Metropolitan 2014Read more about Metropolitan 2014
This is the first PEEL Assessment of the Metropolitan Police Service. 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 and is good at tackling anti-social behaviour. However, it requires improvement in the way it investigates offending;
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.
Stephen Otter, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
In making this first PEEL Assessment of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) I have taken into account the challenges of policing London.
The MPS is the biggest police force in the UK, and the largest city force in the European Union. London presents unique challenges: it hosts major events such as Notting Hill Carnival and ceremonial duties, and it is a popular destination for overseas visitors.
I have been encouraged by the priority given to tackling domestic abuse and anti-social behaviour. The leadership of this important work is translated into activity at a borough level and there is an understanding that it needs to continue to improve; anti-social behaviour levels are falling in London.
I have also been encouraged by the way in which the MPS has met the requirements of the spending review. The force has been through significant structural change during the past two years and has managed to sustain and improve performance in many areas.
Although the force’s approach to investigating offending is good in parts, I do have concerns about the inconsistencies in the quality of investigations. This means that the MPS may be missing opportunities to gather the best possible evidence to secure a successful outcome in some cases.
The domestic abuse inspection found that the force’s databases did not easily allow repeat victims to be identified if the callers did not identify themselves as previous callers.
I have 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.
Over the past 12 months, there have been a number of inspections made of the MPS that have suggested that inconsistency in the quality of police practice across the 32 boroughs is a recurrent issue.
I am interested to see how the force responds to the areas HMIC has identified for improvement over the next 12 months; in particular, how the MPS fulfils its plans to make savings from its technology and estate costs while improving the way it uses technology to sustain the effectiveness and efficiency of its services.
How well the force tackles crime
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is good at reducing crime and preventing offending. The force requires improvement in investigating offending. It is good at tackling anti-social behaviour.
The level of overall crime is higher in the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) area than anywhere else in England and Wales. The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime has set an ambitious target for the force to cut the crimes that matter most to local communities by 20 percent by 2016. Crime has fallen at a similar rate to England and Wales as a whole over the last four years, and in the year to June 2014 has fallen by a higher percentage.
HMIC found evidence that although the force’s approach to investigating crime is good in parts, there are inconsistencies in the quality of investigations. This means that the MPS may be missing opportunities to gather the best possible evidence to secure a successful outcome in some cases. We also found that although the force leadership has made a strong commitment to put the victim at the centre of police work, there are inconsistencies in the extent to which, in practice, this is happening systematically across the force.
Tackling anti-social behaviour is a priority for MPS, and the force is working well at a strategic and an operational level to provide a good service. Good progress has been made: anti-social behaviour levels are falling in London, and the force is on track to achieve its target of a 20 percent reduction by 2016.
Further insights on effectiveness
The domestic abuse inspection found the MPS provided clear leadership in its response to domestic abuse, which was translated into activity at a borough level. The inspection found that the MPS used the terminology ‘domestic violence’ and this, together with a lack of training for key staff, led the force to concentrate on the violence element of domestic abuse to the detriment of other forms of domestic abuse, such as controlling behaviour.
The custody inspection found that police custody in the MPS varied widely, with some examples of excellent provision (e.g., in Barking and Dagenham) and some of poor provision that needed to improve (e.g., Newham).
In relation to organised crime, the crime inspection found evidence of a consistently high level of emphasis on tackling serious and organised crime and gangs, with covert operators, detectives and neighbourhood officers closely involved and working together in organised crime group disruption. The MPS worked with the Home Office to gather intelligence about UK nationals seeking to travel abroad with the intention of abusing children.
The Strategic Policing Requirement inspection found that the MPS had the necessary capability and capacity to tackle all of the Strategic Policing Requirement threats including that of a large-scale cyber incident.
How well the force delivers value for money
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has met the requirements of the spending review and has the foundations in place to enable it to meet further future financial pressures.
The MPS’s change programme, ‘Met Change’, has helped the force better understand its demands and define its services.
The force has been through significant structural change during the past two years and has managed to sustain and improve performance in many areas. It has identified increased demands on the organisation as well as a number of potential future risks. These include: the emergence of cyber-enabled crime, the changing demographics of the residential population in London and the impact of high profile historical enquiries.
The force’s ability to meet these challenges and provide sustainable services has multiple dependencies. These are necessary for the continued success of the change programme and the associated plans to improve its technology, the professionalism of its workforce, and rationalising its property estate.
Does the force act with integrity and provide a service the public expects?
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has made satisfactory progress in implementing measures to promote and instil ethical and professional behaviour. There is clear leadership from the commissioner and the chief officers and much is being done by the force to make staff aware of what is required. However, HMIC found that the message was not always clearly understood. The MPS is not dealing with unprofessional behaviour and misconduct consistently well; there was a lack of understanding by supervisors and different practices dependent on location. However, the force has excellent capability to identify corruption and those at risk of being corrupted; and proactively monitors staff activity.
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 broadly in line with the figure across England and Wales. The same survey over the same period also found that the proportion that agree 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 that were satisfied with their experience was less than the figure across England and Wales.
The crime data integrity inspection found that the quality of call-handling, professionalism and victim focus by operators was excellent, with the operators being polite, helpful and professional in almost all of calls assessed.
The domestic abuse inspection found that there were weaknesses in the training provided to staff in the call centre, who tended to focus on physical violence, with reduced awareness of the less obvious forms of domestic abuse. Their databases did not easily allow repeat victims to be indentified if the callers did not identify themselves as previous callers. HMIC found that there was little training for response officers to inform their understanding of the impact that taking positive action has for a victim.
As a result of the crime data integrity inspection HMIC is concerned that a notable proportion of reports of crime are not being recorded, and this means that victims 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.