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Lincolnshire PEEL 2017

Effectiveness

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

Last updated 22/03/2018
Good

Lincolnshire Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime and has maintained this level of performance from last year.

The force is good at investigating crime and reducing re-offending. Although the supervision of some investigations still needs to improve to ensure their quality is consistent, effective leadership is raising standards. Control room staff effectively assess calls to determine the right response from the police, based on the level of threat, harm, risk and vulnerability of the victim. Most calls are attended within acceptable timeframes for the victims. Officers clearly understand their responsibilities to take action to safeguard victims and involve partner organisations (such as local authorities, or health and education services) to provide additional support wherever appropriate. The standard of initial investigations is good and important initial enquiries are completed well. However, there are delays in the allocation of some of these crimes for further investigation and although these cases are investigated by officers with appropriate skills, more consistent supervisory direction and guidance should be provided. Overall, victims receive a satisfactory service, are kept well informed, and are given an opportunity to make a victim personal statement to support a prosecution.

Backlogs exist in the force’s evaluation and analysis of intelligence submissions, but investigative support, when it comes to examining computers and telephones for evidence, is good. The integrated offender management scheme is good and growing, and there is some progress in improving the oversight of cases in which a named suspect needs to be found and arrested.

Lincolnshire Police’s effectiveness at supporting victims and protecting those who are vulnerable from harm requires improvement. The force does not have a thorough enough understanding of the nature and scale of vulnerability across the county, although it is concentrating efforts on improving this situation. Officers attending domestic abuse incidents mostly record how children are affected, to ensure that they, as well as the victim of the abuse, are safeguarded. There is some progress in the force’s approach to the management of risk for missing and absent children.

The force’s specialist investigative capacity and capability is generally sufficient. However, demand is outstripping the capacity of the teams that investigate rape, serious sexual offences and internet child abuse. This is undermining the force’s ability to respond as effectively as it should.

Lincolnshire Police has the necessary arrangements in place to ensure that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities, and to respond to an attack requiring an armed response. The force is part of the East Midlands Operational Support Service collaboration, which has adequately assessed the threat of an attack requiring an armed response.

Questions for Effectiveness

2

How effective is the force at investigating crime and reducing re-offending?

Lincolnshire Police investigates crime well. The force manages initial investigations well and its response to incidents is almost always appropriate. The quality of handovers is good. It handles a growing proportion of crime reports received over the telephone effectively. It prosecutes cases of fraud successfully.

The force allocates crime cases to appropriately qualified officers following the initial investigation. It is also making progress on dealing with the principal remaining areas of concern identified in our 2016 inspection.

The force is continuing to reduce the turnaround time for examination of phones, computers and other electronic devices.

It maintains good contact with victims during investigations, and does not cut short investigations even when victims withdraw co-operation.

Lincolnshire Police is also developing its understanding of re-offending and is making progress prioritising offenders who have not been arrested immediately, in line with recommendations from our 2016 inspection.

A clearer process, that tallies the number of wanted offenders from the Police National Computer, would improve the force’s apprehension of suspects.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should reduce the backlog of intelligence submissions awaiting evaluation and analysis, to ensure it identifies and acts quickly on all important information.
  • The force should improve the consistency of supervisory direction and guidance in investigations, and ensure that those cases involving wanted persons, circulated on the police national computer, receive regular supervisory oversight.
3

How effective is the force at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims?

Lincolnshire Police requires improvement at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims. It has a clear definition of vulnerability, which it communicates well to staff. Call handlers identify vulnerability and risk well. Officers’ initial responses at incidents, identifying those who are vulnerable, are good. They make appropriate safeguarding decisions and referrals to other agencies. Supervision of safeguarding actions is also good.

Officers attending domestic abuse incidents routinely check on the safety of children. The force meets frequently with partner organisations to identify children at risk from sexual exploitation.

The force has achieved good results through its partnership working, including a reduction in the number of people held in police custody under section 136 of the Mental Health Act.

The force has recruited more analysts to help understand patterns of offending, such as links between child sexual exploitation and missing children. However, it needs to improve its use of intelligence and risk assessments when a young person is first reported absent or missing.

Investigations of crimes involving vulnerable people also need to improve. In the force’s specialist team, dedicated to investigating rape and other serious sexual assaults, we found continuing unacceptable delays in forensic examiner attendance to sexual offence victims. We also found that high demand is placing a strain on:

  • officers’ capacity, causing investigations to progress slowly; and
  • paedophile and online investigation teams.

More positively, all high-risk domestic abuse cases are referred to multi-agency risk assessment conferences; which are working well.

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • The force should review its absent and missing children procedures in the control room to ensure that it is undertaking appropriate actions to understand and reduce the risk to children categorised as missing and absent.
  • The force should review the level of demand within its high risk departments and ensure that cases are investigated to a high standard by qualified detectives and that workloads are manageable to meet the needs of victims.
  • The force should continue to review its contractual arrangements to ensure that adequate performance measures are in place to ensure victims of rape and sexual assault are examined more quickly.
  • The force should review the demand and subsequent backlog in the paedophile and online investigation team and ensure that children are adequately protected.
  • The force should ensure that all specialist staff have the right training and have the opportunity for continuing professional development, so they can fulfil their investigative and safeguarding responsibilities well.
5

How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?

National threats often require forces to work together, across force boundaries. These threats include terrorism, large-scale disorder and civil emergencies. We examined the capabilities in place to respond to these threats, in particular a firearms attack.

Most positively, the force:

  • works with other forces to ensure enough trained staff and officers are available to respond to national threats;
  • tests its skills in training exercises;
  • has developed a good understanding of the threat to the public from an armed attack; and
  • has fulfilled its commitment to a national programme to increase armed policing in England and Wales.

Ungraded