Cleveland PEEL 2014
Does the force act with integrity and provide a service the public expects?
The chief constable and chief officer team exhibit strong and clear leadership, promoting high standards of ethical and professional behaviour. The force generally has good systems and policies about integrity, and has plans to improve further its monitoring procedures through its internal ethics committee. The force is considering collaboration with another force to increase its professional standards department capacity. The force has made considerable efforts to identify threats and vulnerabilities within the force through the people intelligence board and ethics committee.
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 also found that the proportion that agree that 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 the victim call-back process to be comprehensive. The domestic abuse inspection found that call handlers and dispatchers had received some training in recognising domestic abuse but there was a lack of knowledge of the definitions of a repeat or a vulnerable victim. Some staff and officers lacked a full understanding of the complex issues and variety of forms that abuse can take.
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 about the accuracy of the decisions taken by the force when making no-crime decisions (cancelling a recorded crime): 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.
To what extent does the force ensure that the workforce acts with integrity?
The chief constable and chief officer team have promoted high standards of ethical and professional behaviour. Staff are aware of the boundaries of professional behaviour and understand how poor behaviour can affect both the public and their colleagues. The force is considering collaboration with another force to improve its capacity and capability in professional standards.
The force has developed a ‘people intelligence board’ that brings together senior staff from across the force to examine workforce data relating to professional standards issues. Staff associations are also represented. The chief officer team had commissioned academic research to understand historical issues of integrity within the force.
The force has good processes in place to minimise the risk from investigations being compromised. It is currently re-vetting all staff, a process which has already shown some benefits by having identified certain vulnerable groups, and others who have not complied with force policies.
The force has an anti-corruption unit which has well-established arrangements in place for additional specialist support for corruption investigations. The unit collects intelligence from a range of sources although it could be more proactive in this task.
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 Cleveland Police show that:
Crime Survey for England and Wales (12 months to March 2013)
- 59 percent of adults surveyed think that the police do an excellent/good job, which is broadly in line with the figure across England and Wales of 61 percent.
- 64 percent of adults surveyed agree that the police deal with local concerns, which is broadly in line with the England and Wales proportion of 60 percent.
Victim Satisfaction Survey (12 months to June 2014)
- 84.3 percent (± 1.6 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 that Cleveland Police 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 stayed the same for urban areas; and the force had improved the speed of response to ’emergency’ calls in rural areas, and ‘priority’ calls across all areas.
The crime data integrity inspection found the victim call-back process to be comprehensive. The results were fed directly back to staff and their supervisors and team-based information was featured within performance reports circulated around the force.
The domestic abuse inspection found that call-handlers and dispatchers had received some training in recognising domestic abuse and there were good systems in place to enable them to check for previous history when a call was received. There was room for improvement in the training provided to staff, and some officers lacked a full understanding of the complex issues and variety of forms that abuse can take. HMIC found a lack of knowledge among call-handlers of the definitions of a repeat or a vulnerable victim, although there was an understanding that these factors were important in risk assessing a victim. Assessment of risk was well managed.
To what extent are the data and information provided by the force of a high quality?
The crime data integrity inspection examined 88 incident records and found that 85 crimes should have been recorded. Of the 85 crimes that should have been recorded, 67 were. We found that there were material issues regarding the overall conversion of incidents to crime. The primary reason for this failure was the lack of sufficient information being added to the incident records to justify a decision not to record a crime; this could be attributed to a combination of insufficient training in the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) for force control room operators and frontline officers alongside workload pressures.
The inspection also reviewed 84 no-crime records and found 46 records to be compliant with Home Office Counting Rules and NCRS. As the no-crime records we reviewed were for offences of rape, robbery and violence, this high error rate was a matter of serious concern.