Humberside PEEL 2014
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.
To what extent does the force ensure that the workforce acts with integrity?
The force has made progress on updating policy to include integrity issues and on consolidating registers for gifts, hospitality and secondary business interests, but this needs to be completed and published.
The force effectively investigates complaints and allegations of unprofessional behaviour in a timely manner, and resources for the professional standards branch have been increased. The force also operates effective assessment processes to develop and grade intelligence. Corruption is effectively investigated by the anti-corruption unit, although the capacity to undertake proactive work is limited.
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 Humberside Police show that:
Crime Survey for England and Wales (12 months to March 2013)
- 52 percent of adults surveyed think that the police do an excellent/good job, which is less than the figure across England and Wales of 61 percent.
- 55 percent of adults surveyed agree that the police deal with local concerns, which is less than the England and Wales proportion of 60 percent.
Victim Satisfaction Survey (12 months to June 2014)
- 85.7 percent (± 1.4 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 Humberside had not set targets and did not monitor response times.
The crime data integrity inspection found that call-takers understood the victim-centred approach, displayed it in practice, and were polite, professional and helpful. However, among other frontline members of staff there remained strong evidence of an attitude of ‘investigate-to-record’. Officers spoke openly of a reluctance to record crimes where there was a presence of alcohol, drugs, dementia or mental health issues.
The domestic abuse inspection found that the control centre staff researched computer systems that were able to identify whether a victim had reported domestic abuse before, or whether they had previously been assessed as vulnerable (although there was no force definition for vulnerability). However, this information was not always passed to officers attending the incident. In 2012, the force changed its definition of domestic abuse from the one that had been nationally agreed. At the time of the inspection, incidents involving family members were not defined as domestic abuse. HMIC was concerned that this change meant that incidents of domestic abuse were not identified and victims did not receive the level of support they needed. Officers were sent to the scene promptly, quickly and appropriately. Staff in the force control centre had received varying amounts of training which meant their understanding and ability to identify domestic abuse was inconsistent. HMIC was concerned that staff who work in front enquiry offices had generally not received any training about domestic abuse and may not have been able to recognise certain types of abuse, or known how to deal with victims. The force was currently using two models of risk assessment; this meant that there was no consistent approach to assessing risk across the area.
To what extent are the data and information provided by the force of a high quality?
The crime data integrity inspection examined 168 incident records and found that 129 crimes should have been recorded. Of the 129 crimes that should have been recorded, 94 were. Of the 94, three were wrongly classified and four were recorded outside the 72-hour limit allowed under the Home Office Counting Rules (HOCR). There was a need for significant improvement in the accuracy and timeliness of crime-recording decisions.
HMIC estimated that the customer service crime centre recorded approximately 22 percent of the total of the force’s recorded crime. This unit recorded reports of crime directly from members of the public which did not require the creation of an incident record. Our inspection of this unit (a review of 25 calls from the public) found that of the 25 crimes that should have been recorded, all 25 were recorded correctly. This was an effective approach to crime-recording for the force.
The inspection also reviewed 74 no-crime records and found 61 records to be compliant with HOCR and the National Crime Recording Standard. This was a concern as the no-crime records HMIC reviewed were for offences of rape, robbery and violence. Despite the structure described, our audit results revealed that there was room for improvement in the interpretation of what amounts to additional verifiable information when making a no-crime decision.