Devon and Cornwall PEEL 2014
Does the force act with integrity and provide a service the public expects?
Devon and Cornwall Police has worked well to instil ethical and professional behaviour. Chief officer leadership is effective, although some staff perceive a need for more contact and communication with the chief officer team. Offers of gifts and hospitality are recorded comprehensively but not yet cross-checked with chief officers’ and senior managers’ diaries. The force manages threat, risk and harm from corruption but tends to be reactive; more could be done to prevent problems developing. Vetting procedures are a strength.
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 who 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 who were satisfied with their experience was broadly in line with the figure across England and Wales.
The crime data integrity inspection found frontline officers and staff, including call-takers, understood the importance of meeting the needs of the victim when considering crime-recording and investigation. The inspection on domestic abuse found weaknesses and inconsistencies in the oversight and supervision of the risk assessment process during initial attendance. This meant that the force could not be confident that it was consistently assessing risk and providing an appropriate response in all cases. There was a lack of clarity about what constituted a repeat victim and how to identify if a victim was vulnerable.
As a result of the crime data integrity inspection, HMIC is 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.
The force’s approach to no-criming (cancelling a recorded crime) is generally acceptable. However, there is room for some improvement if the force is to retain the confidence of the public in recorded crime data.
To what extent does the force ensure that the workforce acts with integrity?
Good progress is being made in promoting ethical and professional behaviour. Staff are aware of the standards required. This is fostered by the chief constable’s clear ethical stance. Some staff would also welcome more leadership and visibility on integrity issues from chief officers, but they recognise that good leadership also comes from other senior officers and supervisors.
The monitoring of integrity issues is not extensive at force-level meetings. Chief officers do not routinely review integrity-based matters.
Systematic reviews of investigations and misconduct cases (to ensure that all staff are treated fairly and equally) are not conducted.
The force’s ability to investigate misconduct is good. However, it should ensure that it has a clearer grasp of areas of risk that are known about, and that it takes more action to identify and tackle emerging misconduct threats.
The force has identified a set of emerging corruption risks. However, these need to be explored further and addressed more actively. The force does not have a clear understanding of which officers are most susceptible to corruption.
Vetting procedures are a strength.
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 Devon and Cornwall Police show that:
Crime Survey for England and Wales (12 months to March 2013)
- 64 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 (± 1.5 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 the force had set a clear performance standard for response times, and these had remained the same since 2010. The inspection found that during this time the proportion of calls attended within these standards for both ‘immediate’ and ‘prompt’ calls had declined.
The crime data integrity inspection found frontline officers and staff, including call-takers, understood the importance of meeting the needs of the victim when considering crime-recording and investigation.
The domestic abuse inspection found some weaknesses in training of call handlers and limited training for officers in undertaking risk assessments during initial attendance. HMIC found weaknesses and inconsistencies in the oversight and supervision of the risk assessment process during initial attendance. This meant that the force could not be confident that it was consistently assessing risk and providing an appropriate response in all cases. There was a lack of clarity about what constituted a repeat victim and how to identify if a victim was vulnerable.
To what extent are the data and information provided by the force of a high quality?
The crime data integrity inspection examined 120 incident records and found that 117 crimes should have been recorded. Of the 117 crimes that should have been recorded, 98 were actually recorded. Of these 98, one was wrongly classified and three were recorded outside the 72-hour limit allowed under the Home Office Counting Rules (HOCR). There was a need for improvement in the accuracy and timeliness of crime-recording decisions.
It was estimated that 53 percent of crime was recorded directly from the public without an incident record. Our inspection of this unit (a review of 60 calls from the public) found that of the 61 crimes that should have been recorded, all 61 were recorded correctly. This was an effective approach to crime-recording for the force.
The inspection also examined 104 no-crime records and found 94 records to be compliant with HOCR and the National Crime Recording Standard. However, of the 35 robberies recorded as no-crime that we examined, we found 8 should have remained classified as crimes.