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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.

Devon and Cornwall 2017

Read more about Devon and Cornwall 2017

This is HMICFRS’ fourth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Devon and Cornwall Police. 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 force is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime is not yet graded.

The extent to which the force is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.

The extent to which the force 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 Devon and Cornwall’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

Devon and Cornwall Police is judged to be good in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our overall judgment this year is an improvement on last year. The force’s understanding of demand is judged to require improvement; its use of resources to manage demand is judged to be good; and its planning for future demand is also assessed to be good.

Devon and Cornwall Police is an efficient police force, but it still has work to do to improve further. Over the past year, the force has worked hard to achieve a much better understanding of the demand for its services placed upon it by the public, and also of demand created internally. It is now in a strong position to move to the next phase of its alliance with Dorset Police and introduce a new service model intended to transform how both forces operate. However, it faces continuing performance pressures within its call handling function. These pressures need addressing to ensure that it provides a good service to people wanting to contact the police.

The force has a good understanding of its overall capabilities, but needs to understand better, and make best use of, the skills and leadership potential of its workforce. It has clear investment plans, aligned with the police and crime plan, focusing on the benefits that a structured use of new technology can bring to the public and the force. It has an excellent record in partnership working, with a clear focus on the potential benefits. Its willingness to seek and implement new ideas from both within and outside the force is noteworthy.

The force’s understanding of the future demand for its services that it is likely to face is developing well. To make the most of its plans for the future use of technology, the force knows it needs to address some current inefficiencies in its systems and processes. Similarly, there is a recognition that the force does not yet have a clear picture of its future leadership needs. However, the strengths of its existing change programme indicate that the ambitious scale of the force’s plans is achievable, both in the organisational ability to manage change, and in the force’s sound financial position.

View the three questions for efficiency


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

Last updated 12/12/2017

Devon and Cornwall Police 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 good at treating all of the people it serves with fairness and respect and good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect. However, it is judged as requiring improvement at ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully.

The importance of treating people with fairness and respect is reflected well in the Devon and Cornwall Police mission statement. The force works hard to ensure that its officers and staff understand the need, and are trained to provide, a good service to the public. There are various internal and public scrutiny processes that monitor how officers and staff interact with the public. These work well, but the force needs to continue improving the way it manages the oversight of how coercive powers are used. In particular, the force needs to maintain a strong focus on monitoring how its staff use and record their stop and search powers and make use of body-worn video footage as it becomes more widely available.

The commitment to developing a strong ethical culture in the force is evident. Leaders at all levels promote the need to make policing decisions that are ethical and lawful and the workforce is able to recognise different forms of discrimination. It is relatively easy for the public to make a complaint about Devon and Cornwall Police and complaints are generally managed to an acceptable standard. However, improvements need to be made in the quality of discrimination investigations, how complainants are kept updated, and ensuring that all appropriate cases are referred to the IPCC.

There are established and well-used processes by which the workforce can provide feedback and challenge to the force leadership which means that their concerns are identified and resolved. The force understands that its workforce is not representative of the wider community, and is taking action to increase representation of people with different backgrounds across the organisation, but it has more to do. Elements of the way that the force treats its workforce are outstanding. The force takes wellbeing seriously and acts positively to identify, understand and respond to the workforce’s wellbeing needs. The majority of the workforce has responded positively and there is good engagement with the wellbeing agenda. However, the force needs to improve some of its other people management activity (most notably individual performance assessment), which is not as effective as it needs to be.

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

3965 square miles


1.71m people 6% local 10 yr change


78% frontline 78% national level
3 per 1000 population 3.6 national level
16% 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 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

  • Devon and Cornwall covers an area of 3,961 square miles, with over 500 square miles of moorland, over 700 miles of coastline and 13,500 miles of roads.
  • The population significantly increases with millions of visitors each year, which increases the demand on services and infrastructure.

Police and crime plan priorities

The Police & Crime Plan priorities focus on ensuring safe, resilient and connected communities. A key priority is connecting communities and policing more effectively. This will be delivered through a local policing promise to deliver policing that is:

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  • Accessible – the police and PCC will be easier to contact;
  • Responsive – the police will be there when needed and will provide clear feedback on what action will be taken;
  • Informative – the police and PCC will keep you well informed on crime and policing issues;
  • Supportive – the police and PCC will work with partners, the public and businesses to identify and resolve issues locally and to prevent crime and harm.

This promise will be used to deliver four additional priorities:

  • Preventing and deterring crime;
  • Protecting people at risk of abuse and those who are vulnerable;
  • Supporting victims and witnesses and helping them to get justice;
  • Getting the best out of the police.