Northumbria PEEL 2015
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
HMIC judges Northumbria Police to be good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, and keeping people safe.
The force investigates crime well and maintains a strong focus on managing offenders to reduce offending. Officers and staff focus on protecting and supporting vulnerable victims and have been trained accordingly. The force has well-established partnership arrangements with other agencies to improve its understanding of serious and organised criminality and to respond effectively. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so comparison of their year-on-year effectiveness is not possible.
Northumbria Police is good at tackling anti-social behaviour and managing offenders and has good systems in place to ensure it investigates crime effectively at all levels.
The force has a commitment to attend all crime incidents and most other incidents reported by the public. This may contribute to the relatively high levels of public satisfaction, as well as to its performance in bringing offenders to justice, which is better than in most other forces.
The force has good arrangements to tackle repeat offenders and to manage, with partners, those individuals who present a risk to the public. However, the force should improve how it manages offenders, using integrated offender management, and how it monitors registered sex offenders across the force.
Protecting vulnerable people is a priority for the force and good systems are in place to provide appropriate care and support for victims of crime. Staff have been trained in understanding vulnerability and the force has good arrangements with partner services to support vulnerable victims.
The force manages serious and organised crime well and is building on current relationships with other agencies and partners to improve its understanding even further. A cohesive approach to tackling organised crime groups draws on the full resources available to the force. The force is able to test its ability to fulfil its national policing responsibilities.
How effective is the force at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, and keeping people safe?
Northumbria Police is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, and keeping people safe.
Neighbourhood teams continue to provide the mainstay of how policing services are provided across the force area, with locally based officers being central to providing a good service to communities.
The force retains a good understanding of the communities it serves and has established good lines of communication with individuals, community groups and partnership agencies to deliver policing services tailored to match community needs and to respond to crime and anti-social behaviour.
The force continues to attend all crime incidents and the overwhelming majority of other non-crime-related incidents. Tackling crime and anti-social behaviour is seen as a priority and staff are aware of their responsibility in responding positively to victims and giving them the best support possible.
HMIC found good examples of how new legislation has been used to tackle and deal with emerging issues of anti-social behaviour.
Northumbria could improve how it stores and shares information across the force in relation to effective problem-solving methods. Similarly, information between the force and partner agencies could be shared more efficiently by introducing more integrated information sharing systems.
Areas for improvement
- The force should use evidence of ‘what works’ drawn from other forces, academics and partners to continually improve its approach to the prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour. There needs to be routine evaluation of tactics and sharing of effective practice.
How effective is the force at investigating crime and managing offenders?
Northumbria Police performs well at bringing offenders to justice.
The force’s crime investigations are well managed and closely supervised. Staff view the location and interviewing of outstanding offenders as a priority and the force monitors this through daily meetings.
Investigators are trained and equipped to conduct investigations suitable for their role. We found that the force provides a good standard of forensic and digital analysis of exhibits to help its investigations identify offenders.
The force has good procedures in place for its officers to focus their attention on those offenders who are committing the most crime and anti-social behaviour in neighbourhoods. The force routinely allocates officers the task of carrying out monitoring activity to curb the behaviour of offenders.
The force’s governance and oversight of its integrated offender management programme is limited. Neighbourhood staff given the task of managing offenders have not had any training around integrated offender management and partnership working arrangements could improve.
The force’s management of offenders under multi-agency public protection arrangements by a dedicated team is good. However, the force needs to do more to involve frontline patrolling staff in the routine monitoring of registered sex offenders.
Areas for improvement
- The force should improve its ability to retrieve digital evidence from mobile phones, computers and other electronic devices quickly enough to ensure that investigations are not delayed.
- The force should work with partner organisations to develop its approach to integrated offender management (IOM) in line with the Home Office IOM principles.
- The force should ensure that checks are routinely conducted to verify the identity, nationality and overseas convictions of arrested foreign nationals.
How effective is the force at protecting from harm those who are vulnerable, and supporting victims?
Northumbria Police is good at protecting from harm those who are vulnerable and supporting victims. Protecting vulnerable people and supporting victims is a high priority for Northumbria Police. Both the police and crime commissioner and the chief constable are committed strongly to improve the services they provide.
The force has clear and consistently applied processes in place to identify repeat and vulnerable victims. There is regular and robust supervision and scrutiny of incidents to ensure an appropriate and timely response.
To help achieve the force’s commitment to improve the services provided to vulnerable people a significant investment has been made in training staff. This ensures that they have a good level of knowledge and understanding. The force uses widespread and innovative ways of working to protect and support vulnerable people, often in partnership with other agencies.
The force has made, and continues to make investments in IT to support improvements to bring about greater efficiencies and effectiveness in victim care services.
The force has good arrangements with partner agencies to keep vulnerable people safe and is continually working to enhance these arrangements further. Planned additional analytical support should make these arrangements even more effective.
Overall the force provides a good response to and safeguards missing children, and victims of domestic abuse, and is well-prepared to tackle child sexual exploitation.
How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime, including its arrangement for fulfilling its national policing responsibilities?
Northumbria Police is good at tackling serious and organised crime.
The force is developing a serious and organised crime local profile to enhance its understanding of the threat presented by organised crime groups across Northumbria.
The force has good links to other partners in law enforcement regionally and is working to improve relationships with key partners even more.
Northumbria identifies organised crime groups at local and force levels and it has good systems in place to tackle organised crime groups using a wide range of policing options.
The force should improve how it makes the most of intelligence gathering opportunities, particularly those available through partner arrangements. The force’s intelligence system is outdated and does not support intelligence gathering effectively in relation to serious and organised crime.
The force is able to test its ability to fulfil its national policing responsibilities. The force has enough resources to deal with most public order contingencies and respond to a major incident.
Areas for improvement
- The force should complete a serious and organised crime local profile including relevant data from partner agencies, and ensure that it has a local partnership structure in place with responsibility for tackling serious and organised crime.
- The force should take steps to identify those at risk of being drawn into serious and organised crime, and ensure that preventative initiatives are put in place with partner organisations to deter them from offending.