Leicestershire 2017Read more about Leicestershire 2017
This is HMICFRS’ fourth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Leicestershire 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 good.
The extent to which the force is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime requires improvement.
The extent to which the force is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
Read my assessment of Leicestershire Police below.
I am satisfied with most aspects of Leicestershire Police’s performance in keeping people safe and reducing crime, but it needs to improve in some areas to provide a consistently good service.
The force has maintained the standard of its investigations, but I am concerned that its performance in crime recording has deteriorated since our 2014 inspection , and I will monitor progress on our recommendations in this area.
The force has improved how it supports people affected by domestic abuse and made encouraging progress in child protection, but it still has some areas to address. Other vulnerable people, such as those with mental illness and victims of sexual violence, receive an excellent service.
I am encouraged that it has reorganised its workforce and changed the way it meets demand, but further improvements in efficiency are needed.
It treats the public fairly and with respect, demonstrating transparency in how it uses stop and search powers. The workforce is well cared for, but the force needs to improve its appraisal and promotion systems.
Overall, I commend Leicestershire Police for working hard to address the areas for improvement we have identified and the good progress it has made in a number of areas we identified last year.
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Leicestershire Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force has made good progress since HMICFRS’ 2016 effectiveness inspection. The force has looked at, and changed, the areas that required improvement. It has made other significant changes to improve the overall quality of the service it provides for people who are affected by crime, particularly those who might be vulnerable.
Leicestershire Police has re-organised its workforce and has developed a more efficient method of allocating investigations, in order to speed them up and to stop cases being passed through several different teams. A training programme, ‘Back to Basics’, has addressed a lack of consistency in the way that officers supervise investigations. It has strengthened accountability and improved the quality of victim contact. In addition, the force has improved its methods of tracing people who are wanted for arrest, and has sustained its comprehensive approach to rehabilitating offenders.
The force has created a new digital hub which deals with cyber-crimes. The hub offers technical support to investigators, and is a very effective way of tackling online child sexual exploitation. The force has also reduced the waiting time for the examination of evidence from computers and mobile devices.
The force is fully committed to identifying and helping vulnerable people. It now works even more effectively with partner organisations. This helps it to get a co-ordinated view of the number of vulnerable people in the local community and of the needs which these people have. Officers and staff recognise when people are at risk of harm, and the force provides a comprehensive range of services to deal with the effects of mental ill-health, particularly through the work of the proactive vulnerability engagement (PAVE) team. This team is made up of police officers and mental health nurses, and they work with people who have the most complex needs.
Victims of domestic abuse now receive a better service from the force. This is because the force works more closely with partner organisations, has more staff who have been trained to carry out safeguarding, and because there are more frequent multi-agency meetings to consider high-risk cases. Joint work between the force and other organisations has resulted in an exemplary sexual assault referral centre (SARC). The centre offers comprehensive professional support to victims of sexual assault.
Leicestershire Police 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?
Leicestershire Police is judged to require improvement in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. This overall judgment is not consistent with last year when we judged the force as good for efficiency overall. The force’s understanding of demand is judged to require improvement; it is judged to require improvement for its use of resources to manage demand; and its planning for future demand is judged to require improvement.
Leicestershire Police has recognised that its organisational structure is causing some inefficiencies. The force is addressing this through an extensive change programme that will see a reorganisation of its workforce and considerable changes in how incidents and investigations are managed. The way that the force currently prioritises and manages calls for service from the public creates delays in dealing with non-emergency incidents; it is taking steps to address this. The force is improving how it manages hidden demand and its workforce is becoming more aware of crimes such as human trafficking and so-called honour-based violence.
While the force has a sound understanding of the operational skills of its officers and staff, its understanding of the broader skills, experience and leadership capabilities of its workforce could be improved. The force should consider how it can further encourage talented people within its workforce; there is no formal development scheme and there is an inconsistent approach in how officers and staff identified as having high potential are developed. Encouragingly, the force seeks external applicants during promotion processes for police officers.
The force works in close collaboration with neighbouring police forces, achieving economies of scale for a broad range of specialist policing functions. It undertakes effective joint work with other local agencies, like local councils and other emergency services, but the benefits of some of these collaborations could be more fully assessed and then replicated more widely throughout the force.
It is investing in new technology, such as mobile devices for all frontline officers and staff, a new digital telephony system and better facilities to receive online contact from the public. These initiatives will help to improve the efficiency of the workforce. The force is also exploring how technology might improve the exchange of information between partner agencies to help predict future demand.
The force’s finances are stable and it has consistently met savings targets. However, it is entering a difficult period in which the workforce will be restructured so that the force can meet an increasing workload despite gaps in future budgets. The force will need to plan carefully to achieve a sustainable financial position, while meeting that increased demand.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Leicestershire 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 the people it serves with fairness and respect. It is also judged to be good at how well it ensures its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully, and good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect.
Leicestershire Police treats the public fairly and with respect, having worked hard to identify and understand the issues that have the greatest effect on public perceptions of fair and respectful treatment. The force has internal and external scrutiny processes to improve how it treats people. It works well with the independent advisory group, which provides valuable, well-informed feedback, external oversight and challenge on a wide range of issues. The force takes a progressive approach to enhancing openness in the use of stop and search powers. It holds public meetings to discuss examples of stop and search, explain the legal basis and gather public opinion about what constitutes reasonable grounds for the powers to be used.
Senior leaders act as role models and care about the workforce. The force considers ethics and values when it makes decisions that affect the whole workforce. However, more junior leaders, particularly those in operational roles, tend to follow policy rather than make their own decisions based on the force’s values. HMICFRS would like to see the force encourage a culture where leaders feel confident to make decisions and exercise their judgment according to the situation.
Information for the public about making a complaint is easy to find online and in police stations. The force manages complaints from the public well and provides additional assistance to complainants when needed.
The force recognises that there is disproportionality in the ethnic mix of its workforce and is supporting applications from under-represented minority groups. It is very successful at recruiting volunteers from BAME backgrounds into the Special Constabulary and young people into the cadets.
The force makes excellent provision for the welfare and wellbeing of its workforce. However, it needs to improve its processes for professional development and career progression. The workforce do not value the performance appraisal system and there is no scheme to identify those with high leadership potential. The force should ensure future promotion processes are accessible to all and include techniques that encourage a broad range of leadership styles.
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.
Leicestershire – National child protection inspection – published on 20 June 2017
Leicestershire Police: Crime Data Integrity inspection 2017 – published on 7 September 2017
Abuse of position assessment – Leicestershire Police – published on 5 October 2017