Northamptonshire PEEL 2014
How well the force tackles crime
Northamptonshire Police is good at reducing crime and preventing offending. The force requires improvement at investigating offending. It is good at tackling anti-social behaviour.
There are ambitious targets to cut crime and anti-social behaviour in Northamptonshire. There has been a relatively high reduction in crime over the last year, as well as a small reduction in anti-social behaviour incidents.
The force has a strong focus on preventing crime and the police work well with partners in understanding local priorities and delivering joined-up activities to reduce crime and offending. The force is improving the way it cares for victims of crime but more work is needed to ensure that everyone in the organisation understands the importance of putting the victim first.
HMIC found weaknesses in the quality of some investigations and Northamptonshire needs to improve the way it manages investigations to ensure that it is consistently getting the best results.
Anti-social behaviour is a key priority for the force and there is some good work going on across the county to reduce anti-social behaviour and support and protect victims.
Further insights on effectiveness
The domestic abuse inspection found that although Northamptonshire’s response to tackling domestic abuse was effective in some respects, there were some important areas where improvement was needed in order to reduce the risk to victims. The crime inspection found evidence that Northamptonshire continued to make good progress to improve its response to domestic abuse.
The value for money inspection found that Northamptonshire is part of the East Midlands collaboration which provides a range of policing and support services including major crime, special branch, forensics, and serious organised crime. The collaboration arrangements provide a more effective response than could be provided solely within the force as well as providing savings.
How effective is the force at reducing crime and preventing offending?
There are ambitious targets to cut crime in Northamptonshire, and to make it the safest place in England. Over the last four years crime has fallen at a greater rate than that seen across England and Wales and in the last year there has been a relatively large reduction in crime when compared against the England and Wales rate, although HMIC identified concerns regarding the accuracy of the force’s crime-recording practices earlier this year.
There is a clear and explicit drive to improve the quality of victim care in Northamptonshire and HMIC found a strong focus from the force leadership on the importance of recognising and meeting the needs of victims.
Northamptonshire Police has a strong focus on crime prevention and HMIC found good evidence of a wide range of tactics and initiatives to cut crime and protect victims being used effectively. Frontline staff work well with partners to find ways to divert offenders and prevent crime.
How effective is the force at investigating offending?
There is clear strategic leadership and some improved processes to promote a victim-centred approach to investigations. However there is more work needed to ensure that an understanding of this is shared throughout the force at all levels.
There are some key weaknesses in the quality of investigations. There is a lack of effective supervision for investigations and a lack of clarity as to which team is responsible for investigations in some cases. This means that the force cannot be confident that all investigations are being undertaken to the required standard and that delays and confusion do not adversely impact on the outcome for victims.
Specialist teams dealing with domestic abuse and sexual offences are carrying out high quality investigations and staff are motivated and committed to providing a good, victim-centred service.
How effective is the force at tackling anti-social behaviour?
There is a greater incidence of anti-social behaviour in Northamptonshire than that seen in England and Wales. There has been a small decrease in the last year. Reducing anti-social behaviour is a clear priority for the force and it continues to invest in dedicated resources and training to enable local neighbourhood teams to better tackle it.
Partnership working is strong and constructive both at strategic and operational levels. The force works well with partners in understanding local anti-social behaviour concerns and finding creative solutions.
There is a good awareness and understanding of the importance of identifying repeat and vulnerable victims of anti-social behaviour, with effective systems in place so that the force can ensure appropriate levels of service are provided to victims.
How effective is the force at protecting those at greatest risk of harm?
The domestic abuse inspection found that, although Northamptonshire Police’s response to tackling domestic abuse was effective in some respects, with pockets of good practice, there were some important areas where improvement was needed in order to reduce the risk to victims. The force had the lowest arrest rate for domestic abuse related crimes in the country, which was a concern. The inspection found that lack of supervision of the risk assessment and safety planning process in medium and standard risk cases was a weakness, and the force could not be sure that all victims were adequately safeguarded.
The crime inspection found evidence that Northamptonshire continued to make good progress to improve its response to domestic abuse. The inspection also reviewed Northamptonshire’s domestic abuse action plan and found that although an action plan was submitted outlining activity which was in line with the agreed national priorities for forces to improve their response to domestic abuse, the detail of the activity the force had carried out to support these actions is limited. There was a separate action plan with regard to the HMIC force recommendations.
How effective is the force at tackling serious, organised and complex crime?
The value for money inspection found that Northamptonshire Police is part of the East Midlands collaboration which provides a range of policing and support services including major crime, special branch, forensics, and serious organised crime. The collaboration arrangements provide a more effective response than could be provided solely within the force as well as providing savings.
How effective is the force at meeting its commitments under the Strategic Policing Requirement?
There was no Strategic Policing Requirement inspection for this force.