Humberside 2014Read more about Humberside 2014
This is the first PEEL Assessment of Humberside Police. In making this assessment I have used my professional judgment to consider the evidence available from inspections undertaken in the last 12 months.
The available evidence indicates that:
in terms of its effectiveness, in general, the force is good at tackling anti-social behaviour. However, it requires improvement in reducing crime and preventing offending, and it requires improvement in the way it investigates offending. I have some specific concerns about its approach to domestic abuse;
the efficiency with which the force carries out its responsibilities is good; and
the force is acting to achieve fairness and legitimacy in some of the practices that were examined this year.
Michael Cunningham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
In making this first PEEL Assessment of Humberside I have taken into account the challenges to policing the area.
Humberside covers an area that centres on the Humber Estuary and includes the city of Hull, the towns of Grimsby and Scunthorpe and the large rural area of the East Riding of Yorkshire. The urban areas of the force suffer from high levels of deprivation. The force is changing its operating model to ensure that the public receives a more efficient and effective service, despite the reductions in budget and workforce.
The force, working with partners, responded well to extreme flooding over the past 12 months, particularly in Hull and North Lincolnshire.
I have been concerned that there are signs of the rate of reduction in crime slowing down, with some crime types currently showing an increase above the national average and also in comparison with similar forces.
I am also concerned by inconsistent practices in the different policing areas. As the force recognises, there is more to be done to instil a common policing model across the force area.
I have a specific concern that, although domestic abuse was a priority for Humberside, the domestic abuse inspection found that there was a fragmented and inconsistent approach across the force and victims may not have received the level of support they needed. The crime inspection found evidence in Humberside that activity around domestic abuse remained varied across the force.
Humberside still faces a significant challenge to achieve a secure financial position for the future. Reserves will be used to make up the shortfall in the savings requirement each year. This means that the required recurring savings have not yet been found, and this position is not sustainable. However, progress is being made and plans for a new affordable structure are well under way. The force must ensure that there is no slippage that could in turn have an impact on the performance of the force.
A new leadership style has been introduced and the culture of the organisation is now more able to support the level of change resulting from a reduction in the workforce. The establishment of new structures is being informed by a thorough understanding of the nature of demands on the force.
I also have serious concerns about the force’s approach to crime-recording, which is not as accurate as it should be.
Our intention is to examine leadership specifically as part of future PEEL Assessments, once criteria have been established. This will allow us to take account of the College of Policing review of leadership that is currently underway.
In common with other forces, there is a need to develop a better understanding of the changing demands for police services.
I am interested to see how the force responds to the areas HMIC has identified for improvement over the next 12 months. I will be particularly interested to see the following developments:
- addressing the recommendations from the crime data integrity inspection report;
- how the force introduces the new policing operating model; and
- how the force ensures that operational performance, with the victim at the centre, has a clear emphasis on crime prevention, reduction and investigation.
How well the force tackles crime
Humberside Police requires improvement in reducing crime and preventing offending. The force requires improvement in investigating offending. It is good at tackling anti-social behaviour.
Humberside has seen crime reduce in the force area over the last four years although, in common with other forces in England and Wales, there are signs of the rate of reduction slowing down. Some crime types are currently showing an increase above the national average, and an increase when compared to similar forces. Also, the likelihood of being a victim of anti-social behaviour is less in Humberside than most areas in England and Wales. Victims of crime report being satisfied with the service provided by Humberside, with satisfaction levels being broadly in line with the rate for England and Wales.
The effort to reduce crime and prevent known offenders committing further offences in Humberside is helped by strong partnership activity at the local level including, for example, with the probation service, health, local authorities and charity groups. Humberside recognises that there is more to be done to instil a common policing model across the force area, and forge deeper strategic alliances with its four unitary authorities in its policing area. The new policing model, or ‘One Force’, is due to be fully implemented by April 2015.
HMIC considers that the introduction of ‘One Force’ will present an opportunity for Humberside to address areas for improvement highlighted in the crime inspection report. These focus principally on the quality and standard of crime investigations and the service provided to victims. A common theme found in the inspection was the existence of pockets of excellence with inconsistent practices in the different policing areas in Humberside.
A combination of the existence of local partnerships, introducing and monitoring best practice for victim care and investigation of crime at force-wide level will leave the force better placed to serve its communities.
Further insights on effectiveness
The domestic abuse inspection found that although domestic abuse was a priority for Humberside, there was a fragmented and inconsistent approach across the force and victims may not have received the level of support they needed. The crime inspection found evidence in Humberside that activity around domestic abuse remained varied across the force.
The crime inspection found that the force’s identification of organised crime groups was being supported through a monthly meeting and the adoption of a tracker, with some evidence of tasking through the tactical tasking co-ordination groups. Although the potential for child sexual exploitation organised crime groups to be operating in the force area was highlighted during inspection, they did not seem to have been prioritised at an organisational level. The force was addressing this with its partners.
The Strategic Policing Requirement inspection found that Humberside had, or had access to through collaboration with other forces regionally, the necessary capability to tackle terrorism, civil emergency, serious organised crime and public disorder, but not a large-scale cyber incident.
How well the force delivers value for money
While progress is being made, Humberside Police still faces a significant challenge. It is important that the force moves ahead quickly with its plans to change the way it provides policing in 2015 in order to achieve a secure financial position and provide better value for money.
HMIC is concerned that Humberside has not yet done enough to achieve a secure financial position for the future. Reserves will be used to make up the shortfall in the savings requirement each year. This means that the required recurring savings have not yet been found, and this position is not sustainable. However, progress is being made, and plans for a new affordable structure are well under way. A new leadership style has been introduced and the culture of the organisation is now more able to support the level of change resulting from a reduction in the workforce. The establishment of new structures is being informed by a thorough understanding of the nature of demands on the force. It is essential that the plans for the new way of providing policing are put in place and begin producing savings as timetabled. Since the inspection, the force has provided HMIC with a high level update on their savings plans. The force must ensure that there is no slippage that could, in turn, have an impact on the performance of the force.
Does the force act with integrity and provide a service the public expects?
Humberside Police has made good progress in encouraging professional behaviour across the force. Chief officer leadership on integrity issues is clear, visible and recognised by staff. The force and the police and crime commissioner (PCC) have governance structures to ensure that integrity issues are effectively managed. Staff are aware of the boundaries of professional behaviour and understand the need to challenge inappropriate behaviour. Some staff feel uncomfortable challenging experienced or senior colleagues, and also lack confidence in confidential reporting systems. Training is given on integrity issues and there are clear plans to communicate the new Code of Ethics.
Further insights on legitimacy
The Crime Survey for England and Wales (12 months to March 2013) found that the proportion of respondents who think the force does an excellent / good job was less than the figure across England and Wales. The same survey over the same period also found that the proportion that agrees that the force deals with local concerns was less 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 that were satisfied with their experience was broadly in line with the figure across England and Wales.
The crime data integrity inspection found that call-takers understood the victim-centred approach, displayed it in practice, and were polite, professional and helpful. The domestic abuse inspection found that the control centre staff researched computer systems to obtain information on previous history. However, this information was not always passed to officers attending the incident. HMIC was concerned that staff who work in front enquiry offices had generally not received any training about domestic abuse and that the force changing its definition of domestic abuse meant that incidents of domestic abuse were not always identified and victims did not receive the level of support they needed.
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): 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.