Leicestershire PEEL 2015
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Overall, HMIC judges Leicestershire Police as good at keeping people safe and reducing crime.
The force is committed to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, investigations are of a good quality and the force works well at tackling serious and organised crime. However, in the important areas of protecting vulnerable people, the force needs to improve. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so comparison of their year-on-year effectiveness is not possible.
Leicestershire Police is committed to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. The force has a strong approach to prevention which officers and staff understand well. The force’s has a firm commitment to working with its partners, taking early action to prevent anti-social behaviour from happening in the first place and to prevent it from escalating.
The force generally carries out good quality investigations, which includes making sure victims are safe and keeping them informed about how their cases are progressing. The force works well to identify, investigate and bring to justice repeat and dangerous offenders. The force also has effective programmes in place to reduce re-offending.
The force has a good understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime. In this area the force has highly skilled, experienced staff and an excellent working relationship with the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU), a regional crime unit represented by a number of East Midlands forces. This gives Leicestershire Police access to additional capability to disrupt the activity of organised crime groups.
The leadership has strong oversight of the force’s ability to respond to national threats, such as terrorism, serious cyber-crime incidents and child sexual abuse. Its own arrangements for ensuring it can meet its national obligations in this regard such as planning, testing and exercising are good.
How effective is the force at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, and keeping people safe?
Leicestershire Police is good at preventing crime, anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe; this is consistent with the findings of HMIC’s crime inspection in 2014. The reduction of crime and anti-social behaviour are explicit force priorities and are routinely translated into operational policing activity.
The force has a ‘top-to-bottom’ commitment to continue to maximise the benefits of joint working, and shares information effectively with partners at county, district and neighbourhood level. This makes the best use of joint resources to keep people safe, manage harmful offenders and support victims effectively.
The commitment to these priorities is reinforced through the new neighbourhood policing teams which are the lynchpin of the force’s revised operating model. These teams work effectively with community safety partnerships in district and borough councils. The integration of the police and other public services in joint action groups has contributed to sustainable reductions in anti-social behaviour.
The force is making progress in its use of ‘evidence-based’ policing, a new mapping and resourcing application that evaluates the impact of patrol in crime and anti-social behaviour hotspots.
The force could make greater use of the database that the force shares with other partner organisations to evaluate the impact of joint working and learn from what works.
How effective is the force at investigating crime and managing offenders?
Overall the force’s capability to investigate crime and manage offenders is good.
In HMIC’s crime inspection in 2014 the force was also judged to be good in this area. The general standard of investigation, following the allocation of crime to officers, is good. Enquiries are detailed, completed promptly and supervision is thorough.
This is especially so in relation to specialist investigative units where detectives are highly skilled, experienced and well-motivated.
However, there is still some room for improvement. We found delays in allocating crime for further investigation and keeping victims up-to-date with the progress of enquiries.
Productive working with partner organisations ensures that the force’s management of registered sex offenders and other dangerous individuals is effective. We found a firm focus on helping people understand the causes of their offending, early interventions to support them and channelling individuals away from the criminal justice system.
Victim satisfaction with Leicestershire Police has been falling since March 2014; the force has recognised this is a concern and is taking steps to better understand and address this issue.
The force should also review its arrangements for tracing suspects who are wanted for crimes they have committed.
Areas for improvement
- The force should introduce a clear process to ensure that it arrests swiftly those who are circulated as wanted on the police national computer, those who fail to appear on police bail and named suspects identified through forensic evidence.
How effective is the force at protecting from harm those who are vulnerable, and supporting victims?
Leicestershire Police generally provides a good service in identifying vulnerable people and responds well to them. It works well to provide more effective joined-up services with partner organisations with some excellent examples of innovative joint projects to support vulnerable victims. However, there are several areas where improvement is needed to ensure the service is consistent and vulnerable people are properly protected, particularly victims of domestic abuse and investigating online child sexual exploitation.
The force needs to improve its process for allocating investigations including on occasions those involving vulnerable victims, to ensure that investigative opportunities, and importantly opportunities to protect victims are not lost, putting at risk both the safety of the victim and the ability to bring the offender to justice.
The force is committed strongly to improving its services to protect vulnerable people but needs to review its understanding of the scale and nature of crimes against vulnerable people so that it can be sure that the services it has designed and implemented with partner agencies best meet their needs.
The force’s management of missing children and services to the highest risk victims of domestic abuse have improved. However, the lack of capacity in the unit dealing with online child sexual exploitation is undermining its effectiveness.
Areas for improvement
- The force should improve its compliance with its duties under the code of practice for victims of crime specifically in relation to victim personal statements.
- The force should improve its response to children at risk of sexual exploitation by ensuring that the unit with responsibility for investigating online child sexual exploitation is able to manage its increasing workload effectively and has the appropriate tools to maximise its performance.
- The force should improve its response to domestic abuse by taking steps to ensure it:
- allocates cases for investigation in a timely and effective manner through its Investigation Management Unit;
- clarifies the roles and responsibilities for safeguarding victims of domestic abuse who have been assessed as at medium or standard risk, and puts in place a process to supervise the safety plans;
- reviews the process to reassess high risk cases within the domestic abuse investigation unit to ensure it is being correctly applied; and
- clarifies the deployment and use of body-worn video cameras by officers attending incidents of domestic abuse.
How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime, including its arrangement for fulfilling its national policing responsibilities?
HMIC found that Leicestershire Police has a good understanding of the threat and risk posed by serious and organised crime. The force gathers, analyses and disseminates intelligence relating to this type of offending well.
There is evidence of effective joint working with other law enforcement agencies to disrupt activity and limit the impact of organised crime groups. We assess that the force co-ordinates and prioritises activity to tackle serious and organised crime effectively.
HMIC is satisfied that the force has the necessary arrangements in place to ensure that it can fulfil its commitment to the high level, national threats specified in The Strategic Policing Requirement.
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.