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Cumbria 2017

Read more about Cumbria 2017

This is HMICFRS’ fourth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Cumbria 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.

Matt Parr, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary

Contact Matt Parr

HMI's observations

My overall assessment of Cumbria’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

Cumbria 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 constabulary is judged to be good in its understanding of demand; its use of resources to manage demand is assessed to be good; and its planning for future demand is also judged to be good.

Cumbria Constabulary has been assessed to be good in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.

The constabulary has made progress in developing its understanding of current and future demand for its services, including less obvious demand. This more comprehensive understanding has led to a reallocation of resources to support crime investigations which, if successful, will be extended force-wide. The constabulary is recruiting additional investigators in response to the increase in non-recent abuse allegations, which will also increase capacity on the frontline.

We found that the constabulary’s financial plans are realistic and are based on sound assumptions. Detailed contingency plans ensure that the constabulary understands how it could continue to provide effective policing services with reduced resources. The business improvement unit, now firmly established, is improving the constabulary’s understanding of its change programme and the effect on its workforce. The unit is able to monitor the consequences of change, make adjustments as required, and ensure that the expected benefits are realised.

The constabulary considers a range of options in developing new ideas and working practices. All recent and planned promotion processes have been advertised externally and new projects are in place with both public and private sector organisations to work together and manage shared demand. The single point of access line – providing specialist advice to frontline officers dealing with people suffering from mental health problems – is proving effective in terms of support offered and in reducing demand for additional policing services.

The constabulary has good systems in place to manage the skills and capabilities of its workforce, though it does not yet have the comprehensive understanding required to identify skills gaps and establish future needs. A talent identification and management scheme for all officers and staff is being trialled, and a leadership development programme is in place to support those seeking promotion.

View the three questions for efficiency


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

Last updated 12/12/2017

Cumbria Constabulary is 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 constabulary is good at treating all of the people it serves with fairness and respect. It is also good at how well it ensures its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully and, following improvement, is now good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect.

Cumbria Constabulary is good in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.

The constabulary is good at treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. Leaders have ensured the workforce has a good understanding of this; reinforced through appropriate training. Robust processes are in place for scrutiny of coercive powers: data is used to improve interactions with the public, though there is an opportunity to improve this further through better use of body-worn video cameras. The constabulary has developed frontline officers’ understanding of unconscious bias and there are plans to extend this to the wider workforce by the end of 2017.

The constabulary is good at ensuring that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. Ethical decision making forms part of their ‘big six’ priorities and decisions are appropriately reviewed. Ethical considerations are included in training programmes and leaders encourage debate within the workforce. The constabulary is still not compliant with national vetting guidelines, but has plans in place to address this. The complaints system is easily accessible and complainants are given detailed information at the beginning and end of an investigation; however, updates could be more detailed and improvements are being made. The constabulary is mostly good at identifying, responding to and investigating allegations of potential discrimination.

Cumbria Constabulary’s approach to treating its workforce with fairness and respect is good. Leaders seek feedback about concerns and there is a strong emphasis on the line manager relationship. An improved interim performance review system now records information on staff progress, skills and development and the constabulary is seeking to improve its identification of high potential officers and staff through a trial talent identification scheme. Significant emphasis is placed on workforce wellbeing. The provision of counselling and psychological profiling where appropriate, together with wider access to occupational health services, are effective measures in managing wellbeing problems. Recognising the warning signs and how to provide support and guidance forms part of supervisor leadership training.

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

2613 square miles


0.50m people 1% local 10 yr change


73% frontline 78% national level
3.7 per 1000 population 3.6 national level
15% change in local workforce since 2010 15% national change since 2010

Victim-based crimes

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


58p per person per day local 55p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

  • Cumbria is 98 percent rural and mountainous, with 150 miles of coastline, geographically isolated and with a sparse population.
  • The small population increases with millions of visitors each year increasing the demand on services and infrastructure.

Police and crime plan priorities

The Police and Crime Plan Objectives for Cumbria sets out my vision for the next four years. My legacy will ensure that we have an effective and efficient police force by reducing dependency on public services; targeting resources at prevention and early intervention.

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I am committed to ensuring we have visible uniformed policing and support services in our communities, ensuring offenders face a consequence for their crime whilst giving victims a choice in a satisfactory resolution.

My Plan emphases the importance of working in partnership to prevent, reduce and tackle crime and disorder across the county, ensuring that the most vulnerable members of our community are protected and have access to support services that will help them to cope and recover when needed.

I am committed to supporting activities and providing opportunities for young people to have a vision and voice around future policing and what impacts on them.