Hampshire PEEL 2014
Does the force act with integrity and provide a service the public expects?
The chief constable demonstrates strong leadership on standards and professional behaviour. Most staff know the standards expected of them, although the force needs to do more to ensure that staff understand the principles of professional behaviour, and these need to be reinforced by supervisors. The force has systems in place to enable it to respond to intelligence about corruption or unprofessional behaviour. However, it needs to develop its preventive investigative work to detect and deter any internal corrupt practices.
Further insights on legitimacy
The Crime Survey for England and Wales (12 months to March 2013) found that the proportion of respondents that 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 which agrees that the force deals with local concerns was greater than 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 greater than the figure across England and Wales.
The inspection on domestic abuse found that call-handlers were empathetic and understood the questions they needed to ask, despite not having received training recently. However, responding officers received limited background information before attending incidents.
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 with the accuracy of the decisions taken by the force when making no-crime decisions (cancelling a recorded crime) as 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?
There is strong leadership from the chief constable and deputy chief constable who emphasise the importance of ethical standards. Messages on ethics are communicated effectively through the force intranet and roadshow presentations. Supervisors and managers need to do more to ensure that staff understand what is expected of them, and further training on the Code of Ethics would be beneficial.
There is evidence that staff report the unprofessional behaviour of others, either to a supervisor or to the professional standards department (PSD). However, staff have only limited understanding of the support available to them should they report a colleague for misconduct. The force needs to take action to address any reluctance among staff to report wrongdoing.
The force monitors the use of force computer systems effectively, and is in the process of refreshing the background checks on all its employees so that it meets national vetting requirements.
The force has up-to-date policies in respect of gifts and hospitality, but there are some gaps in awareness of reporting procedures, in particular, the requirement to report offers even when they are declined. Procurement procedures ensure that joint protocols with the force’s collaboration partners, Hampshire County Council and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, allow unfettered access to information for the purpose of being able to identify corrupt practice.
Despite significant budget reductions, the force has maintained overall staffing levels within its PSD and anti-corruption unit. Sources of potential corruption are risk assessed, and there are processes in place to analyse intelligence which the force then uses effectively to support investigations.
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 Hampshire Constabulary show that:
Crime Survey for England and Wales (12 months to March 2013)
- 65 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 greater than the England and Wales proportion of 60 percent.
Victim Satisfaction Survey (12 months to June 2014)
- 87.0 percent (± 0.9 percent) of victims were satisfied with their experience which is greater than 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 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 declined, but had improved for ‘priority’ calls.
The crime data integrity inspection found that the victim’s voice has increasingly informed decision making from the point of first contact through to the finalisation of crime.
The domestic abuse inspection found that call-handlers were empathetic and understood the questions they needed to ask despite not having received training recently. Responding officers received limited background information before attending incidents. The force was working to improve IT systems to identify repeat victims. Supervisors monitored calls to ensure victims received a timely and appropriate response.
To what extent are the data and information provided by the force of a high quality?
The crime data integrity inspection examined 127 incident records and found that 112 crimes should have been recorded. Of the 112 crimes that should have been recorded, 67 were. Of the 67, eight were wrongly classified and two were recorded outside the 72-hour limit allowed under the Home Office Counting Rules (HOCR). This was of serious concern as it meant that some crimes were not being recorded and the victims were not getting the service they deserved (for example, because certain victim support services are only triggered when a crime is recorded).
HMIC estimated that the force recorded approximately 42 percent of the total of its recorded crime through direct recording. This was an effective approach to crime-recording for the force in respect of this element of the process.
The inspection also examined 88 no-crime records and found 39 records to be compliant with HOCR and National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS). HMIC was concerned that of the no-crime decisions for rape no-crimes, of 28 rapes recorded as no-crime, HMIC found that 18 should have remained classified as crimes. This was unacceptable given the risk associated with this type of crime, and was therefore a matter of urgent and material concern.