Derbyshire PEEL 2015
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Derbyshire Constabulary is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The constabulary has an effective approach to crime and anti-social behaviour prevention and it works extremely well with others to keep people safe, including protecting victims and the most vulnerable people. The quality of crime investigation is good and the constabulary works well to stop re-offending. It is outstanding at disrupting the activity of organised crime groups and it has arrangements in place to ensure that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so comparison of their year-on-year effectiveness is not possible.
Derbyshire Constabulary is committed to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. Its clear approach to prevention is well understood by officers and staff who work productively with other organisations to solve problems in neighbourhoods, including intervening early to stop them from escalating.
When a crime has occurred, the constabulary acts quickly and carries out high quality investigations, including making sure victims are safe and keeping them informed about how their cases are progressing. The constabulary works well to identify, investigate and bring to justice repeat and dangerous offenders and to stop them re-offending.
Increasingly, the constabulary is focusing on so-called hidden crimes such as domestic abuse and child sexual exploitation with a view to protecting the most vulnerable members of the community. Our inspection of how Derbyshire Constabulary deals with victims who are vulnerable in some way found good work; in particular, officers and staff are quick to put in place effective protection for domestic abuse victims. In addition, the constabulary has recently increased the number of specialist staff and officers dedicated to dealing with cases of domestic abuse and child sexual exploitation, and its central referral unit will improve the service the constabulary provides to victims.
The constabulary has an in-depth understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime. This, supported by its own highly skilled and experienced staff and a good relationship with the East Midlands Special Operations Unit, which provides additional specialist skills and resources, means the constabulary is outstanding at disrupting the activity of organised crime groups.
The leadership has strong oversight of the force’s ability to respond to national threats, such as terrorism, serious cyber-crime incidents and child sexual abuse. Its own arrangements for ensuring it can meet its national obligations in this regard (such as planning, testing and exercising) are good.
How effective is the force at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, and keeping people safe?
Derbyshire Constabulary is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. This is consistent with HMIC’s 2014 crime inspection where the constabulary was judged to be good at reducing crime and preventing offending.
Constabulary priorities reflect a commitment to prevention, supporting victims, partnership working and keeping people safe. This commitment is generally well understood throughout the constabulary, and it ensures that well-trained police officers and staff are assigned to local neighbourhoods who focus on preventing problems from occurring or from escalating.
The constabulary has the right systems and ways of working in place at force and neighbourhood level, alongside a range of powers and tactics, to work together with partner organisations to tackle anti-social behaviour and keep people safe.
While there are a few areas for improvement, including how the constabulary understands, evaluates and shares evidence of ‘what works’, the public can feel confident that the constabulary is working well to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour, and keep people safe.
Areas for improvement
- The force should routinely evaluate tactics and share effective practice – both internally and with partners – to continually improve its approach to the prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour.
How effective is the force at investigating crime and managing offenders?
Derbyshire Constabulary’s approach to investigating crime and managing offenders is good. This is consistent with HMIC’s 2014 crime inspection, in which the constabulary was judged as good at investigating offending.
Processes for the initial investigation and allocation of complex and non-complex crime work well. The quality of subsequent investigations is good as investigative staff are well trained, and generally properly qualified. Investigation plans are thorough and well documented, following approved practice for investigations, and there is clear evidence of effective support and review by experienced supervisors.
Victims are generally kept well informed as investigations progress and the constabulary uses ‘crime contracts’ to establish how and when the victim would like to be contacted.
Forensic and digital specialists are used effectively to support investigations, although backlogs do exist for phone investigation.
The constabulary identifies vulnerable offenders and makes efforts to divert them from further offending. While there is an area for improvement, the constabulary’s ways of working with partner organisations to identify, monitor and work with repeat and dangerous offenders to stop them re-offending generally work well.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that all those carrying out investigations are provided with appropriate training and support.
How effective is the force at protecting from harm those who are vulnerable, and supporting victims?
Derbyshire Constabulary has clear processes in place to identify repeat and vulnerable victims. The constabulary makes accurate assessments of the risks victims face, its response to them is consistent and it works well with partner organisations to protect vulnerable people. HMIC judges that the constabulary’s performance is good.
The constabulary shares information effectively with partner organisations through its central referral unit. This provides direct access to external service providers and means that immediate safeguards are put in place to protect vulnerable people. There are ambitions to develop this way of working into a multi-agency safeguarding hub, which bring all service providers together and have proved successful elsewhere in providing tailored support to victims.
The constabulary is making headway in addressing areas of improvement that were identified in HMIC’s domestic abuse inspection in 2014. In particular, officers are increasingly using their professional judgment, as well as using long-established risk factors, in considering the harm that victims are facing.
The identification of vulnerability issues in more routine, frequently-occurring crime is an area where the constabulary could do more. This may reveal hidden patterns of victimisation which could signify that an individual is at more risk that it first may seem.
How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime, including its arrangement for fulfilling its national policing responsibilities?
Derbyshire Constabulary is outstanding in the way it identifies and tackles serious and organised crime. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their effectiveness at tackling serious and organised crime, including a force’s arrangements for ensuring that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities, so no year-on-year comparison is possible.
The constabulary has a well-developed understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime. HMIC found that the constabulary has effective ways of working to deter people from committing serious and organised crime. These include working with young people and awareness raising in schools. There is an effective multi-agency response to tackling serious and organised crime and the constabulary has a good working relationship with other forces in the region with access to an extensive range of specialist policing capabilities provided by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit. The constabulary communicates well with its communities, publicising successes and warning of the consequences of being involved in serious and organised crime.
The constabulary’s approach to tackling and disrupting serious and organised crime in collaboration with partner organisations has resulted in a number of successful operations that have improved the lives of those living in communities affected by organised crime.
The necessary arrangements are in place to ensure that the constabulary can fulfil its national policing responsibilities. It regularly tests its ability to respond to national threats, including public order events and counter-terrorist incidents, by conducting unannounced tests of its mobilisation. It has also conducted extensive exercises to test inter-operability with fire and ambulance services.