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Staffordshire PEEL 2017

Effectiveness

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

Last updated 22/03/2018
Good

Staffordshire Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force has made improvements since 2016 across a number of areas, and it continues to improve.

The force has an effective approach to preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour. Officers understand what matters to the local communities, and are responsive to their needs; and the force works with other organisations to address such matters and the underlying causes of crime. Since HMICFRS’ 2016 effectiveness report, the force has made good progress in implementing a structured problem-solving way of working.

Staffordshire Police investigates crimes to a satisfactory standard. The force makes good use of intelligence, and the outcomes it achieves are comparable to other forces in England and Wales. However, it needs to ensure that victims are updated as investigations proceed, and it should ensure that suspects are promptly entered onto the Police National Computer (PNC) when this is appropriate.

The force requires improvement in the way it protects vulnerable people. Victims of domestic abuse sometimes receive a delayed response when they contact the force because not enough response officers are available to attend incidents promptly. The force also needs to strengthen its approach to managing registered sex offenders, to protect the public from harm.

The force has improved its approach to tackling serious and organised crime. Its understanding of organised crime groups is good, and it is also better at limiting the harm that such groups cause in communities. Officers take early action to identify individuals who may be vulnerable to being drawn into serious and organised crime or gang activity. The force also works constructively with other organisations to assist in deterring such individuals from criminal activity.

Staffordshire Police has the necessary arrangements in place to fulfil its national policing responsibilities, and to respond to an attack requiring an armed response.

Questions for Effectiveness

1

How effective is the force at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe?

Staffordshire Police is good at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. The force has commendable preventative approaches towards local communities, as well as engaging well with them. The notable reduction in anti-social behaviour orders over the past year shows this.

Positively, the force seeks the views of its ethnically diverse communities in various ways. However, it needs to improve its communication of changes and the effects resulting from community feedback.

The force’s transformation programme continues to focus on local policing and community engagement. Since our 2016 inspection, the force has implemented its OSARA (outcomes, scanning, analysis, response and assessment) problem-solving model more fully and relaunched its citizen-focus toolkit. The force trains its local policing teams to use both tools.

We were pleased to see the importance the force places upon addressing underlying causes of crime, rather than simply reacting to the symptoms, particularly through local initiatives to tackle problems, such as homelessness.

However, the force should:

  • increase its evidential analysis; and
  • assess and evaluate its plans in greater depth.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should evaluate and share effective practice routinely, both internally and with relevant external organisations, to continually improve its approach to the prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour.
2

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

Staffordshire Police is good at investigating crime and reducing re-offending.

Since our 2016 inspection, the force has improved its investigations. It effectively allocates crime investigations to appropriately trained officers. Less-skilled officers receive guidance from those more suitably qualified.

The force seeks to recruit more qualified detectives, to improve its specialist capacity and capability. This is informed by its understanding of the changing demand for its services.

The force also:

  • is good at prioritising examination of devices when securing evidence; and
  • takes a sensible approach to resolving less serious crimes by telephone.

However, the force should:

  • reduce delays in crime scene attendance caused by insufficient officer availability;
  • improve its record-keeping of internal and victim communications about investigations’ progress; and
  • improve its pursuit of justice on behalf of victims who do not support further action.

The force’s integrated offender management programme, as well as other initiatives, has allowed the force to work with external agencies and reduce local re-offending.

However, the force needs to more proactively pursue wanted offenders through better use of the Police National Computer.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should understand better the reasons that a high proportion of crimes fall into the category of ‘evidential difficulties: victim does not support police action’, and take measures to ensure that it is pursuing justice on behalf of victims of crime.
  • The force should ensure that it is fully compliant with the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime.
  • The force needs to improve its oversight and understanding of those wanted for criminal offences, ensuring they are circulated on the Police National Computer and actively sought.
3

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

Staffordshire Police requires improvement at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims.

The force has a good understanding of the nature and scale of vulnerability.

However, there are still unacceptable delays in officer attendance, sometimes including domestic abuse incidents. The force does not always reassess risks in such cases. It plans to resolve these weaknesses through an incident resolution centre, and interim measures are in place.

Nevertheless, the force’s assessments of and response to vulnerability are effective:

  • call-handlers apply risk assessments well;
  • officers use assessment tools and body-worn video when dealing with domestic abuse; and
  • these reports are subject to a very high level of scrutiny by supervisors.

The force has good working relationships with external agencies, particularly:

  • the multi-agency safeguarding hubs and vulnerability hubs for domestic abuse victims; and
  • the NHS in supporting those suffering from mental ill-health.

However, the force should improve its management of registered sex offenders through multi-agency public protection arrangements, particularly the significant backlog of unmade visits.

Furthermore, the force has a notably low arrest rate of domestic abuse perpetrators.

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • The force should improve its service to vulnerable people, particularly domestic abuse victims, when officers are unable to attend or when their attendance is delayed. This should include the re-assessment of the risks that victims face so that their safeguarding support can be prioritised.
  • The force should improve its understanding of the reasons for, and take appropriate action to address, both the declining arrest and charge/summons rates in domestic abuse cases, and the high rate of crimes related to domestic abuse which fall into the category ‘evidential difficulties; victim does not support police action’.
  • The force should ensure that the risks posed by registered sex offenders are managed effectively.
4

How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime?

Staffordshire Police is good at tackling serious and organised crime (SOC). Since our 2016 inspection the force has become notably more proactive in its approach to organised crime groups (OCGs):

  • taking steps to detect activity by gathering intelligence, and flagging activity and suspects on systems;
  • making plans to counter OCG activity;
  • mapping OCGs to identify and accurately categorise new OCGs; and
  • developing detailed local profiles focused on new and existing threats to communities.

In response to an area for improvement we identified in 2016, the force has improved and restructured its disruption of OCG activity. This has been achieved by working with external agencies.

The force works well with its regional organised crime unit to tackle SOC and is good at preventing vulnerable people being drawn into organised crime.

There are effective arrangements in place for monitoring organised criminals being released from prison.

Good
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 constructively with other organisations to build its capabilities to respond to national threats;
  • tests its skills in training exercises; and
  • has developed a good understanding of the threat to the public from an armed attack.

However, the force should:

  • make better use of data about the time taken for armed officers to attend firearms incidents.

Ungraded