Humberside PEEL 2015
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Humberside Police requires improvement at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force focuses on the prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour and works well with partners. It has more work to do to improve crime investigation, but it has improved how it manages offenders. The force is committed to protecting the most vulnerable victims but needs to improve how it responds to repeat or vulnerable victims. It is good at identifying and disrupting the activity of organised crime groups and has effective arrangements in place to ensure that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so a year-on-year comparison is not possible.
Humberside Police requires improvement at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force is focused on preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. The police and crime commissioner and the chief constable are committed to maintaining neighbourhood policing to support communities. Crime prevention and reducing anti-social behaviour is understood by officers and staff across the force. The force has established partnership working with a range of organisations to support a problem-solving approach to both crime and anti-social behaviour along with managing repeat and dangerous offenders. However staff find it difficult to continue engagement at a local level to carry out preventative and problem-solving policing.
The force introduced a new way of working in April 2015. This affected the force’s capability to answer calls for its service and its capacity both to investigate crime and to maintain neighbourhood policing. Changes are planned for the near future that aim to alleviate the difficulties the force has faced.
The force has addressed some of the recommendations from HMIC’s crime inspection in 2014. It has improved the way it prevents crime and anti-social behaviour. However, there is still more work for the force to do in the ways it allocates and investigates crimes, which are inconsistent and lead at times to untrained staff investigating crime.
Protecting vulnerable people is a priority for the force but it still needs to improve how it responds to missing and absent children. The force has made a good start in ensuring it is well prepared to tackle child sexual exploitation.
Humberside Police understands the threat and risk that serious organised crime can pose to the community and has effective measures in place to manage and tackle organised crime. The force has the necessary arrangements in place to ensure that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities.
How effective is the force at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, and keeping people safe?
Humberside Police requires improvement at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour and keeping police safe. Crime levels in Humberside have remained stable since 2012, but are still relatively high.
The force and its staff understand the importance of crime prevention along with the need to work with partner organisations to continue to reduce crime, anti-social behaviour and keep people safe.
In April 2015 the force changed the way it works. The impact of this change has frustrated staff working within neighbourhood policing. They have struggled to find the capacity to continue engagement at a local level to carry out preventative and problem-solving policing. More changes in how the force works are scheduled for November 2015 and a new shift pattern is planned for February 2016.
The communities of Humberside can however feel confident that the force is working hard to resolve the difficulties it is facing to answer the demands on its service. Humberside Police continues to work hard to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour and keep people safe but more needs to be done to improve.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that the prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour is a routine part of neighbourhood policing activity.
- The force should adopt a structured and consistent problem-solving process to enable it to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour more effectively.
- The force should use evidence of ‘what works’ drawn from other forces, academics and partners to continually improve its approach to the prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour. There needs to be routine evaluation of tactics and sharing of effective practice.
How effective is the force at investigating crime and managing offenders?
Humberside Police requires improvement in investigating crime and managing offenders. Arrangements for offender management are improving but there is work for the force to do to improve the investigation of crime.
The force’s current working arrangements mean there is a lack of capacity in some teams. This has resulted in the force not being able to allocate resources consistently to incidents in line with its assessment of threat, risk and harm. It is not allocating crime consistently to suitably qualified and experienced staff. The force is making changes to the way it works in the coming months; it anticipates that these changes should address this lack of capacity.
HMIC found that the quality of investigations is variable, but that supervision and oversight is improving. Few crimes dealt with by frontline officers have a structured investigation plan documented within the file. Some crimes are being allocated to officers and police community support officers that do not have the training to enable them to undertake those investigations.
The force has a range of methods and ways of working effectively with partner organisations to identify and manage offenders to try to divert them away from further offending.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that it responds with appropriate promptness to reports of crime.
- The force should ensure that all crimes are allocated promptly to investigators with the appropriate skills, accreditation and support to investigate them to a good standard.
- The force should ensure that all investigations are completed to a consistently good standard, and in a timely manner.
- The force should ensure that there is regular and active supervision of investigations to check quality and progress.
How effective is the force at protecting from harm those who are vulnerable, and supporting victims?
Humberside Police has committed significant effort and resource to offer a high quality service. Protecting vulnerable people is a priority for the force that is shared and understood by officers and staff. However, the force needs to address the consequences of the implementation of its new way of working to ensure that the right resources are deployed to the right incident at the right time.
The force effectively identifies repeat and vulnerable victims at the initial point of contact. However, we found some delays to answering calls. The force is closely monitoring and managing this and the number of abandoned calls has started to reduce. The force investigates well those crimes committed against the most vulnerable victims, with generally the right level of expertise applied to the more complex investigations. While the force understands the importance of victim contact, it is not always achieved.
Humberside Police has made changes but still needs to improve how it responds to missing and absent children. Its response to those assessed as high-risk is good but less so for those who are medium or low-risk. The management of absent cases does not follow force policy or national guidance which could pose a risk to vulnerable victims.
The force has made a good start in ensuring it is well prepared to tackle child sexual exploitation.
Cause of concern
The force’s ability to investigate and safeguard vulnerable victims is a cause of concern for HMIC. As we previously identified in our report ‘PEEL: Police efficiency 2015 – An inspection of Humberside Police’, and reinforced during this inspection, the force needs to address the consequences of the implementation of its new operating model to ensure that the right resources are available to respond, investigate and safeguard vulnerable victims. The capacity of the hub and protecting vulnerable people unit, in particular, to deal with demand means that the force cannot respond consistently to victims in a timely and effective manner, even though many of these victims have been assessed to be vulnerable.
Areas for improvement
- The force should improve its response to vulnerable victims by ensuring that it applies effective measures to reduce the number of abandoned calls for service, its call-takers consistently use the THRIVE process to assess risk and vulnerability, and officer attendance at incidents is timely to secure investigative opportunities and provide safeguarding and support for victims.
- The force should improve its investigation of cases with vulnerable victims by ensuring cases are investigated to the required standards and in a timely manner with effective supervision and recording of plans and actions.
- The force should improve its response to missing children, specifically those assessed to be at low and medium risk. The force should achieve this by ensuring it improves its understanding of the scale and nature of the issue, that in persistent cases information from previous missing episodes is stored effectively and used to develop a co-ordinated and prioritised response, that it understands and responds to factors influencing risk assessment, and that it effectively uses systems designed to support case management.
How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime, including its arrangement for fulfilling its national policing responsibilities?
Humberside Police is good at tackling serious and organised crime. The force understands the threat and risk serious and organised crime could pose to the community.
The force has developed a local profile for serious and organised crime based primarily on police intelligence and information. The force is developing its partnership information sharing to enhance joint knowledge of organised crime groups and to work together to tackle serious organised crime.
The force has a well developed collaboration with the regional organised crime unit. There are procedures in place to prioritise, monitor and manage the activity of organised crime groups. This allows the force to prioritise its resources according to the risk and threats that organised crime groups pose to its communities.
Using a range of tactics, and drawing on the powers and tools of partner agencies, as well as specialist teams and neighbourhood staff, there is effective investigation and disruption of organised crime groups.
Humberside Police has the necessary arrangements in place to ensure that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities.
This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their effectiveness at tackling serious and organised crime, including a force’s arrangements for ensuring that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities, so no year-on-year comparison is possible.
Areas for improvement
- The force should add relevant data from partner agencies to its serious and organised crime local profile, and ensure that it has a local partnership structure in place with responsibility for tackling serious and organised crime.