Cheshire 2017Read more about Cheshire
This is HMICFRS’ fourth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Cheshire 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.
Matt Parr, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
Read my assessment of Cheshire Constabulary below.
I am very pleased with the performance of Cheshire Constabulary in keeping people safe and reducing crime.
The constabulary continues to protect vulnerable people effectively, and I am pleased to see improvements in the way it addresses serious and organised crime. However, I am concerned about the findings of our crime data integrity inspection; the constabulary is currently addressing its notable under-recording of crime.
The constabulary has a good understanding of demand and a robust priority-based budgeting process, as well as strong financial plans.
The constabulary treats members of the public and its own workforce with fairness and respect. It has improved monitoring of its use of stop and search powers, and demonstrates a strong focus on wellbeing and leadership development.
I commend Cheshire Constabulary for sustaining its positive performance over the past year, and am confident that it is well equipped for this to continue.
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Cheshire Constabulary is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Since our 2016 effectiveness inspection, the force has remained effective in protecting vulnerable people and supporting victims, and has made good progress in how it manages serious and organised crime.
Cheshire Constabulary is good at protecting vulnerable people. The awareness of vulnerability is consistent throughout the workforce. The constabulary ensures that victims of domestic abuse are a priority. However, it should review its processes on scheduling appointments and enhance guidance it gives to call handlers.
Officers complete effective initial safeguarding at incidents but need more consistent training and feedback on their vulnerable person assessments. The constabulary works in partnership to address mental health problems across Cheshire.
Officers are aware of relevant mental health issues, and the constabulary plans to give officers more training. Crimes involving vulnerable victims are investigated generally to a good standard but there should be more documented use and supervision of investigation plans. The constabulary’s use of available legal powers to protect victims of domestic abuse is positive.
Cheshire Constabulary is good at tackling serious and organised crime. It has made good progress since our 2016 effectiveness inspection. The constabulary has a very good understanding of the threats that serious and organised crime pose.
When carrying out disruption activity on organised criminals, officers offer interventions to vulnerable offenders and family members to dissuade them from pursuing a life of crime. The constabulary has thorough governance and scrutiny arrangements in place for organised crime, and its processes comply with national guidance. We found good involvement of regional specialists and local policing teams, with a focus on addressing the exploitation of young people travelling to other regions to commit offences. The constabulary carries out educational initiatives, and proactively informs and reassures the public about organised crime.
Cheshire Constabulary has the necessary arrangements in place to fulfil its national responsibilities, and to respond to an attack requiring an armed response.
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Cheshire Constabulary is judged to be good in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our overall judgment is the same as last year. The constabulary has maintained a good understanding of demand; its use of resources to manage demand is judged to be good; and its planning for future demand is assessed to be outstanding.
Cheshire Constabulary is good in its efficiency of keeping people safe and reducing crime. It is good at predicting likely future demand and in doing so it considers a wide range of information and changing public expectations. It has invested in IT solutions, changing how it operates to make the constabulary more efficient and effective through agile working and infrastructure improvements for the future. It has excellent partnership and collaborative arrangements for managing its current and future demand, and has been swift in realising tangible benefits through new ways of working from its collaboration with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS).
The constabulary plans well ahead and invests in its leadership, providing excellent training and development as well as bringing in skills from outside the constabulary to fill skill gaps and introducing a wider range of styles and experience. The continued refinement of the constabulary’s priority-based budgeting (PBB) process has made it excellent in this area of management, and PBB is now completely rooted in all the constabulary processes for planning. It is used to continually review and improve the efficiency of the constabulary in meeting its demand and priorities, in line with the police and crime plan.
We have examined the constabulary’s financial plans; it has sufficient reserves and balanced budgets, and its plans are built on sound planning assumptions and subject to informed challenge. These plans include making investments to continue to make savings in the future through management of its estate, collaboration, IT processes and a major new operating system for its control room functions that should improve public contact, identification of demand and officer deployment. Cheshire Constabulary is very well placed to face the future.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Cheshire Constabulary is judged as good at how legitimately it keeps people safe and reduces crime. For the areas of legitimacy we assessed this year, our overall judgment is the same as last year. The constabulary is judged to be good at treating all of the people it serves with fairness and respect. It is also judged to be good at ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully and good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect.
Cheshire Constabulary is assessed as good in the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The constabulary shows clear leadership through its ‘We’re here’ values so that the workforce understands and uses these values in public encounters. It has many established methods of seeking external challenge and feedback from the public to influence how it operates, but could improve its work with its independent advisory group. Since 2015, the constabulary has significantly improved its performance in stop and search monitoring. The constabulary does not currently comply fully with the national minimum standard on recording the use of force and monitors a limited data set. Monitoring of the use of all types of force should be developed further.
The constabulary’s leadership maintain and develop the ethical culture of the constabulary. We found knowledge of ethical decision-making throughout the workforce and the constabulary provides lessons learned and guidance to inform staff. The constabulary has good systems for the public to make a complaint against the constabulary and complaints are investigated to a good standard, although some administrative procedures could be clarified. It correctly identifies cases of discrimination and provides a good level of service to complainants. The constabulary is making progress in re-vetting its staff and it is confident it will complete this by March 2018.
Cheshire Constabulary treats its workforce with fairness and respect. Its workforce can communicate with management and the constabulary has responded positively by making changes when possible, but it could further enhance its consultation processes. The constabulary has clear grievance procedures, which were trusted by the majority of people we spoke to. The constabulary could record and monitor more effectively the interventions used in resolving workplace problems to identify any trends. Wellbeing is a clear priority and the constabulary has invested in mental health awareness and support. The constabulary is excellent at addressing disproportionality in its workforce, and this has been recognised in national awards. HMICFRS recognises the considerable energy put into improving management of individual performance, but the constabulary needs to ensure one-to-one conversations with members of the workforce take place consistently for performance and wellbeing matters. The constabulary has developed excellent promotion processes that its workforce considers to be clear and fair.
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.
Cheshire Constabulary: Crime Data Integrity inspection 2017 – published on 15 June 2017
Abuse of position assessment – Cheshire Constabulary – published on 5 October 2017