More about this area
The force says...
Cambridgeshire Constabulary covers 1,309 square miles within the east of England. Cambridgeshire has a population of around 0.8 million people, a rise of 13 percent in a decade, and has a varied geography, including sparsely populated rural communities, market towns and the cities of Ely, Peterborough and Cambridge. The resident population is diverse, with ten percent from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, and is further increased by university students and those who visit or travel through the county each year. Cambridgeshire is one of the fastest growing counties, with expected population growth of a further 25 percent by 2031.
Although crime has reduced in Cambridgeshire, calls for service & demand for policing services has not. The level and complexity of crime has increased, in particular domestic abuse and sexual offences (in line with the national trend). Cambridgeshire Constabulary has a clear mission to protect the vulnerable with a particular focus on attacking criminality in new and innovative ways. The Constabulary proactively encourages reporting of crime by working in partnership to build trust and confidence of local communities. Emerging crime threats include modern day slavery, child sexual exploitation and cybercrime, resulting in further complex investigative and safeguarding demand.
The Constabulary demonstrates value for money with the lowest cost for police officers per head of population outside London, whilst also achieving high standards of service and maintaining the frontline despite a reduced operating budget since 2010. The Constabulary prides itself on its core values of respect, openness, integrity and trust.
The imperative to increase efficiency whilst maintaining resilience has led to the development of a pioneering collaboration with Bedfordshire Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary, which is proving successful at increasing capacity and reducing cost while still meeting local needs. The Force aims to be innovative and is proud to be at the heart of introducing new technologies.
Disclaimer: the above statement has been prepared by Cambridgeshire Constabulary. The views and information in it are not necessarily those of HMICFRS.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary provides policing services to the county of Cambridgeshire. The police force area covers 1,309 square miles with in the east of England. Although there are some areas of deprivation, Cambridgeshire is generally affluent. Around 0.8 million people mainly live the urban centres which include the cities of Cambridge, Ely and Peterborough. This resident population is ethnically diverse, with 10 percent from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, and is increased by students who study in the area’s universities and the large numbers who visit or travel through the county each year.
England and Wales is made up of over 181,000 small areas known as census output areas (OAs). These have been defined by the Office for National Statistics to group together people with similar characteristics and to include, on average, 125 households. The size of the geographical area covered by each OA varies according to the population density in different parts of the country. The largest OA in England and Wales covers 20,166 hectares, and the smallest less than 0.02 hectares. A football pitch is approximately 0.75 of a hectare.
There are 2,541 OAs in Cambridgeshire with an average size of 133 hectares which is bigger than the national average of 87 hectares. While the majority (51 percent) of OAs in Cambridgeshire are relatively small at under 10 hectares, a sizeable smaller proportion (19 percent) are extremely large in size (over 100 hectares) reflecting the mixture of urban and rural localities. The smallest OAs are concentrated in Cambridge and Peterborough with the largest spread across the more sparsely populated rural areas.
The advantage of analysis at output area level is that it supports a people-centred approach. Differences in the socio-economic characteristics of people who live in different OAs lead to different behaviours, including the use of public services. These differences are reflected in the information that is collected in large data sets such as the census, the Ordnance Survey (OS) point of interest data and other quasi-economic sources that have been used in this analysis.
HMIC has been working with the London School of Economics to use econometric techniques to statistically model and predict the level of reactive demands for police services in each OA in England and Wales. Using police incident data and several thousand characteristics (variables) drawn from the census data, OS point of interest data and other smaller data sets for each OA, it has been possible to predict the number of incidents for each OA and determine how challenging each OA is likely to be to police. We have also used the house prices from the Land Registry as a proxy indicator of wealth. Cambridgeshire has a median house price, based on the OAs that have had a property transaction within the last 12 months, of £252,964 which is higher than the median of England and Wales (£230,358). Cambridgeshire has 1.1 percent of its OAs within the lowest 10 percent of house prices nationally, while 29.2 percent of OAs are within the top 10 percent of house prices nationally (and 8.5 percent of OAs are within the top 1 percent). This suggests that there are areas of affluence and high house price, with a small proportion of lower value housing and deprivation.
The demands for police services are not the same in every area of England and Wales. Our analysis has revealed that the socio-demographic characteristics of an area influence the demands for police services in that area.
In every police force, there is a concentration of predicted demands in a small number of its OAs. Taking England and Wales as a whole the most challenging 1,811 (1 percent) of these account for 10.8 percent of all the predicted incidents. We have designated these areas of very high challenge and found that they are characterised by a high concentration of people living, working, socialising or travelling in the area. Features which both cause and/or indicated a concentration of people include the number of commercial premises, including licensed premises, fast food premises, public transport and social deprivation. In some areas, these features are in combination.
1.1 percent of the very high challenge areas nationally are in Cambridgeshire. The highest challenge one percent of OAs in the force account for 8.1 percent of Cambridgeshire’s predicted incidents, these predicted demands are likely to occur in only 1.0 percent of the total area of the force.
- the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of incidents is broadly in line with the national level of one percent;
- the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of crime is broadly in line with the national level of one percent;
- the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of anti-social behaviour is lower than the national level of one percent;
- the proportion of OAs that are very high challenge to police for the predicted level of emergency and priority calls for assistance at incidents is broadly in line with the national level of one percent; and
- the proportion of OAs that are very high challenge to police for the predicted level of emergency and priority calls for assistance at crimes is broadly in line with the national level of one percent.
As an indication of the challenge for the police to reach citizens in all parts of Cambridgeshire we calculated the average travel time and distance from the central point of the force area to the centre of each of the 2,541 OAs. These calculations of distance and time are based on using the road network under normal driving conditions and speeds, and indicate the size of the area and the quality of its road network.
Cambridgeshire has 159 miles of motorways and trunk roads; the average travel distance of 21 miles (longest 41 miles and shortest 1.2 miles) and the average travel time of 33 minutes from the centre of the force to each OA are higher than the respective national averages of 17 miles and 30 minutes. This demonstrates the size and complexity of Cambridgeshire.
While the concentration of demands in a small number of locations (covering a very small area) may be helpful in focusing resources, it is not the totality of demand. The provision of services extends beyond those areas that are a very high challenge to police and includes the least challenging and most remote areas. The challenge of providing services throughout Cambridgeshire is a function of many things including the size and topography of the area, the road network and how congested the roads are. These considerations influence how police resources are organised and managed – for example, where police officers are based and their working patterns.