Avon and Somerset 2017Read more about Avon and Somerset 2017
This is HMICFRS’ fourth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Avon and Somerset Constabulary. PEEL is designed to give the public information about how their local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year. The assessment is updated throughout the year with our inspection findings and reports.
The extent to which the constabulary is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
The extent to which the constabulary is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
The extent to which the constabulary is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
Wendy Williams, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
Read my assessment of Avon and Somerset Constabulary below, or watch the video.
I am very pleased with the performance of Avon and Somerset Constabulary in all aspects of keeping people safe and reducing crime. I note the improvements made since 2016 in response to our recommendations that it should ensure it is tackling serious and organised crime effectively.
The force has a comprehensive understanding of the demand for its services. It consults widely with communities, using a range of methods to seek feedback on policing services. Efficient collaboration with a range of other organisations ensures that the services it provides meet public need.
Leaders proactively seek feedback from the workforce and encourage a culture of continuous improvement across the organisation. I am very pleased with the way the force treats both the people it serves and its own workforce, and in particular with the use of personal bias profiling to reinforce the importance of ethical decision making.
I commend Avon and Somerset Constabulary for its performance this year and the good progress made since last year.
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Avon and Somerset Constabulary is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. It has performed well in this year’s effectiveness inspection and has made good progress since last year.
The force is good at investigating crime and reducing re-offending. Better supervision and quality-assurance processes, and new electronic templates for gathering early evidence are improving investigations. However, the force could do more to understand why victims do not support police action and cases cannot proceed to prosecution because of evidential difficulties.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary is good at protecting vulnerable people from harm and supporting victims. Officers and staff understand how to identify vulnerable people and take positive safeguarding action. The force is good at identifying and supporting people who are experiencing mental ill-health. It generally investigates crimes involving vulnerable people to a good standard, and makes good use of legal powers to protect vulnerable people. However, the force needs to understand why its domestic abuse outcomes are not as good as those of other forces.
The force is good at tackling serious and organised crime. It assesses, monitors and reviews threats from serious and organised crime, but would benefit from including more data from partner organisations in its serious and organised crime local profiles. It collaborates well with other agencies, such as the local authority, health, fire and probation services, to help prevent organised crime. However, the force should improve its understanding of how its work affects serious and organised crime and ensure that it learns from experience to maximise the force’s disruptive effect.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary has the necessary arrangements in place to fulfil its national policing responsibilities and to respond to an attack which requires an armed response. The force has a comprehensive regime of exercises to test its response to major incidents. These are regularly tested with partners, such as the armed forces, and information on their outcomes is disseminated using a joint partnership IT system.
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Avon and Somerset Constabulary is judged to be good in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our overall judgment this year is the same as last year. The force is judged to be outstanding in its understanding of demand; its use of resources to manage demand is judged to be good; and its planning for future demand is judged to be good.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary has a comprehensive understanding of the current demand for its services, based on a wide range of management information. The force uses a data visualisation application called Qlik Sense, which gives it access to real-time management information, and its use has recently been extended to include partnership data. This should increase the effectiveness of early intervention and joint problem-solving activity. The force has sought funding from the Home Office Police Transformation Fund (a fund which is intended to transform policing through digitalisation), to expand the use of Qlik Sense across 20 partner agencies, including local authorities, health, fire and other police forces.
In our 2016 inspection, we reported on the force development of a ‘business intelligence system’ that provides an ‘at a glance’ view of current and predicted demand using predictive analytics. This provides a more sophisticated and precise way of looking at current and future demand, by drawing on information from a wide range of police and partnership data to map and predict current and future trends, and enables the force to identify the resources required to meet calls for service and to use those resources more effectively.
The force has a good understanding of the public’s expectations, and consequently has made a commitment to maintaining neighbourhood policing teams. It uses its resources well to manage demand and it collaborates with partner agencies to reduce demand and costs, including working with them to deal with and support the most frequent users of their services. The force recognises the potential future demand for its services and works well with partners collaboratively to manage demand effectively. The introduction of a new operating model allows the force to deploy officers and staff more effectively across a ‘borderless’ force area, which means the force is more likely to provide a service that meets public needs and expectations.
The force is working to understand its current workforce’s skills and capabilities better, to ensure that future policing needs are resourced effectively. It is making significant investment in ICT and has realistic plans in place to meet the technological challenges it may face in the future. It has a clear commitment to invest in leadership and workforce development through career pathways and development opportunities for both officers and staff.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Avon and Somerset Constabulary is judged to be good at how legitimately it keeps people safe and reduces crime. For the areas of legitimacy we looked at this year, our overall judgment is the same as last year. The force is judged to be outstanding at treating all of the people it serves with fairness and respect. It is judged as good at ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully and at treating its workforce with fairness and respect.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary is judged to be good in the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force is outstanding at treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. It consults with communities to understand expectations of the service they receive from the police. It uses a range of methods to seek feedback and challenge from the public and promotes accountability through publishing comprehensive information, particularly regarding use of police powers, on the force website. The force actively monitors its use of coercive powers, including stop and search data; this information is shared with external advisory groups to explain the use of this tactic and seek feedback from community leaders.
The force promotes an ethical culture and there is positive role modelling by leaders and an ethical approach to decision making. The innovative use of body-worn video footage to role model communication skills when dealing with the public effectively demonstrates the standards the force requires of its workforce. Officers and staff have been provided with training and guidance on unconscious bias and the force is developing awareness further by providing personal bias profiling. The force is good at raising public awareness of how to make a complaint, including providing complainants with additional support where required.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary is working to improve areas that affect workforce perceptions of fair and respectful treatment. The force needs to improve how it investigates concerns, problems or complaints raised formally by officers or staff, and has plans in place to do so. There are direct lines of communication between leaders and the workforce and a culture where feedback and challenge are encouraged. We found a number of good initiatives to address wellbeing and processes to support the development and progression of officers and staff, including a new leadership programme developed together with the workforce, which represents an excellent example of leaders listening to officers and staff.
How well has the force performed in our other inspections?
In addition to the three core PEEL pillars, HMICFRS carries out inspections of a wide range of policing activity throughout the year. Some of these are conducted alongside the PEEL inspections; others are joint inspections.
Findings from these inspections are published separately to the main PEEL reports, but are taken into account when producing the rounded assessment of each force's performance.
Abuse of position assessment – Avon and Somerset Constabulary – published on 5 October 2017
Joint targeted area inspection of the multi-agency response to abuse and neglect in Bristol – published on 1 December 2017