Derbyshire PEEL 2016
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Derbyshire Constabulary is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Our overall judgment is the same as last year, when we judged the force to be good in respect of effectiveness. From that strong base, it has made additional improvements. It is good at preventing crime, dealing with the things that matter to local communities and protecting vulnerable people. Investigations are good, but could be managed better and be more victim-orientated. The force’s approach to serious and organised crime is outstanding. It has carefully considered and tested its ability to fulfil its national policing requirements.
Derbyshire Constabulary is good at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. It understands its communities well and the threats they face. Neighbourhood staff are responsive to the things that matter to their local communities. The force achieves considerable success and has broadened its engagement across the community through the role of the digital PCSO (police community support officer), who uses social media to communicate and share advice with the public.
The force works well with partner organisations, such as local councils, to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour, but it does not use a common problem-solving model and this impairs its ability to measure its successes.
Initial investigations by the force are good and its improved computer systems mean call-handlers are better equipped to identify vulnerable victims at the earliest opportunity.
Investigations of crimes are routinely handed over between teams and we found a variable quality of handovers and supervisory reviews. However, investigations are generally of a good quality and a high proportion of them result in offenders being brought to justice. As in HMIC’s 2015 effectiveness inspection, we found occasions when PCSOs investigate crime when they are not trained to do so.
The force has a good understanding of the nature and scale of threats from crime faced by the public and the different ways in which people can be considered vulnerable. Frontline officers assess risk to an adequate standard when dealing with domestic abuse. Good progress is being made to achieve the improvements set out in the force’s domestic abuse action plan, written in response to recommendations contained in the HMIC report, Everyone’s business: Improving the police response to domestic abuse published in 2014. However, the force needs to ensure that staff understand that domestic abuse is a wider problem than physical violence alone. The force is good at working in co-operation with partner organisations to support victims of domestic abuse. Specialist staff from the police and from other agencies work together at two multi-agency safeguarding hubs (MASHs). Both hubs are operating well and improvements to the way cases are managed means that more multi-agency risk assessment conferences (MARACs) are being held across Derbyshire providing support to more victims facing the highest risk, and in greatest need, than in previous years.
Innovation and a strong partnership approach are used both to understand and to tackle serious and organised crime. When organised crime groups are identified, comprehensive analysis is carried out to understand how they operate and who is involved. The force is capable of carrying out complex investigations to disrupt organised crime groups and bring offenders to justice. It also makes good use of the specialist capabilities that are available via the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU). There is increasing emphasis on understanding how serious and organised crime affects communities and particularly those people vulnerable to exploitation. Targeted prevention activity is conducted by multi-agency teams and through excellent use of social media.
Derbyshire Constabulary has the necessary arrangements in place to fulfil its national policing responsibilities. The armed policing strategic assessment was reviewed in the wake of the terror attacks in Europe and a variety of exercises have taken place to test the force’s response to a marauding terrorist firearms attack.
How effective is the force at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe?
Derbyshire Constabulary is good at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. It understands its communities well and the threats they face. Safer neighbourhood teams operate well; staff are dedicated to recognising and managing issues of importance to their local community. The force regularly assesses changes in community composition and criminal behaviour to understand the nature of risk to the public.
The force has adopted a better approach to engaging with the public, moving away from formal meetings towards visiting all sections of the community at places they congregate in or go to for support. Through the role of the digital PCSO, the force has also achieved considerable success in broadening its engagement online into different parts of the community, specifically young people and others not comfortable or able to make direct contact with the police.
Police staff work alongside those from other agencies and there is co-ordination of problem-solving intervention and tactical activity at force and local level, although better use could be made of powers to deal with anti-social behaviour. Because the force does not use a common, problem-solving model or evaluation process, this impairs its ability to measure success and share learning points from operations.
Areas for improvement
- The force should evaluate and share effective practice routinely, both internally and with partner organisations, to continually improve its approach to the prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour.
How effective is the force at investigating crime and reducing re-offending?
Derbyshire Constabulary is good at investigating crime and reducing re-offending. The force is more successful than other forces in its pursuit of justice for victims, even when victims are too fearful or otherwise reluctant to support prosecutions.
Initial investigations are conducted well by response officers and subsequent investigations are generally of good quality and allocated appropriately among teams. However, PCSOs continue to be allocated crimes to investigate when they are not trained to do so. This creates a risk that the quality of investigations and service provided to victims will suffer. Investigations handed over to other units can be of variable quality with inconsistent supervision. Specialist support is good, particularly the provision of intelligence and digital investigation skills.
The force has maintained good levels of satisfaction among victims of crime and relatively few withdraw their support for police action during investigations. However, not enough victims are being offered the opportunity to make victim personal statements and not all staff comply with all aspects of the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime.
Clear and effective processes are in place across the force, built upon good partnership working, to manage suspects and offenders who present the highest risk to the public.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that the quality of investigations handed over between units is consistently high.
- The force should ensure that it is fully compliant with the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime.
How effective is the force at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims?
Derbyshire Constabulary is good at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims. The force understands the nature and scale of vulnerability among the local community. Vulnerable victims are identified and assessed well by call-handlers, and the allocation of incidents to frontline staff is effective.
Frontline officers assess risk to an adequate standard, and the force is working to improve the overall quality of risk assessments.
The force did not provide data about arrests made during the course of domestic abuse investigations, but it is clear that positive action is taken during those investigations. The force is making good progress with its domestic abuse action plan. However the persistent use of the term ‘domestic violence’, rather than ‘domestic abuse’ should be addressed to ensure that staff understand that some domestic abuse is not physical.
The force makes an effective contribution to multi-agency work with external partner organisations, working closely with them to improve services. Two multi-agency safeguarding hubs (MASHs) have been created recently and they are functioning well. There has been a large growth in the use of multi-agency risk assessment conferences (MARACs) across all of Derbyshire and safeguarding is managed well by both neighbourhood and specialist staff.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that staff understand domestic abuse in its broadest sense, and that it does not necessarily involve physical violence. They should identify and respond to domestic abuse accordingly.
How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime?
Derbyshire Constabulary is outstanding at tackling serious and organised crime. The force uses innovative techniques and a strong partnership approach to understand the threat posed by serious and organised crime. Its strategic assessment considers current and emerging threats affecting the local community and is well informed by the force’s excellent links with foreign police officers, embassies and mediators from local communities. The force is in the process of updating its local profile and has introduced a supplementary document to summarise current threats and disruption activity that is used to brief partner agencies and frontline staff.
The force has a progressive approach to building intelligence, using many techniques and sources. Intelligence specialists work closely with partner agencies to understand new and emerging threats, prioritising those which exploit or import greatest vulnerability.
Organised crime groups are mapped and comprehensively managed in line with national guidance. All investigations are carefully monitored, with regular disruption activity carried out in co-operation with law enforcement and other partner agencies.
A ‘lifetime’ approach to offender management is taken, with all offenders subject to assessment and intervention before they are released from prison.
A wide variety of targeted prevention initiatives are conducted by multi-agency teams. These supplement the excellent use of social media to promote safety and awareness messages linked to serious and organised crime.
How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?
Derbyshire Constabulary has the necessary arrangements in place to ensure that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities. Clear lines of accountability exist through to senior officer level. Threats are assessed well by specialist staff, with detailed problem profiles incorporating partner information where appropriate.
Robust systems and contingencies are in place to maintain the security of force IT systems. Hostile acts towards the force’s systems have been defeated and senior staff know how to respond to notifications of new threats.
The force is a fully committed and active participant in the local resilience forum and is routinely engaged in exercises and testing plans with other emergency services, local authority and military partner organisations.
The force’s armed policing strategic threat and risk assessment is compliant with College of Policing guidelines and the Home Office codes of practice. It uses all appropriate intelligence sources to assess threat and risk and was last reviewed in April 2016 in the wake of the terror attacks in Europe. Several exercises and training events have taken place in 2016 to test the force’s response to a marauding terrorist firearms attack, including with Nottinghamshire Police.