Lincolnshire PEEL 2014
Does the force act with integrity and provide a service the public expects?
Lincolnshire Police has made excellent progress in reinforcing ethical and professional behaviour across the force. Both the chief constable and deputy chief constable (DCC) show clear leadership and emphasise the importance of ethical standards. All staff know the standards expected of them and the force has plans to integrate its existing values with the new Code of Ethics. The force has systems in place to enable it to respond to intelligence about corruption or unprofessional behaviour, although it is limited in its ability to be more proactive. Information security is a key strength for the force and the force demonstrates the highest levels of information security. However, it needs to develop its existing checking mechanisms when gifts and hospitality are declined and business interest applications are withdrawn.
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 less 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 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 that 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 that there were competent and experienced staff in the control room, dealing with calls effectively. Staff understood the importance of identifying repeat victims but they did not always ask the right questions to establish whether the caller had been a victim before, or whether the victim was particularly vulnerable.
The force has good crime-recording procedures in place when receiving reports of crime, meaning that victims of crime receive the service they should when they first report a crime.
However, HMIC is concerned with the accuracy of the decisions taken by the force when making no-crime decisions (cancelling a recorded crime), too many of which 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?
Staff in Lincolnshire Police are knowledgeable on well established ‘PRIDE’ values (Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Dedication and Empathy), which are embedded in force behaviours and the positive ‘way things are done’ in the force. There is clear leadership from the chief constable to create a climate of ethical behaviour.
Lincolnshire makes extensive use of e-learning packages, supplemented by force newsletters and televised recordings to spread important messages. There is scope to publicise the results of disciplinary meetings and misconduct hearings more effectively, as well as publishing the results of drug and alcohol tests which would further support the force’s stance on professional standards.
The DCC leads on professional standards and is seen as accessible and approachable by staff and staff associations. There are good governance arrangements in place and information is shared with the police and crime commissioner to enable him to force performance effectively.
There is evidence that staff report unprofessional behaviour of others, either to a supervisor or to the professional standards department (PSD) and they feel supported in doing so.
The force demonstrates the highest levels of information security. In addition, the vetting unit is robust and performs effectively. The force does make use of random and ‘with cause’ drug and alcohol testing, and carries out integrity testing to good effect.
Due to significant budget reductions the force has reduced overall staffing levels within its PSD and the anti-corruption unit (ACU). Sources of potential corruption are effectively risk assessed and there are processes in place to analyse intelligence, which are then used effectively to support investigations.
Nevertheless, the ACU needs to be more proactive in overseeing and directing investigations, which prevent and deter corrupt practices. The force is not able to monitor its force systems or social media sites proactively, although it is planning to introduce software to enable this soon.
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 Lincolnshire Police show that:
Crime Survey for England and Wales (12 months to March 2013)
- 54 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.
- 62 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 (± 1.9 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 Lincolnshire Police 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 both ’emergency’ and ‘priority’ calls had declined.
The crime data integrity inspection found that 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 that staff understood the importance of identifying repeat victims but they did not always ask the right questions to establish whether the caller had been a victim before, or whether the victim was particularly vulnerable. Call-handlers were well trained in identifying domestic abuse and had good understanding of risk assessment. There were competent and experienced staff in the control room, dealing with calls effectively, and oversight and supervision of the initial response was good.
To what extent are the data and information provided by the force of a high quality?
We examined 90 incident records and found that 86 crimes should have been recorded. Of the 86 crimes that should have been recorded, 84 were. Of the 84, two were wrongly classified and eight were recorded outside the 72-hour limit allowed under Home Office Counting Rules (HOCR). While there is a need to improve the timeliness of the recording of some reports of crime, overall this is a good result for the force. The force is good at recording crime which means that victims of crime are more likely to receive the service they deserve (because, for example, certain victim support services are only triggered when a crime is recorded).
The force also has a centralised crime-recording unit through, which HMIC have estimated that the force records approximately 36 percent of the total of its recorded crime. This unit records reports of crime directly from members of the public which do not require the creation of an incident record. Our inspection of this unit (a review of 11 calls from the public) found that of the 12 crimes that should have been recorded, all 12 were recorded correctly. This is an effective approach to crime-recording for the force.
We examined 89 no-crime records and found 71 records to be compliant with HOCR and the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS). As the no-crime records HMIC reviewed were for offences of rape, robbery and violence, this is a matter of concern.