Staffordshire PEEL 2014
Does the force act with integrity and provide a service the public expects?
Staffordshire Police has made some progress since our 2012 revisit. There has been sustained and effective leadership by chief officers and they have promoted a culture of integrity. Officers and staff know that high standards are expected of them but their understanding could be improved with practical guidance from supervisors. The force has effective systems in place to monitor use of force information and respond to intelligence about unprofessional behaviour, but all staff need to be confident that they can report wrongdoing.
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 who agree that 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 greater than the figure across England and Wales.
The crime data integrity inspection found that, within the force control room, operators taking calls from the public were very aware of the importance of assessing the needs of victims. The domestic abuse inspection found that the force had good systems to identify repeat callers. Staff were trained to collect as much relevant information as possible, determining threat, harm and risk to a victim using an established set of principles. However, there were some concerns that the lack of an immediate formal assessment of risk meant that some victims may not have received the level of response and support they needed in a timely way.
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. HMIC is also impressed with the accuracy of the decisions taken by the force when making no-crime decisions (cancelling a recorded crime); all of the records examined by HMIC were correct. This means the public can have confidence in the way the force records crime.
To what extent does the force ensure that the workforce acts with integrity?
HMIC found strong leadership from the chief constable and, as a result, staff are aware of the standards expected of them and the importance of the new national Code of Ethics. The force has recently launched a programme to encourage greater engagement between staff and officers and their supervisors.
Staffordshire Police has a comprehensive range of policies in place, which are supported by more detailed procedure documents. Some officers do not fully understand the constraints imposed on the use of social media, secondary occupations and the offer of gifts and hospitality. This has created uncertainty in reporting inappropriate behaviour or misconduct.
Generally, HMIC found the processes for monitoring compliance within these areas to be robust and regularly audited to ensure consistency and fairness. The force should, however, check the diaries of senior officers in order that appropriate assessment and monitoring can be exercised regarding contacts and engagements to ensure that opportunities to identify threat and risk are maximised via a transparent process. The performance assessment unit has brought together the human resources (HR) department, the professional standards department and the training department to co-ordinate activity and work together to direct investigations effectively. The anti-corruption unit remains separate.
The force actively examines information and intelligence from a broad range of sources in an innovative and productive way, triggering timely interventions and early identification of staff who may be at risk of wrongdoing or vulnerable to corruption.
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 Staffordshire Police show that:
Crime Survey for England and Wales (12 months to March 2013)
- 58 percent of adults surveyed think that the police do an excellent/good job, which is broadly in line with the figure across England and Wales of 61 percent.
- 64 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)
- 89.8 percent (± 1.5 percent) of victims were satisfied with their experience, which is greater than 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 Staffordshire Police had set a clear performance standard for response times and these had remained the same since 2010. The inspection found that during this time the proportion of calls attended within these standards for ’emergency’ calls had declined, but had increased for ‘priority’ calls.
The crime data integrity inspection found that, within the force control room, operators taking calls from the public were very aware of the importance of assessing the needs of victims. When victims did not speak English or were otherwise unable to communicate, facilities existed to provide the necessary support.
The domestic abuse inspection found that staff were trained and questioned callers to collect as much relevant information as possible. They did not use a list of questions to establish threat, harm and risk to a victim, but instead used an established set of principles to do this. This helped inform the most appropriate response. They also researched police databases to gather available information about a caller, perpetrator, family or address to help the officers who were attending the incident. HMIC found operators used this method of establishing risk and were empathetic towards callers. However, there were some concerns that the lack of an immediate formal assessment of risk meant that some victims may not have received the level of response and support they needed in a timely way. Training was inconsistent across the force and some officers were unaware that the definition of domestic abuse had changed, and therefore may have missed some incidents. The force was one of the few nationally that did not use the domestic abuse, stalking and harassment and honour-based violence risk assessment, but it used a similar model.
To what extent are the data and information provided by the force of a high quality?
The crime data integrity inspection examined 131 incident records and found that 117 crimes should have been recorded. Of the 117 crimes that should have been recorded, 113 were. Of the 113, 1was wrongly classified and 15 were recorded outside the 72-hour limit allowed under the National Crime Recording Standard and the Home Office Counting Rules. This suggested that the force had strong systems in place to ensure reported crime was recorded; however some improvement could be made in the timeliness of crime-recording decisions.
The inspection also examined 88 no-crime records and found that all were compliant with the National Crime Recording Standard and the Home Office Counting Rules. This was an excellent outcome and demonstrated a good application of the National Crime Recording Standard in respect of no-crimes.