportion of calls attended within these standards for ’emergency’ calls had declined marginally.
The crime data integrity inspection found that in all cases examined, operators and call-takers were very polite and helpful, but in terms of detail, greater accuracy was required when transcribing information from callers.
The domestic abuse inspection found that there were competent and experienced staff in the control room who dealt with calls effectively. Oversight and supervision of the initial response was good. Staff were well trained in identifying domestic abuse and had good understanding of risk assessment. They understood the importance of identifying repeat victims and there were good systems within the control room. The force used a number of different databases which complicated the process of checking previous history. However, there were plans to replace the existing systems with one that will improve the efficiency of extracting information.
To what extent are the data and information provided by the force of a high quality?
The crime data integrity inspection examined 87 incident records and found that 87 crimes should have been recorded. Of the 87 crimes that should have been, 61 were recorded. Of the 61, five were wrongly classified and none was recorded outside the 72-hour limit allowed under the Home Office Counting Rules (HOCR). There was a clear need for improvement in the accuracy of crime-recording decisions. This was of serious concern as it meant that some victims’ crimes were not being recorded and they were not getting the service they deserved (for example, because certain victim support services are only triggered when a crime is recorded).
The force had a centralised crime-recording unit, which HMIC estimated recorded approximately 32 percent of the total of the force’s recorded crime. This unit recorded reports of crime directly from members of the public that did not require the creation of an incident record. Our inspection of this unit (a review of 20 calls from the public) found that of the 20 crimes that should have been recorded, all 20 were recorded correctly. This was an effective approach to crime-recording for the force.
The inspection also examined 68 no-crime records and found 61 records to be compliant with HOCR and the National Crime Recording Standard. No-crime decisions were tightly managed and of a high standard, with authority for all decisions restricted to the force crime and incident registrar and the designated decision makers who are independent from investigations.