Thames Valley PEEL 2014
Does the force act with integrity and provide a service the public expects?
The chief officer team provides strong leadership and the ethical stance of the chief constable and deputy chief constable is recognised across the force. The force is committed to embracing the Code of Ethics. There is good evidence of staff challenging unprofessional behaviour, and effective systems are in place to identify wrongdoing. The processes for identifying and addressing the risks posed by misconduct, unprofessional behaviour and corruption are effective.
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 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 supervisors in the control rooms conducted some monitoring of call taking, that tended to be focused on higher risk call types; the results of this monitoring were fed back to staff on a one-to-one basis. The domestic abuse inspection found that staff were confident and empathetic when dealing with callers and understood that being a repeat victim, or vulnerable, placed a victim at greater risk, which influenced their decision as to the urgency of police response. However, for officers attending a domestic abuse incident, more could be done to speed up the background information provided to help them assess the risk posed to the victim, offender or others at the scene.
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.
To what extent does the force ensure that the workforce acts with integrity?
The force has made good progress in addressing the four areas for improvement identified in the 2012 inspection, and the quality and scope of the new integrity training is impressive. However, more work needs to be done to ensure that staff understand the detail of some key policies to protect the integrity of individuals and the organisation.
The processes for identifying and addressing the risks posed by misconduct, unprofessional behaviour and corruption are effective. Investigators are capable and well trained and the quality of decisions made is good. However, improvements should be made to support and provide further training for supervisors; enhance the professional standards department’s preventative role; and improve identification of vulnerable groups and individuals.
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 Thames Valley Police show that:
Crime Survey for England and Wales (12 months to March 2013)
- 67 percent of adults surveyed think that the police do an excellent/good job, which is greater 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)
- 88.7 percent (± 1.8 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 that Thames Valley 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 both ’emergency’ and ‘priority’ calls had improved.
The crime data integrity inspection found that supervisors in the control rooms conducted some monitoring of call taking, that tended to be focused on higher risk call types.
The domestic abuse inspection found that the force had a strong focus on identifying victims of domestic abuse. Staff were confident and empathetic when dealing with callers. They understood that being a repeat victim, or vulnerable, placed a victim at greater risk, which influenced their decision as to the urgency of police response. Members of staff who received initial reports understood the importance of getting accurate information from the caller, and that staff needed the right background information when responding to these incidents. However, the system for identifying any previous history of abuse or vulnerability was not efficient. This meant that officers could attend the scene of a domestic abuse incident without knowing the full background, which may have made their risk assessment less accurate. The force prioritised the response to domestic abuse incidents and a police officer attended in every case. Comprehensive and effective training had been provided to frontline staff in identifying and dealing with the full spectrum of domestic abuse and in undertaking risk assessments.
To what extent are the data and information provided by the force of a high quality?
The crime data integrity inspection examined 156 incident records and found that 139 crimes should have been recorded. Of the 139 crimes that should have been recorded, 118 were. Of the 118, six were wrongly classified and three were recorded outside the 72-hour limit allowed under the Home Office Counting Rules (HOCR). This was of material concern because it meant that some victims’ crimes were not being recorded and they were not getting the service they deserved (because, for example, certain victim support services are only triggered when a crime is recorded).
Thames Valley Police also has a control room and enquiry department through which HMIC estimated that the force recorded approximately 38 per cent of the total of their recorded crime. The inspection of this unit (a review of 61 calls from the public) found that of the 64 crimes that should have been recorded, all 64 were recorded, one was incorrectly classified and one was recorded outside the 72-hour limit allowed under the HOCR. This was an effective approach to crime-recording for the force.
The inspection also examined 88 no-crime records and found 79 records to be compliant with HOCR and the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS). The force’s approach to no-criming was generally acceptable.