City of London PEEL 2016
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
City of London Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force has an effective approach to investigating crime and protecting vulnerable people, particularly victims of domestic abuse. However, improvements are required in how it approaches preventing crime and anti-social behaviour and – in a change from our findings in last year’s assessment – how it tackles serious and organised crime. Our overall judgment remains the same as last year.
Overall, the effectiveness of City of London Police is good. However, improvement is required in some important areas.
The force needs to improve how it prevents crime and tackles anti-social behaviour. Although it analyses national intelligence to identify and respond to economic crime, low volumes of local intelligence impair its development of a wider understanding of threats across all communities. We found no routine use of a structured problem-solving model or assessment of the effectiveness of problem-solving activities.
The force is good at investigating crime and reducing re-offending. It allocates appropriate resources to calls for service, and its initial investigations are effective. Subsequent investigations are generally conducted effectively by suitably trained staff, supported by specialist functions. Although the improvement plan is still to be implemented, the force has responded positively to previous HMIC comments on integrated offender management.
The force is good at protecting those who are vulnerable and supporting victims. Its initial response to vulnerable victims is effective, and officers and staff have a good understanding of vulnerability, enabling them to identify and protect vulnerable people. Improved flagging of vulnerability on records would enhance this further. The force investigates effectively offences involving vulnerable victims. It also works well with other organisations to support victim safety.
The force’s approach to tackling serious and organised crime and managing organised crime groups requires improvement. We found a sophisticated understanding of the threat from economic crime and a structured process to assess the threat from serious and organised crime. However, this would be improved by increased local intelligence and data from other organisations.
The force has good specialist capabilities and effective arrangements to fulfil its national responsibilities. Appropriate arrangements are in place to deal with major incidents. An extensive armed policing strategic threat and risk assessment provides a thorough understanding of the threat from firearms.
How effective is the force at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe?
City of London Police requires improvement in its approach to preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. At a national level, the force and its national and international partner organisations analyse intelligence effectively to identify and respond to complex and emerging economic crime trends and patterns. However, at a local level there are a number of issues that inhibit the force’s understanding of the threat and risk to the communities it serves. The low volume of intelligence coming into the force both from its officers and staff and from its main local partner organisations has a serious effect on the force’s understanding of threats across all its communities. This is an area in which the force requires improvement.
The force can demonstrate good use of tactics and interventions to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour, particularly in relation to protecting victims from fraud and its management of the night-time economy. However, its workforce does not routinely use a structured problem-solving model to address issues and does not routinely assess the effectiveness of its activities.
Areas for improvement
- The force should improve its approach to collecting and analysing intelligence – including intelligence from its main partner organisations – to provide a detailed understanding of its communities.
- The force should adopt a structured and consistent problem-solving process to enable it to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour more effectively.
How effective is the force at investigating crime and reducing re-offending?
The force is good at investigating crime and reducing re-offending. Those working in the force control room are effective at gathering evidence at first contact and ensuring that appropriate resources are allocated to calls for service. The force also conducts effective initial investigations, with officers able to identify appropriate initial lines of enquiry. This means that the best available evidence is secured effectively and retained to support investigations.
The force has effective crime allocation policies which ensure that investigations are generally conducted in a thorough manner by suitably trained staff. Investigators are appropriately accredited and those who have specialist responsibilities are required to attain additional qualifications. In addition, the force’s investigative support functions, such as crime scene investigators and the hi-tech crime unit, are effective. However, the force needs to review the level of supervision provided by immediate line managers in the investigation of volume crime. Supervisors need to be aware of the force’s expectations and be sufficiently equipped to meet them.
The force has responded positively to previous HMIC comments regarding its approach to integrated offender management. However, its response still requires implementation and therefore the force should continue to consider this as an area for improvement.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that there is regular and active supervision of investigations to improve quality and progress.
- The force should ensure that its integrated offender management programme is implemented consistently across all areas.
How effective is the force at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims?
City of London Police is good at supporting victims and protecting those who are vulnerable from harm. The force effectively identifies vulnerability and correctly assesses the level of risk and need. It has conducted a problem profile of child sexual exploitation to gain a better understanding of this issue. Officers and staff have a clear understanding of vulnerability and can identify and protect vulnerable people.
The force’s initial response to vulnerable victims is effective. It has processes to identify vulnerable and repeat victims at the first point of contact, and it takes an adequate approach to the assessment of victims’ risks and provides an appropriate response. However, the force must improve its use of vulnerability flags within its crime-recording system.
The force investigates offences involving vulnerable victims effectively and works with external partner organisations to keep victims safe. It allocates all cases involving vulnerable victims to its public protection unit (PPU), which investigates offences to an adequate standard. Cases are well supervised and supervisors ensure that investigators have manageable workloads. Despite not having a multi-agency safeguarding hub in the City of London, the force works well with partner organisations to ensure that appropriate safeguarding arrangements are in place for vulnerable people.
Areas for improvement
- The force should improve the identification of the vulnerability of victims during investigations, by ensuring staff complete the necessary processes on the crime-reporting system.
- The force should reassure itself that in relation to the use of victim personal statements it is fully compliant with its duties under the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime.
How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime?
City of London Police’s response to tackling serious and organised crime requires improvement. The force uses a structured process to assess threat and risk from serious and organised crime and has a local profile which includes limited partner organisation data. As the national lead force for economic crime, the force has a sophisticated understanding of the emerging economic crime threats. However, the force’s ability to use intelligence to develop its understanding of the wider threats from serious and organised crime is hampered by poor intelligence collection and a lack of data from other organisations.
The force maps and reviews most organised crime groups in line with the national standards. However, not all crime groups are mapped promptly after identification. Some mapping took place either post-investigation or once investigation teams requested operational resources. Lead responsible officers do not understand their role, which means that organised crime groups are not being monitored and disrupted throughout their active lifespan.
The force does not make effective use of ancillary orders to prevent or disrupt individuals’ involvement in serious and organised crime. It communicates with the public around serious and organised crime and communities and provides at-risk groups with appropriate protective security advice.
Areas for improvement
- The force should enhance its ability to gather and use intelligence from a range of sources to develop its understanding of serious and organised crime.
- The force should ensure that it maps all organised crime groups promptly following identification.
- The force should ensure that it prioritises activity aimed at tackling organised crime groups effectively in order to protect communities from harm.
- The force should improve its understanding, across the government’s national 4P framework, of the impact of its activity against serious and organised crime, and ensure that it learns from experience to maximise the force’s disruptive effect on this activity.
- The force should enhance its approach to the lifetime management of organised criminals to minimise the risk they pose to local communities. This approach should include routine consideration of ancillary orders, partner organisation powers and other tools to deter organised criminals from continuing to offend.
- The force should improve its understanding of the impact of its activity on serious and organised crime and ensure that it learns from experience to maximise the force’s disruptive effect on this activity.
How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?
City of London Police has good specialist capabilities and has effective arrangements to ensure that it can fulfil its national responsibilities. Its senior management structure is modelled around the six national threats identified by the Strategic Policing Requirement; chief officers and members of the force’s senior management team have responsibility for developing the response to the specific threats and work closely with partner organisations to ensure that effective arrangements are in place to deal with a variety of incidents.
The force understands that it must prepare its own business continuity plans. However, it needs to test its own vulnerability to a significant cyber attack; this is an area for improvement for the force.
The force has an extensive firearms strategic risk assessment which ensures that it has a thorough understanding of emerging threats. It has reviewed this assessment following the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks and intends to train additional firearms officers. The force has made good progress towards the implementation of these plans and anticipates that training for all the additional officers will be completed in early 2017. As a result, the force is considered to be well prepared to respond to a firearms attack.
Areas for improvement
- The force needs to test its own vulnerability to a significant cyber attack.