Derbyshire 2018/19Read more about Derbyshire 2018/19
This is HMICFRS’s fifth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Derbyshire Constabulary. PEEL is designed to give you information about how your local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year.
Derbyshire Constabulary was inspected in tranche three and we found:
the extent to which the force is effective at reducing crime and keeping people safe requires improvement.
the extent to which the force operates efficiently and sustainably requires improvement.
the extent to which the force treats the public and its workforce legitimately is good.
Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
I have concerns about the performance of Derbyshire Constabulary in keeping people safe and reducing crime. I have seen some deterioration in performance in important areas, including operational effectiveness and efficiency.
Last year I reported on the force’s poor performance in accurately recording crime. I have been monitoring this closely, and am encouraged by the results of a more recent audit which indicates that improvements are being made.
The constabulary tackles serious and organised crime well, but more thorough supervision and management of suspects is needed in other, more commonly occurring types of crime.
Derbyshire Constabulary needs to improve how it keeps vulnerable people safe; some people at risk are not being adequately protected. More consistency is needed when responding to them in a timely manner, along with closer co-operation with local partners to support them.
Derbyshire Constabulary needs to improve how well it understands current and future demand. It also needs to gain a better understanding of the skills its workforce currently has and those it is likely to need in years to come. I am encouraged that there has been recent meaningful investment in new IT systems and specialist staff to achieve this.
The force continues to uphold an ethical culture and promote well the standards of professional behaviour it expects.
My overall assessment is that Derbyshire Constabulary’s performance has declined since our last inspection. I am reassured however that the force has taken a range of immediate steps to address the matters highlighted in our inspection, and I will monitor improvements closely.
How effectively does the force reduce crime and keep people safe?
Derbyshire Constabulary needs to improve the way it reduces crime and keeps people safe. This is a decline from the judgment of ‘good’ in our last inspection. It reflects the quality of investigations having fallen and that arrangements to provide safeguarding measures for vulnerable people could be improved.
The volume of the force’s investigations is growing quickly, driven by changes it had to make so that crimes are recorded more accurately. The force is now relying more heavily on resolving investigations by telephone. However, it isn’t following all lines of enquiry in such cases.
Since our last inspection, there has been an increase in the overall proportion of investigations that the force isn’t handling effectively. It needs better supervision of cases and more accurate record keeping.
The force is dealing with more suspects through voluntary attendance at police stations, including for domestic abuse cases. This reduces the options for safeguarding victims and witnesses. The force needs to better analyse the reasons for, and the consequences of, this trend.
The force has enough investigators, and they have manageable workloads. It is good at identifying hidden types of crime, such as modern slavery. And it is effective in dealing with foreign national offenders.
The force should do more to develop its understanding of all types of vulnerability across the local community. We note that new teams offer help and long-term support to people who have mental health conditions.
The force needs to improve its risk assessments and referrals to specialist organisations. It has kept its commitment to multi-agency working at two safeguarding hubs, while other organisations have reduced their presence at them.
In 2016, we judged the force as good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour. And, in 2017, we judged the force as outstanding at tackling serious and organised crime.
How efficiently does the force operate and how sustainable are its services to the public?
Derbyshire Constabulary needs to improve how efficiently it operates. It also needs to improve the sustainability of its services to the public. This is a decline from the judgment of ‘good’ that the force received from our last inspection of this area in 2017.
The force needs to make better use of its own data, and that of other organisations, to understand the nature and composition of the demand it faces. The force’s recent investments have increased the amount of skilled staff and technology that are available to analyse data and identify efficiencies. This is a timely step, because demand (especially demand relating to investigations) is increasing significantly, following changes the force has made to more accurately record crime.
Talent management programmes are available to the whole workforce. The force has more ways of attracting new officers (both new recruits and transferees). As a result, the force can now choose the best candidates from a wider pool.
The force has a culture of constantly seeking innovation. It encourages its workforce to try new approaches that improve services to the public and save money.
The force’s financial plans are built on prudent assumptions, including how it will use available reserves. It has forecast budget gaps for each of the next two financial years, but it has yet to develop detailed plans to meet them.
The force does not have comprehensive information about the skills held by the whole workforce. It also needs to develop a better understanding about how it will organise and train the workforce to meet future demand.
How legitimately does the force treat the public and its workforce?
Derbyshire Constabulary is good at treating the public and its workforce legitimately. It continues to work well, and closely, with local communities. They help to set operational priorities for the force. The force encourages people from all backgrounds to join its well-organised volunteer programmes.
Derbyshire Constabulary has significantly improved its scrutiny of the use of force. It now has better data analysis, and an independent advisory group (IAG) aids transparency. The force also scrutinises its exercise of stop and search powers well. Supervisors and senior leaders check records, as do IAG members. Chief officers can monitor trends in the force’s use of stop and search, and its connection to force priorities.
Officers’ training about stop and search has been well received. The force needs to improve knowledge of unconscious bias across the workforce. It also needs to improve how frontline staff receive annual safety training: a significant minority are waiting more than 12 months for updates.
Senior leaders are driving a positive ethical culture, and take organisational learning seriously. All staff are encouraged to make decisions based on values, and in a spirit of ‘doing the right thing’. The force shares the results of misconduct cases with the workforce in a way that promotes awareness about why judgments have been reached.
The force has kept its high standards in vetting and in dealing with corruption. The workforce is clear about what constitute professional boundaries, especially in terms of abuse of authority for sexual purposes. The force manages intelligence about potential corruption well. Officers and staff know about their responsibilities to register business interests and notifiable associations.
In 2017, we judged the force as good at its treatment of the workforce.
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.
Derbyshire Constabulary: Crime Data Integrity inspection 2018 – published 7 March 2019
Derbyshire Constabulary Crime Data Integrity inspection, revisit – published 7 January 2020
Derbyshire – Joint inspection of police custody – published 22 August 2018