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HMICFRS is consulting on our proposed policing and fire & rescue services inspection programmes

Please give us your views on these programmes by 5pm on Monday 19 February 2018.

Avon and Somerset 2017

Read 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 not yet graded.

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.

The efficiency and legitimacy inspection findings are published below.

Wendy Williams, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary

Contact Wendy Williams

HMI's observations

My overall assessment of Avon and Somerset’s performance will be published in spring 2018, following the publication of the effectiveness inspections in March 2018.


How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

To be graded
View the five questions for effectiveness


How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 09/11/2017

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.

View the three questions for efficiency


How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 12/12/2017

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.

View the three questions for legitimacy

Other inspections

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 (for instance, our 2016 leadership assessment); 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.

Key facts

Force Area

1844 square miles


1.65m people 8% local 10 yr change


76% frontline 78% national level
3 per 1000 population 3.6 national level
11% change in local workforce since 2010 15% national change since 2010

Victim-based crimes

0.06 per person 0.06 national level
Local 5 year trend (no change) National 5 year trend (no change)


46p per person per day local 55p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

  • The force polices a diverse urban and rural area with extensive coastline, international air and sea ports and a major intersection of strategic road and rail networks.
  • A diverse, richly multi-cultural population of 1.65 million brings challenges in policing, with pockets of substantial wealth contrasting deprived localities and communities.

Police and crime plan priorities

‘Protect the most vulnerable from harm’ is the highest priority within my Plan. Many vulnerable people who come into contact with the criminal justice service have a range of needs, and we need to create a more victim-centred approach to vulnerability and victimisation.

Read More

I want to see improvements in outcomes for vulnerable victims of any crime type, but particularly for victims of child abuse and sexual exploitation, modern slavery, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and hate crime.

My second priority is to ‘Strengthen and Improve your local policing teams’, ensuring the police are accessible and responsive, and local priorities are addressed.

I have also prioritised that Avon and Somerset Constabulary has the right people, equipment and culture; and that it will work together effectively with other constabularies and partners to provide better services. This includes strengthening opportunities for local people to interact with the police and have involvement in supporting policing.