PEEL: police efficiency 2016 - Hertfordshire Constabulary (8771)

Cause of concern

It is a cause of concern to HMIC that some call handlers are not correctly identifying or categorising the level of risk associated with incidents involving vulnerable people. As a result, the force is not responding to these incidents within the appropriate timescales and putting victims at risk.


To address this cause of concern HMIC recommends that the force should take immediate steps to ensure that: • it improves its initial assessment and response to incidents involving all vulnerable people, but particularly victims of domestic abuse, by ensuring that call handlers understand and consistently apply the THRIIVES (threat, harm, risk, investigation, intelligence, vulnerability, engagement, specific need) decision-making model, and are supervised effectively; • it responds to all incidents on the basis of an initial assessment of risk rather than on the availability of response officers, to ensure victims are kept safe; and • it improves its initial response to reports of domestic incidents, specifically to cases where police have been unable to attend or attendance has been delayed, so that it reassesses risk and takes appropriate safeguarding action in a timely manner

[on]2nd March 2017 [status]awaiting-review[/status][/on][on]13th March 2018 [comment]

Following the findings of the 2016 Effectiveness Inspection, a detailed and bespoke action plan was created to address this cause of concern. This is a living document and has been subject to continual scrutiny, improvement and review throughout the year.

During a HMICFRS revisit in April 2017, inspectors found that Hertfordshire Constabulary made several immediate improvements in how it identifies and categorises the level of risk associated with vulnerable people. The force had also invested in additional resources to provide a robust quality assurance process. The risk assessment process is now THRIVE, rather than THRIIVES and between January and March 2017, the force ran a face-to-face refresher training programme in THRIVE risk assessment for all control room staff. The force has also improved management and supervision by introducing a second daily management meeting to review outstanding incidents and resources. Inspectors found that call handlers were now spending time making a correct THRIVE risk assessment and the force was investing in more resources to address the increase in the abandonment rate for 101 calls as a result on calls taking longer to risk assess. The force is recruiting more call-handlers, to ensure it has resources available to meet demand.

The force has reviewed its use of the appointment service for domestic abuse victims (which includes scheduled appointments at locations and times that suit the victim, made by officers driving so-called ‘diary’ cars). The control room sergeant, known as the Oscar 2, now reviews all appointments for domestic abuse to ensure that the risk assessment has been completed correctly and that the appointment is appropriate.

During the 2017 PEEL Effectiveness inspection, inspectors found that call handlers had improved their initial assessment of vulnerability and management of demand at the first point of contact. A number of incidents were examined as part of the inspection fieldwork and revealed that Immediate, Prompt and Scheduled calls were being answered in the target times. Vulnerability was being identified through [i] call scripts, [ii] DASH or [iii] both. All calls were dealt with professionally and where there were shortcomings these appeared to be isolated rather than being representative of systemic failings.

[/comment][/on][on]3rd May 2018 [status]complete[/status][/on]