Cumbria PEEL 2016
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Cumbria Constabulary is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The constabulary has an effective approach to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour and tackling serious and organised crime. It has good arrangements in place to protect victims and to investigate crime effectively, but needs to improve the way it supports vulnerable people. Our overall judgment this year has changed from last year, when we judged the constabulary to be requires improvement in respect of effectiveness.
Cumbria Constabulary is effective at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. It has a good understanding of the threat and risk of harm to its communities. Dedicated problem-solvers provide a sustained community presence. The constabulary has made some use of anti-social behaviour powers and is expanding its understanding of the legislation.
The constabulary is effective at investigating crime and reducing re-offending. It has made significant efforts to improve the standard of its initial response to cases, their investigation and the completion of case papers. Officers and staff are well aware of their responsibilities under the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. There is still room for improvement, however, in the way that some investigations are supervised.
Since HMIC’s 2015 effectiveness report, the constabulary has made good progress in introducing arrangements with other organisations to reduce offending and monitor offenders. However, it needs to do more to ensure that it checks the previous criminal history of foreign national offenders who have been detained in police custody.
The constabulary has made progress at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm and supporting victims although it is not consistently identifying vulnerability and providing effective safeguarding. The constabulary is not using all available intelligence systems to determine the levels of risk to vulnerable people. The overall standard of the risk-assessments submitted by officers is acceptable, but could be improved.
The constabulary is effective at tackling serious and organised crime. It has responded to HMIC’s 2015 effectiveness report, and good oversight and management arrangements are now in place for the most serious organised crime groups. However, less harmful groups are not disrupted as effectively.
The constabulary has the necessary arrangements in place to ensure that it can fulfil its obligations under the Strategic Policing Requirement.
How effective is the force at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe?
Cumbria Constabulary is effective at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. Recorded crime and anti-social behaviour in Cumbria are both lower than the England and Wales rate.
The constabulary has a good understanding of the threat and risk of harm to the communities it serves through a broad range of intelligence and information-gathering arrangements. Dedicated problem-solvers working within neighbourhood policing teams provide a sustained community police presence. Community problems identified by these teams are discussed with other organisations at a range of meetings to determine further joint action.
The problem-solving approach has recently been refined and there are specialists able to support problem solving on each division. The constabulary has made some use of anti-social behaviour powers and is expanding its understanding of legislation in this area. It has a new crime prevention plan. Specialist officers are able to provide crime prevention advice to victims and to colleagues managing investigations.
How effective is the force at investigating crime and reducing re-offending?
Cumbria Constabulary is effective at investigating crime and reducing re-offending. Its initial investigative response is good. It gathers evidence effectively at first contact with the victim and allocates resources appropriately. The constabulary responds well when attending crime scenes. Currently, officers have time to investigate allegations of crime properly and initial investigations are generally conducted well. The constabulary is effective at assessing crime and allocating cases for subsequent investigation.
The constabulary has made significant efforts to improve the standards of its initial response, investigation and completion of case papers. Although it investigates crime well, there is still room for improvement in the way that some investigations are supervised. Officers and staff are well aware of their responsibilities to keep victims updated under the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime.
The constabulary is proactive about managing those offenders who pose a risk to the public. However, it needs to do more to ensure that foreign national offenders detained in police custody are subject to more consistent checks of their previous criminal history.
Since HMIC’s 2015 effectiveness report, the constabulary has made good progress in introducing new arrangements with other organisations to reduce offending and to monitor offenders under its integrated offender management programme.
Areas for improvement
- The constabulary should ensure that there is regular and active supervision of investigations to improve quality and progress.
- The constabulary should ensure that checks are routinely conducted to verify the identity, nationality and overseas convictions of arrested foreign nationals.
How effective is the force at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims?
Cumbria Constabulary has made some progress in protecting those who are vulnerable from harm and supporting victims. It has developed its understanding of vulnerability through effective intelligence-gathering.
It needs to ensure that all staff are focused on identifying vulnerability and providing adequate safeguarding.
Arrangements to identify and support vulnerable people at the point of contact within the communications centre are good. However, not all intelligence systems are used to determine levels of risk. We found some cases where vulnerable people were not responded to appropriately or quickly enough. The overall standard of risk-assessments has improved but further progress is required.
Although officers understood clearly their safeguarding responsibilities some incidents were identified where safeguarding of vulnerable victims was not considered or not effective. The presumption is that domestic abuse offenders will be arrested, and the current rate is well above that for other forces. Body-worn video cameras are not being used to their maximum potential, which could reduce the opportunity of prosecuting offenders without the victim’s support.
Safeguarding staff have the appropriate skills to work effectively with other organisations, and the information sharing arrangements work well.
Areas for improvement
- The constabulary should immediately take steps to ensure that all incidents are thoroughly assessed to identify risk and harm at initial contact. This assessment – and not the availability of response officers – should be used to determine an appropriate response to ensure that victims are kept safe.
- The constabulary should ensure that all risk-assessments relating to vulnerable people are completed to a standard that allows the officers and staff in the safeguarding hub to validate the risk and share information with other organisations effectively.
- The constabulary should clarify the use of body-worn video cameras by officers attending incidents of domestic abuse.
How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime?
Cumbria Constabulary is effective at tackling serious and organised crime. It has prepared a serious and organised crime profile, addressing all such threats across the county, which is appropriate for the problems which the constabulary is facing. However, little progress appears to have been made in introducing material from other organisations into the profile. Officers are routinely given the task of intelligence-gathering, and information collected around child sexual exploitation is particularly strong.
Organised crime groups are mapped well and in accordance with national guidance. Good arrangements are in place to oversee the response of the constabulary and other law enforcement organisations to tackling organised crime groups (OCGs).
The constabulary’s serious and organised crime unit has good oversight and management of the most serious OCGs. However, lower-tiered OCGs are not managed so well, and there is a lack of consistent interventions that would disrupt their activities effectively.
The constabulary has arrangements to identify people who are at risk of being drawn into serious and organised crime and to deter them from it, and there are several preventative projects in place across the county. However, more can be done to make effective use of ancillary orders to manage the most serious criminals within the county.
Areas for improvement
- The constabulary should further develop its serious and organised crime local profile in conjunction with other interested parties to enhance its understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime and inform joint activity aimed at reducing this threat.
- The constabulary should assign capable lead responsible officers to all active organised crime groups as part of a long-term, multi-agency approach to dismantling them. These officers should have a clear understanding of their responsibilities, and adopt an effective 4P structure for OCG management plans.
- The constabulary 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, the powers of other organisations and other tools to deter organised criminals from continuing to offend.
How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?
Cumbria Constabulary has the necessary capabilities to respond well to national threats. It has sufficient and effective specialist capabilities to protect the public adequately. The constabulary’s assessment is up to date for the six Strategic Policing Requirement threats.
The constabulary has a proven record in responding positively to natural disasters, such as widespread flooding. It has undertaken frequent exercises to refine its responsiveness in managing the risk to the public through flooding.
The constabulary has developed an armed policing strategic risk-assessment with other regional forces. It has tested its preparedness to deal with a firearms threat, including a response to a terrorist firearms attack, through exercises with other police services and the military.