Leicestershire 2014Read more about Leicestershire 2014
This is the first PEEL Assessment of Leicestershire Police. In making this assessment I have used my professional judgment to consider the evidence available from inspections undertaken in the past 12 months.
The available evidence indicates that:
in terms of its effectiveness, in general, the force is good at reducing crime and preventing offending, good at investigating offending and good at tackling anti-social behaviour;
the efficiency with which the force carries out its responsibilities is good; and
the force is acting to achieve fairness and legitimacy in most of the practices that were examined this year.
Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
In making this first PEEL Assessment of Leicestershire Police I have taken into account the challenges of policing the area.
The county stretches from former coalfield areas in the west to the more rural areas in the north and east, including the county of Rutland. The city of Leicester, which accounts for around a third of the population of the county is one of the most diverse in the UK and includes the largest Asian/British-Asian community in England and Wales.
I have been impressed that neighbourhood policing remains at the heart of the force’s approach to cutting crime and tackling anti-social behaviour. Neighbourhood teams understand their local community concerns and priorities and use a range of tactics to prevent and fight crime and anti-social behaviour successfully. The standard of crime investigation is good and officers understand the importance of gathering strong evidence to build the case from the outset.
The force has a commendably strong focus on victims, especially people whose circumstances mean that they are particularly vulnerable (this could be because of their age or because they have been victimised before).
Victims at the highest risk of harm from domestic abuse generally receive a good service. However, the service for repeat victims or those who were assessed as being at less risk of harm is not quite as well developed. I am encouraged that the force has recognised this and has been working to make improvements.
I have been impressed that the force has responded well to its funding challenge. It is on track to achieve significant savings through changes to the way it works, including the introduction of a new operating model, increased joint working with other forces and making its processes more cost-effective. The force is able to respond effectively by moving resources to address new and emerging threats such as organised crime.
The chief officer team has developed a climate of professionalism where wrongdoing can be appropriately challenged. However, I have concerns about the force’s approach to crime-recording, which is not as accurate as it should be.
The force is part of the successful East Midlands collaboration which provides a range of policing and support services including major crime, special branch, forensics and serious and organised crime. The collaboration aims to promote a more cost-effective provision of these important policing services through forces working together.
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.
Over the past 12 months, there have been a number of inspections made of the force. A recurring theme has been the strong partnerships the force has built with other organisations, including local councils, which is helping to improve the service to the public.
I am particularly interested to see how the force responds to the areas HMIC has identified for improvement over the next 12 months.
How well the force tackles crime
Leicestershire Police is good at reducing crime and preventing offending. The force is good at investigating offending. It is good at tackling anti-social behaviour.
Leicestershire has seen bigger reductions in crime over the last four years than across England and Wales. The police work well with partners to prevent crime and reduce reoffending.
Neighbourhood policing remains a clear focus in the force’s approach to cutting crime and tackling anti-social behaviour. Neighbourhood teams understand their local community concerns and priorities, and use a range of tactics to fight crime and prevent it.
HMIC found that there is a strong focus on the victim, and the force has made good progress in taking steps to ensure that the most vulnerable are protected. Victim satisfaction with policing services is broadly in line with the figure for England and Wales.
Anti-social behaviour is a force priority and there is good work taking place in the neighbourhood teams and with partners to tackle it, although more could be done to learn from what works.
Further insights on effectiveness
The domestic abuse inspection found that there was a good standard of service for victims assessed as high-risk, but for victims assessed as medium and standard-risk the service was found to be less consistent. The service was found to be less well developed for repeat victims of domestic abuse who reported a number of incidents which were assessed as standard-risk. Leicestershire Police recognised this and has been working to secure improvements. The crime inspection found evidence that the force has a strong victim focus in cases of domestic abuse.
The crime inspection found that dealing with organised crime gangs was important for the force and there was a meeting structure to identify and closely monitor gang activity, and to use intelligence to pursue a robust approach to disrupting their criminal activities. The value for money inspection found that the force had flexibility and agility in moving resources to address new and emerging threats such as organised crime.
The Strategic Policing Requirement inspection found that Leicestershire 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
Leicestershire Police has made good progress in its response to the spending review challenge, and continues to develop its plans to address the future while protecting its communities.
Leicestershire is on track to achieve its required savings of £36.1m over this spending review period. Achieving these savings depends on the future success of the force’s change programme, the implementation of the new operating model, increased collaboration, and making processes more cost-effective.
In 2015/16 and 2016/17, the plans to address the budget gap are based on further modernisation, leading to further reductions in the workforce, a continued decrease in the size of the estate, additional savings from the centralisation of budgets, and expanding upon potential collaboration opportunities.
The force has a strong track record of achieving significant savings from its non-pay costs and investing these in the provision of frontline policing. It uses robust workforce modelling, supported by good governance, to ensure that planned changes are made appropriately, and that associated savings are achieved.
Leicestershire has put in place a more sustainable approach to making savings which includes moving to a model of policing based on affordable workforce numbers. The force understands the issues it faces, and is achieving the required savings today while planning for the future.
Does the force act with integrity and provide a service the public expects?
There is clear leadership from the chief constable who has set the tone in relation to standards of behaviour and professionalism using the ‘Our duty’ statement of values and standards. Most supervisors and line managers are positive role models, encouraging professional behaviour. Staff are prepared to challenge inappropriate behaviour and feel the organisation will support them when doing so, although some are concerned that they would not be supported by colleagues. The counter-corruption unit lacks a proactive capacity and the force vetting process needs strengthening.
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 greater than the figure across England and Wales. The same survey over the same period found that the proportion that agrees 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 broadly in line with the figure across England and Wales.
The crime data integrity inspection found that all victims of crime received a victim care contract which set out the frequency of contact from the police, and when they would receive updates on the investigation. The inspection on domestic abuse found that the force intelligence systems allowed staff to readily gather available information readily, including previous history of domestic abuse. Staff were trained effectively to gain as full a picture as possible and information was relayed to the officer attending the incident. Staff attending reports of domestic abuse had a good appreciation of the actions they needed to take to help protect the victim. However, there were weaknesses in the supervision of the risk assessment process which meant that the force could not be confident that accurate assessments were made of all victims.
As a result of the crime data integrity inspection, HMIC is concerned that a notable proportion of reports of crime are not being recorded by the force. This means that victims of crime are not receiving the service they should when they first report a crime.
However, HMIC is impressed with the accuracy of the decisions taken by the force when making no-crime decisions (cancelling a recorded crime), nearly all of which are correct.