Metropolitan PEEL 2016
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
The Metropolitan Police Service requires improvement in respect of its effectiveness at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Our overall judgment is the same as last year. The force works hard to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour, but its inadequate approach to keeping vulnerable people safe is a cause of concern to HMIC. The quality of some investigations and its management of offenders also require improvement. Its response to gangs is impressive, but its wider approach to tackling serious and organised crime requires improvement.
The Metropolitan Police Service requires improvement at keeping people safe and reducing crime.
The force is clearly committed to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. It understands the importance of involving the public in setting neighbourhood level policing priorities. It is investing well in crime prevention, but the force does not routinely review the effectiveness of its tactics to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.
The force has good processes in place to respond to reported incidents. However, the quality of initial investigations needs to improve, which, together with a shortage of trained detectives, is undermining the force’s investigation performance. The force’s approach to integrated offender management has improved but needs to be more consistent. Local police teams are not routinely involved in the management and monitoring of registered sex offenders who live in their local community.
How the force protects vulnerable people and supports victims is inadequate. Awareness and consideration of vulnerable people by officers and staff has improved a little since 2015. Information, systems and process for dealing with vulnerability in general, and in areas such as missing and absent children, have been made clearer. Despite this, problems remain: examples are understanding the links between missing and absent children and child sexual exploitation, and thinking about all individuals and risk in domestic abuse incidents.
The force makes good use of its own intelligence to tackle serious and organised crime, but the absence of information from other organisations with which it works means that it does not have a full picture of the threats to London’s communities. The force’s response to serious and organised crime is effective in some respects; however, it does not routinely the best use of partner organisations or neighbourhood policing to tackle serious and organised crime.
The force has the necessary arrangements in place to test its preparedness for national threats. It has assessed comprehensively the threat of attacks requiring an armed response.
How effective is the force at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe?
The Metropolitan Police Service is good at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe.
The force is good at assessing the areas of highest threat, risk and harm, and planning how it will tackle both traditional threats and some aspects of ‘hidden crime’. However, it uses only police-generated data for some problem profiles about threat or risk of harm within communities, limiting its understanding.
The force understands the importance of involving the public in setting policing priorities at the neighbourhood level. It makes sure that the public can become involved in priority setting and problem solving. It has also works closely to engage those communities that are less likely to trust and have confidence in the police.
The force invests substantially in its crime prevention work, although in some boroughs officers and staff are frequently redeployed to cover reactive duties, which limits their ability to prevent crime in neighbourhoods. For some initiatives, the force assesses the effectiveness of problem-solving and crime prevention activities. However, problem-solving activity is inconsistent, and not routinely assessed by the safer neighbourhood teams. This means that the effect on reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, the lessons learned, and good practice are not identified.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that local policing teams engage routinely, and work closely, with local communities, and undertake structured problem solving alongside partner organisations in order to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour.
- The force should adopt a structured and consistent problem-solving process to enable it to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour more effectively.
- The force should evaluate and share effective practice routinely, both internally and with partners, in order continually to improve its approach to the prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour.
How effective is the force at investigating crime and reducing re-offending?
The Metropolitan Police Service’s investigation of crime and management of offenders requires improvement.
The force has robust processes in place to enable it to respond appropriately to reported incidents. Important information is passed to first responders, but difficulty with getting additional information causes delays at crime scenes.
Crimes are allocated effectively for secondary investigation; overall, the quality of investigation is good but initial investigations need to improve. The force is aiming to do this through ‘Mi Investigation’, but this is some way off implementation. The force has restructured its forensic provision successfully and works hard to meet the increased demand for this service. It has taken steps to improve compliance with the requirement to take victim personal statements, but further improvement is required.
The force monitors wanted persons and outstanding suspects actively. Its approach to integrated offender management is improving, but more needs to be done to ensure consistency. Progress in completing risk assessments for registered sex offenders is too slow. Response and neighbourhood teams have limited knowledge of these offenders locally and do not monitor or collect intelligence about them routinely.
Some improvement has certainly been made since HMIC’s 2015 assessment of ‘requires improvement’; the force needs to ensure that this continues.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that the risks posed by registered sex offenders are managed effectively.
- The force should ensure that frontline staff are aware of the registered sex offenders in their area so that they can play a part in their monitoring and management.
- 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?
The Metropolitan Police Service is inadequate in its capacity and capability to protect those who are vulnerable from harm and support victims. HMIC’s 2016 child protection inspection found serious shortcomings in the force’s response to missing and absent children. These findings have been considered as part of HMIC’s 2015 effectiveness assessment.
The force’s awareness, consideration and assessment of vulnerability have improved slightly since 2015. The force has also updated its child sexual exploitation problem profile, although it still does not fully understand the nature and scale of other forms of vulnerability. Systems and processes in place for dealing with missing and absent persons have been made clearer, and support systems are in place to help officers and staff when dealing with vulnerable people. Despite these changes, problems remain in understanding the links between missing and absent children and child sexual exploitation, and in considering all individuals and risk in domestic abuse incidents. Officers and staff often fail to complete the proper risk assessments to ensure that victims of domestic abuse are kept safe.
Specialist teams investigate offences involving vulnerability and safeguarding. However, there is a shortage of detectives in these teams, and a lack of co-ordination between teams hampers the quality of some investigations involving vulnerable victims. Opportunities to protect victims of domestic abuse are being missed.
Cause of concern
The Metropolitan Police Service’s approach to protecting vulnerable people from harm and supporting victims is a cause of concern to HMIC. There are a range of shortcomings which, taken together, mean that the force is providing a poor service to vulnerable people and putting victims at risk.
The force should immediately take steps to improve its services to vulnerable people by:
- developing its understanding of the nature and scale of other vulnerabilities in the force area, such as missing and absent children and domestic abuse;
- assuring itself that mental health incidents are being flagged as far as possible, to enable it to understand fully the demand that this presents;
- ensuring that frontline officers have the awareness and knowledge required to recognise vulnerability in all its forms;
- improving the completion rate, quality and supervision of DASH forms;
- understanding why training gaps remain in specialist teams and considering how best to respond to these;
- improving the uptake of training for specialist investigation where this is available;
- increasing the use of Domestic Abuse Protection Orders, Domestic Abuse Prevention Notices, and Clare’s Law; and
- improving the consistency of the structure, responsibilities and processes in the multi-agency safeguarding hubs.
How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime?
There is much effective work by the Metropolitan Police Service on serious and organised crime and positive results are easy to identify. Nonetheless, the force requires improvement in some areas. Although it makes good use of its own intelligence, it has failed to produce a serious and organised crime profile in conjunction with its partners, so does not have a shared picture of the threats to London’s communities. The force does not map identified organised crime groups (OCGs) as well as it should and does not fully comply with the national guidance. Despite the force updating mapped OCG records during 2016, and providing training to officers on the OCG mapping process, its understanding of serious and organised crime remains incomplete.
This is a finely-balanced judgment, since in many respects the force’s response to serious and organised crime is admirable. It is able to investigate OCGs successfully. However, its approach is overwhelmingly based on pursuit, and too often lacks the involvement of partner organisations and neighbourhood policing teams.
In contrast, the force’s response to gang crime is impressive. It has initiatives to deter people at risk of being drawn into gang activity, good local awareness of the gangs that operate in communities, and good partnership and local policing involvement in activities targeting gangs. The force communicates well with the public about serious and organised crime.
Areas for improvement
- The force should further develop its serious and organised crime local profile in conjunction with partner organisations to enhance its understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime and inform joint activity aimed at reducing this threat.
- The force should engage routinely with partner agencies at a senior level to enhance intelligence sharing and promote an effective, multi-agency response to serious and organised crime.
- The force should ensure that it maps all organised crime groups promptly following identification and re-assesses them at regular intervals in line with national standards.
- The force should improve the awareness of organised crime groups among neighbourhood teams to ensure that they can reliably identify these groups, collect intelligence and disrupt their activity.
- The force 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 a ‘4 Ps’ (pursue, prevent, protect, prepare) structure for OCG management plans.
How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?
The Metropolitan Police Service has comprehensive arrangements in place to ensure that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities. It has carried out an assessment of the six threats in the Strategic Policing Requirement (SPR) and understand its obligations under the SPR.
The force has undertaken a comprehensive assessment of the threat of firearms attack, with different scenarios. It has an armed policing strategic threat assessment that is reviewed regularly. The commissioner has determined that the force’s armed capability should be increased further, and plans are in place to achieve this.