Warwickshire PEEL 2017
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Warwickshire Police has been assessed as requiring improvement in respect of how effective it is at keeping people safe and reducing crime. This contrasts with last year’s assessment, when we judged the force to be good.
The force has not responded well enough to our previous recommendations. The use of structured problem-solving techniques to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour is not widespread within neighbourhood teams and the force’s understanding of its communities is insufficiently advanced. This means its response to problems is not always based on feedback from local communities and it does not evaluate its use of tactics and interventions to improve its service to the public.
Warwickshire Police’s workforce displays a strong understanding of the signs of vulnerability. It investigates crimes involving vulnerable people well. The scheduled replacement of outdated ICT systems in the control room is anticipated to improve how the force recognises and responds to the needs of vulnerable people when they first contact the force.
The force’s approach to serious and organised crime requires improvement. The force works well with other organisations to increase its understanding of the risks posed by organised crime groups (OCGs); however, its processes for scrutinising the use of tactics and interventions are under developed. The force knows it must ensure that the prevention of serious and organised crime is based on a comprehensive understanding of the threats posed by this type of criminality. Constructive arrangements with partner organisations (such as local authorities, or health and education services) mean the force works effectively in the prevention of organised crime. In particular, joint schemes to help people who are becoming involved in this sort of crime work well.
Warwickshire 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.
How effective is the force at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe?
Warwickshire Police requires improvement in preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keepingpeople safe.
Neighbourhood teams are not trained to use structured problem-solving techniques to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour.
Response officers cannot contribute to the local community policing model, and neighbourhood officers are sometimes redeployed elsewhere. This is likely to undermine the force’s commitment to local communities.
The force prioritises short-term policing demands above longer-term problem solving. It also does not:
- fully understand its communities, particularly new residents, vulnerable people and communities with less trust and confidence in the police; or
- always respond to problems based on feedback from local communities.
More positively, the force has good relationships with partner organisations.
The force uses its powers and tactics well to reduce offending. The introduction of a new ICT system should enable it to properly evaluate the use and effect of these powers.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that local policing teams routinely engage with local communities and undertake structured problem solving with partner organisations to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour.
- The force should work with local people and partner organisations to improve its understanding of local communities, to understand their needs. It should supplement this with focused analysis to inform activity and prioritisation.
- The force should evaluate and share effective practice routinely, both internally and with partner organisations, to continually improve its approach to the prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour.
How effective is the force at investigating crime and reducing re-offending?
This question was not inspected in 2017. The grade and findings from last year’s inspection still stand.
How effective is the force at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims?
Warwickshire Police requires improvement in its protecting vulnerable people and supporting victims.
The force needs to improve its understanding of why a high proportion of domestic abuse victims do not support police action.
The force should also review its control room processes for assessing and reassessing vulnerability.
However, the workforce has a strong understanding of the signs of vulnerability. It understands the importance of taking immediate, appropriate action to protect people with poor mental health. The force has good systems to support officers dealing with these incidents.
The force generally investigates crimes involving vulnerable people well. Outdated control room ICT systems are due to be replaced, which the force anticipates will improve its recognition of and response to the needs of vulnerable people.
Areas for improvement
- The force should improve its service to vulnerable people, particularly domestic abuse victims, when officers have been unable to attend or attendance is delayed. This should include a re-assessment of the risks that victims face so that safeguarding support can be prioritised.
- The force should take steps to understand the reasons why a high proportion of crimes related to domestic abuse fall into the category ‘Evidential difficulties; victim does not support police action’, and rectify this to ensure that it is pursuing justice on behalf of victims of domestic abuse.
How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime?
Warwickshire Police’s approach to tackling serious and organised crime (SOC) requires improvement.
Positively, the force collaborates with partners well, and we found strong leadership from the chief constable and the police and crime commissioner.
However, the force has a limited understanding of the threat from SOC:
- it assesses the risks from organised crime groups (OCGs) poorly, due to a lack of capacity to handle intelligence reports and limited mapping of the potential harm OCGs can cause;
- activity to tackle SOC relies more on information about national threats than local ones; it does not record or evaluate its activity to disrupt OCGs.
The force needs to improve local intelligence gathering and sharing, ensuring that SOC prevention is based on a full understanding of the threat from this type of criminality.
It should also communicate better with the public about SOC, including successful operations and advice on crime prevention.
Areas for improvement
- The force should further develop its serious and organised crime local profile in conjunction with other interested parties to enhance its understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime and inform joint activity aimed at reducing this threat.
- The force should enhance its ability to gather and use intelligence from a range of sources to develop its understanding of serious and organised crime.
- The force should ensure that it maps all organised crime groups promptly following identification, re-assesses them in line with national standards and scrutinises them regularly.
- The force should assign capable lead responsible officers to all active organised crime groups as part of a long-term, multi-agency approach to dismantling them. These officers should have a clear understanding of their responsibilities, and adopt a 4Ps (pursue, prevent, protect, prepare) approach to tackling serious and organised crime.
- The force should improve its understanding of the impact of its activity on serious and organised crime and ensure that it learns from experience to maximise the disruptive effect on this activity.
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 can respond to national threats;
- tests its skills in training exercises;
- uses a national risk assessment tool to prioritise its response to national threats; and
- has developed an adequate understanding of the threat to the public from an armed attack.
However, the force:
- was unable to provide data about the time taken for armed officers to attend incidents; and
- should consider potential locations that are attractive targets for terrorists in planning how it deploys armed officers.