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Northamptonshire 2014

Read more about Northamptonshire 2014

This is the first PEEL Assessment of Northamptonshire Police. 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, and is good at tackling anti-social behaviour. However, it requires improvement in the way it investigates offending;

in terms of its effectiveness, in general, the force is good at reducing crime and preventing offending, and is good at tackling anti-social behaviour. However, it requires improvement in the way it investigates offending;

the force is acting to achieve fairness and legitimacy in some of the practices that were examined this year.

Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary

Contact Zoë Billingham

HMI's observations

In making this first PEEL Assessment of Northamptonshire Police I have taken into account the challenges in policing the area.

Northamptonshire is a small county with a blend of rural and urban communities. The population is diverse, with emerging Somali and Eastern European communities. A number of major roads run through the county.

I have been impressed with the force’s focus on preventing crime. It works well with partners, such as local councils, in understanding local priorities and ensuring that the public receive joined-up service. The force is improving the way it cares for victims of crime, but more work needs to be done in this regard. Anti-social behaviour is a key priority for the force and there is some good work going on across the county to reduce it and to support and protect victims.

 

The force faces a challenging financial future but it understands the issues and continues to take positive steps to achieve savings while keeping its communities safe.

I am concerned that although the domestic abuse inspection found the force’s response was effective in some respects, there were important areas where improvement was needed in order to keep victims safe and to reduce the risk of them coming to further harm.

I also have concerns about the way the force manages some crime investigations. More work is needed to improve the way investigations are conducted to ensure that victims consistently get the best results in terms of offenders being brought to justice.

I also have serious concerns about the force’s approach to crime-recording, which is not as accurate as it should be.

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 develop a better understanding of the changing demands for police services.

I am particularly interested to see how the force responds to the areas HMIC has identified for improvement over the next 12 months.

 

 

Effectiveness

How well the force tackles crime

Last updated 12/11/2014
Ungraded

Northamptonshire Police is good at reducing crime and preventing offending. The force requires improvement at investigating offending. It is good at tackling anti-social behaviour.

There are ambitious targets to cut crime and anti-social behaviour in Northamptonshire. There has been a relatively high reduction in crime over the last year, as well as a small reduction in anti-social behaviour incidents.

The force has a strong focus on preventing crime and the police work well with partners in understanding local priorities and delivering joined-up activities to reduce crime and offending. The force is improving the way it cares for victims of crime but more work is needed to ensure that everyone in the organisation understands the importance of putting the victim first.

HMIC found weaknesses in the quality of some investigations and Northamptonshire needs to improve the way it manages investigations to ensure that it is consistently getting the best results.

Anti-social behaviour is a key priority for the force and there is some good work going on across the county to reduce anti-social behaviour and support and protect victims.

Further insights on effectiveness

The domestic abuse inspection found that although Northamptonshire’s response to tackling domestic abuse was effective in some respects, there were some important areas where improvement was needed in order to reduce the risk to victims. The crime inspection found evidence that Northamptonshire continued to make good progress to improve its response to domestic abuse.

The value for money inspection found that Northamptonshire is part of the East Midlands collaboration which provides a range of policing and support services including major crime, special branch, forensics, and serious organised crime. The collaboration arrangements provide a more effective response than could be provided solely within the force as well as providing savings.

View the six questions for effectiveness

Efficiency

How well the force delivers value for money

Last updated 12/11/2014
Good

 

While Northamptonshire Police faces a challenging future, the force understands the issues it faces and continues to take positive steps to achieve savings while keeping its communities safe.

Northamptonshire is on track to achieve its required savings of £22.9m over the spending review period. It has plans in place to achieve further savings in 2015/16. The force faces a particular challenge because it already spends little and so there are fewer opportunities to reduce further its costs.

The force has detailed plans to meet the savings required in 2014/15 and will, over the spending review period, exceed the amount it needs to save. This has been managed by over-achievement on savings targets and by annual under-spends in its budget. The force has assessed the financial issues it faces and has now put in place a change programme together with supporting plans to restructure the organisation and achieve the required savings.

The force has looked at the period beyond 2016 and is developing plans which will enable it to provide policing within its future projected budget. This is largely dependent on maintaining its own local policing but working collaboratively with others in specialist policing functions, functions that support operational policing and business support.

View the three questions for efficiency

Legitimacy

Does the force act with integrity and provide a service the public expects?

Last updated 12/11/2014
Ungraded

 

Northamptonshire Police has a well-established professional standards department including a small anti-corruption unit. The force has made good progress since the last HMIC inspection. The chief constable and all the chief officers show clear leadership on the importance of values, ethics and personal behaviour.

 

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 found that the proportion 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 broadly in line with the figure across England and Wales.

The crime data integrity inspection found that staff taking calls from the public, and those directing officers to calls for service, were mindful of the importance of a victim-centred approach. However, this emphasis was not matched in other operational areas beyond some specialist investigations. The inspection on domestic abuse found that Northamptonshire was generally effective at identifying domestic abuse victims at the first point of contact. However, some staff in the control room had not received sufficient training in identifying victims of domestic abuse and there was a general lack of understanding as to how the force defined a repeat victim, and of the factors that may make a victim particularly vulnerable. Thorough checks were made in the control room to identify any previous police involvement at the address or with the people concerned and officers attending the incident were given the full picture of any previous history of abuse.

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, and this means that victims of crime are not receiving the service they should when they first report a crime. HMIC is also concerned with the accuracy of the decisions taken by the force when making no-crime decisions (cancelling a recorded crime) as too many of these are incorrect. The force needs to take action to improve, serve the victims of these crimes and provide the public with confidence in the force’s crime data.

View the four questions for legitimacy

Key facts

Force Area

913 square miles

Population

0.71m people 10% local 10 yr change

Workforce

74% frontline 78% national level
3.1 per 1000 population 3.6 national level
18% change in local workforce since 2010 15% national change since 2010

Victim-based crimes

0.06 per person 0.06 national level
Local 5 year trend (no change) National 5 year trend (no change)

Cost

46p per person per day local 55p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

Northamptonshire’s blend of rural and urban communities are characterised by a growing population. 

As further population increases are forecast, demand for policing services continues to grow.

Police and crime plan priorities

The Police and Crime Plan for Northamptonshire has one overarching ambition: to Make Northamptonshire the Safest Place in England. To see how we, working with our partners and communities, will achieve this ambition, please visit the Police and Crime Commissioner’s website: www.northantspcc.org.uk.

Read More

Every single person in the county has a valuable contribution to make to achieve the ambition of Making Northamptonshire the Safest Place in England and together we will focus on delivering the following outcomes:

  • Reducing violent crime by at least 40 per cent
  • Building a more visible police force
  • Having the safest roads
  • Robustly and intelligently tackling anti-social behaviour, and
  • Creating a secure place.