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Leicestershire PEEL 2018

Effectiveness

How effectively does the force reduce crime and keep people safe?

Last updated 01/05/2019
Good

Leicestershire Police is good at reducing crime and keeping people safe.

In 2016, we judged the force to be good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour.

The force is good at investigating crime. Investigations are handled by appropriately-trained staff, and the case files we saw were of a high standard. There is a new crime bureau for cases with few lines of investigation, which has taken pressure off other investigators. The force offers a good service to victims and prioritises their needs.

Leicestershire Police is also good at protecting vulnerable people. It has strong relationships with other organisations working with those in need and a well-established training programme. The force is currently dealing with more crimes, and receiving more referrals linked to vulnerability, than it ever has before, but it is taking measures to deal with this demand.

In 2017, we judged the force to be good at tackling serious and organised crime.

Questions for Effectiveness

1

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

Good

This question was not subject to detailed inspection in 2018/19, and our judgment from the 2016 effectiveness inspection has been carried over.

2

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

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should train all officers about the rules of disclosure when preparing cases for court.

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the force’s performance in this area.

Investigation quality

Leicestershire Police is good at investigating crime. It organises the allocation and investigation of crimes well. The force has enough investigators to deal with demand. During our inspection, we spoke to many investigators of differing responsibilities and levels of experience. Each of them described being suitably skilled for their role.

Investigations are allocated to different teams depending on how complex the case is, the risk posed by the suspect or the vulnerability of victims and witnesses. Neighbourhood investigation units (NIUs) based in local police stations throughout the force area conduct most investigations. Specialists with enhanced skills investigate complex and sensitive crimes, including rape and domestic abuse cases, where the victims face a high risk of harm. Prisoner investigation units (PIUs), which deal with people who have been arrested, retain some investigations until the cases are concluded. Officers from neighbourhood teams also hold a small caseload of crimes that have happened on their beat. These cases tend to be less serious, where the risks are lower, and are linked to priorities set by the local community. Overall, the most appropriate teams carry out investigations.

The force has recently improved the way crimes can be reported online. It has updated its website before adopting the new national approach for digital access to public services, known as ‘single online home’ . Many forces are planning to introduce this approach later in 2019. Leicestershire Police was early to adopt this website format, which enables the public to rapidly access a range of police and other agencies services online. The number of crimes reported online has grown steadily, though people can still seek help by phone or by visiting a police station.

The force has developed a new crime bureau to help manage investigations efficiently and meet victims’ needs. It refers reports of crimes that have few lines of enquiry to this team. They then contact the victim by telephone and generally conclude the investigation without the need for a police visit. We spent time in the crime bureau during fieldwork and are satisfied that the right decisions are made about whether to investigate a case further or close it. The force’s own data shows that the crime bureau handles about 1,000 cases each week. It closes most investigations soon after the initial conversation, once it is clear that no further lines of enquiry are available. An average of 25 percent of cases are referred to the NIU to investigate further, when other lines of enquiry have been identified. This is good practice and shows that cases are not being closed just to reduce demand.

We found that staff in the crime bureau provide a good service to victims of crime. Even when they do not continue investigations, they contact victims quickly, offer crime prevention advice and reassurance and tell them how to obtain further support.

Other investigators have welcomed the creation of the crime bureau because it means that only cases with lines of enquiry usually reach them. On the basis of the good decision making that we found, and the team’s enthusiasm to carry out more tasks, the force might expand its function. It could handle cases where CCTV evidence is the only, or predominant, line of enquiry, for instance.

Since our 2017 efficiency inspection, the pace at which reports of crime are received and allocated to an investigator has significantly improved. Supervisors send crimes quickly to investigators, so they can take action straight away. The officer in the case is expected to contact the victim on that shift, or on their next one.

Observing call-takers, and listening to recordings of other calls, we found that staff were calm, polite and measured. They showed empathy to victims of crime. Call-takers gather and record enough information to decide promptly on the best response to each incident. That information helps officers attending the scene to identify and carry out the most important actions for an effective investigation, and support victims.

As part of this inspection, we reviewed 60 files from recent investigations. We found the standard was good in 52 of them. All the cases we reviewed had been allocated to an appropriate investigation team. Most had records of supervisors conducting reviews at the outset, and regularly during the investigation, offering constructive guidance or advice to investigators. The level of detail varied within the investigation plans agreed between the investigator and supervisor. We found a comprehensive list of actions in most cases. A more generic set of directions was listed in others. In a small number, no actions at all were listed.

Alongside the file review, we spoke to investigators and their supervisors, and examined live investigations from their workload. The investigators described feeling supported by supervisors and wanting to do the best they could for victims of crime. Workloads among investigators are high. This has caused slight variations in approaches between teams. These concern prioritising activity in investigations that have most lines of enquiry, and waiting for different periods of time for witnesses or victims to supply evidence. The crime bureau has begun to ease those pressures. Senior leaders have recognised that the high workloads can reduce the chance of achieving the best outcome for victims. A senior detective is developing an improvement plan for the force. This will clarify the expectations placed on investigators and their supervisors.

In the file review and during the fieldwork, we found that victims’ needs are considered at all stages of investigations. Investigators described the importance of making and keeping in contact with victims. Some victims need more support and specific techniques are needed to help gather evidence from them. These are called achieving best evidence (ABE) interviews. Our review identified a small number of cases that could have featured ABE interviews but did not. However, awareness of their value, and of when to use them, is good – as is access to trained colleagues to carry them out.

The file review identified 48 cases where victim care was good. But that number underestimates the frequency and nature of contact with victims. Speaking to investigators, we found that they contacted victims in all cases, but that this contact is not always recorded correctly in crime records, although it is recorded in other notes about the case. The force is aware of this issue and is exploring changing computer records systems, to prevent these administrative errors from occurring.

To better support victims of crime, the force is introducing what it describes as a ‘service offering’ for victims of specific types of crime, like burglary. The force states clearly to the victim what actions it will take and how soon. The victim knows from the outset what service they will receive, including when investigators will arrive. Before, the force made no such commitments. Burglary reports are allocated to specialist investigators and forensic experts to visit the crime scene and gather evidence as early as possible. The aims are threefold: to clarify the commitment the force makes to each victim; to increase the likelihood of detecting crimes; and to meet the force’s priority of tackling crimes that have greatest effect on victims.

Most investigations are conducted diligently and comprehensive enquiries are carried out in a timely manner. But cases involving a victim who is reluctant to support a prosecution or an investigation are more likely to be closed quickly. In some instances, we found that other lines of enquiry were still open in those cases. Speaking to incident response officers and investigators, we heard that workload pressures can mean that they have fewer opportunities to initiate or conduct investigations as fully as they would like. We believe that time pressure is a factor in their decision making in cases when the victim does not support further police action. While each officer knows the merits of seeking evidence-led prosecutions (cases which often do not have support of the victim) and how to build such cases, often they do not pursue them unless domestic abuse is involved, or unless the crime is complex and sensitive, such as serious assault.

In the year to 30 September 2018, investigations that were concluded with evidential difficulties, mainly where there is not enough evidence to support a prosecution, accounted for 34 percent of all crimes that the force recorded. This includes cases with a suspect identified that have, or lack, the support of victims. These number 12 percent and 17 percent respectively and are in line with the rates for England and Wales.

Catching criminals

Leicestershire Police is good at pursuing suspects of crime, managing persistent offenders and working with other organisations to deal with foreign national offenders. It is working to improve its use of bail during active investigations and to increase the number of cases that end with offenders being brought to justice.

The force’s approach to finding and arresting people listed as wanted on the police national computer is also good. Robust processes operate on reacting to new information about people wanted for offences and arresting them. This includes suspects for investigations whose fingerprints or DNA are later linked to a crime scene. It also includes people wanted on warrant or who have breached the conditions linked to their release from prison. Detailed and accurate data is kept up to date. Operations to locate subjects and make arrests are mounted regularly. During fieldwork, we saw how frontline officers keep up the momentum to locate suspects that pose a high risk to themselves or other people.

The well-organised integrated offender management programme manages offenders with a series of convictions who are likely to reoffend. More than half of those in the programme have convictions for violence. This reflects a move away from concentrating on offenders who mainly commit theft, such as shoplifters. This also supports the force’s focus on preventing crimes that cause most harm in the local community.

The force has a well-established process to check the conviction history of foreign nationals who have been arrested. A dedicated team with experience in developing intelligence works closely with HM Immigration to confirm foreign nationals’ right to remain in the UK. Recently, it has started to share information about people who present the greatest risk of harm to other people. These include organised crime group members, domestic abuse perpetrators and offenders for violent and sexual crimes. This process has contributed directly to the identification of people with no right to remain in the UK, and to applications being made to deport others.

Working relationships with foreign embassies and police officers from other European countries are good. New officers receive training to understand the details they need to gather from foreign nationals who come to their attention. The force has invested in technology to enable officers to check fingerprints on their mobile devices against Immigration Enforcement records.

Force statistics for ACRO checks of people in police custody for the calendar year to November 2018 show that 260 out of 2,223 of them had convictions from abroad that were relevant to subsequent court proceedings. Within that group, 130 were referred for deportation; these were people who might not have come to notice if they hadn’t been arrested and checked.

Use of police bail has dropped sharply since legislative changes in 2017 affected the way police bail is applied. As a result of these, most suspects are released under investigation (RUI) with no conditions or other obligations. At the time of our fieldwork, force figures showed the status of 1,932 suspects as RUI. We saw that the force uses bail – and, where appropriate, uses applications to remand suspects in custody – for cases involving vulnerable victims and witnesses, such as high-risk domestic abuse and other serious offences.

Investigators and senior officers gave us different views about how and when it is right to use police bail. A senior detective is leading work to harmonise the force’s understanding of bail and increase its use. New advice for supervisors will be circulated soon that will also reflect the new Code for Crown Prosecutors from the Crown Prosecution Service.

Understanding disclosure rules when preparing cases for court is important as mistakes can result in cases collapsing. We found significant inconsistency in investigators’ knowledge and confidence about these rules. Some offered precise and coherent explanations. Others relied heavily on one training event held several years ago. They had not refreshed their knowledge since then. The force is in the early stages of developing a new training and development plan for investigators; this should be seen as a priority.

Investigators can access good technical support to help them to detect crime. Besides the systems at local stations, which help determine whether computers and smartphones hold evidence, more complex examinations of digital devices are also carried out very quickly, using an impressive array of technology.

The force uses comprehensive and frequently updated sets of data to monitor trends and demand from crime. The overall volume of crimes being reported is growing fast. Force figures show that 76 crimes per 1,000 of the population were recorded in the financial year to the end of March 2018. This compared to 64 per 1,000 population in the previous financial year, and 56 per 1,000 population in the financial year before that. This shows that crime is growing at a high rate, although some of this increase is linked to more accurate recording methods. This is linked in turn to the force’s robust response to the findings of our crime data integrity inspection, published in September 2017. That report found that the force’s weak processes were causing crime to go unrecorded. Since the force received these findings, it has invested in resources to improve its compliance with national crime recording standards. All officers and staff have received training. Our follow-up report, published in January 2019, showed that the force’s adherence to those rules – and the workforce’s understanding of how to apply them – had improved. This means that people who fall victim to crime are receiving a better service. It means also the force has a better understanding of the types of crime being committed, how often they occur and who they affect.

The proportion of investigations that end in a criminal prosecution or other some action taken against the offender, known as positive outcomes, has not increased in line with the overall crime trend. Senior leaders take this seriously and are determined to see more positive outcomes. Detailed plans exist to improve the outcomes of domestic abuse and rape investigations. The force should consider also what factors are stopping positive outcomes from being achieved in more cases.

Summary for question 2
3

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

Good

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the force’s performance in this area.

Understanding and identifying vulnerability

Leicestershire Police is good at identifying and protecting vulnerable people. It sees this as a priority and has a strong culture of commitment to helping and protecting people in need. The force uses a clear definition of vulnerability, and officers and staff have a good understanding about what makes people vulnerable.

The force has strong working relationships with other organisations that can help to meet the needs of vulnerable people. They include local councils, the voluntary sector and health, education and young people’s services. The benefits of this co-operation are clear. At Wigston police station, for example, referrals and plans are set jointly with the sexual assault referral centre (SARC) for victims of sexual crime to help vulnerable people. The proactive vulnerability engagement (PAVE) team offers strong support to people with mental health problems.

The force is increasing its understanding of the nature, scale and effect of vulnerability in the community. It has identified clear links between organised crime and hidden types of harm, such as the exploitation of children, human trafficking and modern slavery. It has recently formed a team of specialists to help it grasp and tackle the causes of harm that vulnerable people experience. The serious harm reduction unit (SHRU) harmonises the activity of the force with other organisations to tackle organised crime. This is a positive step, which reflects the force’s long-term commitment to preventing crime and its consequences to the public. The force is taking active steps to deal with modern slavery and human trafficking (MSHT). Besides having created a team of investigators, a dedicated MSHT team will investigate cases, develop intelligence about criminal networks and run awareness and prevention campaigns. Together, the two new teams will create a better understanding of these complex issues.

The problem profile in relation to child sexual exploitation was found to be out of date. However, the force has agreed with partner organisations to use an improved approach to monitoring trends and patterns linked to this form of vulnerability. The force has worked with partner organisations to develop new strategic needs assessments for domestic abuse and sexual violence. These assessments have superseded the problem profiles that the force considered ill-suited to improving immediate understanding about, and response to, the vulnerability of people affected by these types of crime.

Officers and staff are good at recognising and reacting to situations involving vulnerable people. A long-running training programme for the whole workforce, ‘protecting vulnerable people’, is in its fourth version. The programme consists of a series of modules and it reached more than 2,100 members of the workforce this year. Subjects have included hidden and under-reported types of crime, such as crimes against adults in care, the effect of hate crime and how to deal with it effectively, and fraud committed against vulnerable people. Other modules supply updates on changes in mental health legislation, guidance about how to safeguard vulnerable people, and how to make the best use of specialist teams within the force.

When people first call the force for help, call-takers use a THRIVE triage process to assess the risk presented by the incident and how urgent a police response is. Our 2017 effectiveness report identified an area for improvement here. We said call-takers should record the outcome of THRIVE assessments and formalise them when those assessments are reviewed for unresolved incidents. During this inspection, we found that call-takers were routinely applying the results of those assessments, based on information taken from the caller, by reacting to computer system prompts signifying repeat or otherwise vulnerable people – and by referring to force computer record systems. We also saw supervisors, known as triage sergeants, working hard to allocate incidents and keep other unresolved incidents under review. The force has improved the way it identifies vulnerability during calls. It is prioritising incidents more accurately now, and allocating them to the most appropriate teams.

Responding to incidents

The number of crimes being reported is growing, as are the number of incidents attended and the number of referrals received from other organisations linked to vulnerability. This is creating levels of demand that Leicestershire Police has not faced before. The force has worked hard to improve its processes, organise its workforce better and improve staff skills to protect vulnerable people. Our fieldwork showed that frontline officers and staff respond as fast as they can. However, to their frustration, the need to deal with other urgent incidents or investigations sometimes reduces the amount of time and detail they can give to cases.

When officers notice that someone is, or may be, vulnerable, they refer them to specialist colleagues to consider what further support or safeguarding to provide. This referral, known as a public protection notification (PPN), is transferred electronically. We read a small sample of PPNs during our fieldwork. We noted that they are now being completed in greater detail than we found in previous inspections. The officers convey the sense and purpose of these referrals better, because they are using more free text and are not relying on tick boxes. Specialists who receive and react to the referrals told us they now receive fewer incomplete or inadequate notifications. The force might wish to consider how to recognise instances of best practice and encourage all officers to attain that level of completion.

Risk assessments carried out for incidents of domestic abuse, known as DASH risk assessments, have also improved in quality. Officers understand the need to consider all circumstances while making those assessments, including how other people are affected by the incident, such as children of the victim or a suspect.

The force is very good at dealing with people with mental health problems. A street triage service operates every day from 8am until 2am the following morning. Mental health professionals travel in a police car with officers to assess people in need. Their expertise helps the force to direct people to the appropriate part of the health system more quickly. This service started more than six years ago and frontline teams consider it essential. The specialist officers have a deep understanding of how mental ill health contributes to people being vulnerable, and the best way to help people in crisis.

The PAVE team, created in 2016 and comprising police officers, mental health and substance misuse experts, continues to provide high-quality, carefully tailored support for those most in need. The team works with vulnerable people for up to eight weeks to fully understand their needs, which are often complex. It supports them through rehabilitation programmes or places them in suitable accommodation.

During any criminal investigation a suspect can be arrested if this is deemed necessary and proportionate. This is done to prevent harm or to secure evidence, for example. Arresting a suspected domestic abuser, when circumstances demand, can be an effective way also of protecting the victim from further harm. A suspect is arrested in 33 percent of domestic abuse investigations; the rate for all forces in England and Wales is 32 percent. In other circumstances, it can be acceptable not to arrest or detain a suspect at the time but instead let them attend a police station for a formal interview. Voluntary attendance for interviews was used in 8 percent of domestic abuse cases in Leicestershire in the year to 30 September 2018. This is in line with the rate for all forces in England and Wales.

After the force analysed data linked to domestic abuse incidents, it established that arrests occur in 84.2 percent for high-risk cases involving injury to the victim. These figures show that incidents presenting the greatest risk of harm receive a more intense police response.

The force recognises that the proportion of prosecutions and other positive criminal justice outcomes could be improved. The force has developed a plan to make it clear to frontline officers attending incidents – and to investigators who take on those cases – that it expects more cases to have positive outcomes. The force might also consider gaining more understanding about how much the increasing volume of incidents, high workloads and competing demands on officers’ time is affecting their ability to conduct effective investigations that bring more offenders to justice.

Supporting vulnerable victims

Leicestershire Police supports vulnerable victims well. It has worked hard to improve the speed with which victims of domestic abuse receive specialist support. We are encouraged by the outstanding service that SARC and the specialist children’s facility are providing for some of the most vulnerable victims – adults and children who have been victims of sexual assault. The SARC leadership team has used innovative techniques to understand which elements of the local community are at greatest risk. It has then used sophisticated outreach campaigns to encourage reporting and better prevention of sexual crime. Each campaign has led to an increase in reporting or to an increase in requests for help among those groups, which span all ages, genders, sexuality and ethnic backgrounds.

In recent years, the force has produced a series of high-quality short films, based on crimes linked to vulnerability. Kayleigh’s Love Story, released in July 2016, describes how 15-year-old Kayleigh Haywood was groomed and then murdered in late 2015. All Is Not Lost, released in October 2017, has challenged preconceptions about rape and domestic abuse. Most recently, Breck’s Last Game, released in September 2018, is about Breck Bednar who was groomed and killed in 2014. The films show how vulnerability is exploited in different ways and how it can go unnoticed or unreported, and encourage victims to come forward.

The force sees helping vulnerable people before they become victims as equally important. A small team of officers works alongside health professionals and social workers to investigate reports of high-risk missing persons and to prevent repeat incidents. Many of the people they deal with are children and are often highly susceptible to exploitation. Some have been taken into care from another area, having been victims already. The team develops a full picture of each person’s background to help prevent them from being reported missing or speed up activity to locate them if they go missing again.

Officers and staff involved in managing incidents and investigations consider any necessary safeguarding actions. These decisions are recorded on computer systems. Highest-risk cases usually receive the most coherent approach in terms of safeguarding. But we found that responsibility is not always clear at different stages in other cases. For example, the officer attending a medium-risk domestic abuse incident involving a crime that is to be investigated further will take immediate steps. But the case will not be reassessed until it has been allocated to an investigator. Because of workload pressures, no meaningful actions may be taken for several days. We did not find any cases where this delay heightened the risk to the victim or caused more harm. But the force cannot be certain that the risk to the victim was not heightened in all cases where delays of this kind have occurred. At the time of fieldwork, only high-risk cases were being allocated to specialists; it was clear these cases received a higher quality of support and investigation. Senior officers explained that, after our fieldwork ended, the force intended to trial a revised approach to domestic abuse investigations. Under this new approach, all cases would go to designated specialists.

Senior detectives are reviewing the use of police bail, as described earlier. Investigators in the high-risk domestic abuse team routinely seek to apply police bail with conditions, or remand into custody, as a way to safeguard victims.

We examined the extent to which the force uses the full range of powers available to it to deal with domestic abuse and protect victims. We found that Leicestershire Police makes good use of the domestic violence disclosure scheme known as Clare’s Law.

In the year to 30 September 2018, the force made 47 disclosures under the ‘right to ask’ following 127 applications; it made 52 disclosures under the ‘right to know’ following 76 applications. Each figure registered an increase compared to 2017. Disclosure rates for both the ‘right to ask’ and ‘right to know’ are broadly similar to the rates for all forces in England and Wales.

The force is also making more use of other preventative legislation in the form of domestic violence protection notices (DVPNs) and orders (DVPOs). In the year to 30 September 2018, 124 DVPNs were authorised, and the courts granted 115 DVPOs. The force’s rate for use of these powers is in line with the rate for England and Wales. We found the force had made more use of this legislation than in both of our previous inspections. This is encouraging, and means that more victims are being protected.

The force has continued to use specialist safeguarding police community support officers (PCSOs). These officers are trained to safeguard victims in lower-risk cases – both of domestic abuse and other cases that have revealed concerns of vulnerability about a person involved. The local neighbourhood teams also play a role in safeguarding. The officers and PCSOs we spoke to regularly access information about people who might pose a risk to others. These included registered sex offenders, members of organised crime groups and county-lines networks, and people who habitually carry knives.

Co-ordination of multi-agency safeguarding for the whole force takes place at Wigston police station. The productivity and the combined efforts of all staff there, including specialists from partner organisations, is evident. Investment has continued in the resources and capabilities of teams working there. All vulnerability referrals are assessed and allocated quickly. There are no backlogs. Multi-agency discussions, known as case conferences, are convened quickly for referrals about the most vulnerable adults and children. These are often conducted using teleconference equipment to save time and travel costs. The picture of improvement extends to domestic abuse multi-agency risk assessment conferences (MARACs). At the time of our fieldwork, daily MARACs were soon to be introduced as standard practice. This all shows that the force has significantly improved the way it deals with domestic abuse in recent years.

To the force’s credit, it invited SafeLives to review multi-agency activity carried out to deal with domestic abuse. The review identified several positive features. The force has also embraced some of the suggestions made to improve its work further.

The force manages offenders who pose a risk to vulnerable people in an organised, effective way. Specialist officers involved in this work are well trained. They manage a caseload of 990 offenders whose risk to the public and types of offending vary. This is an increase of 12 percent compared with the preceeding12 months, according to the force. There is no backlog in new risk assessments or in reviews of existing assessments. The same team is responsible for seeking sexual harm prevention orders and other ancillary orders, designed to prevent further offences and allow offenders to be monitored. We reviewed a small sample of applications in support of those orders. We found that their quality was high, and they were well presented. Overall, this reflects well on the team and on the importance the force gives this work.

Leicestershire Police has invested substantially in digital forensic technology. Its level of technical capability is outstanding. The force manages the risk posed by people sharing indecent images of children online well. The technology used to seek indecent images is accessed regularly and the force opens investigations in each case it discovers. Investigators with relevant skills and experience find the volume of cases manageable. It is noteworthy that Leicestershire Police is very active in uploading indecent images discovered through investigations to a national database, to help identify victims. Force figures show that it is second only to the Metropolitan Police in terms of the volume of images it adds to the database. The number is significantly higher than the number that forces of a similar size have added.

Summary for question 3
4

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

Good

This question was not subject to detailed inspection in 2018/19, and our judgment from the 2017 effectiveness inspection has been carried over.

5

How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?

Ungraded

Understanding the threat and responding to it

Currently, Leicestershire Police operates joint arrangements with Lincolnshire Police and Northamptonshire Police to provide armed policing. Nottinghamshire Police, before its recent withdrawal, was also part of these arrangements.

The force has a good understanding of the potential harm facing the public. Its APSTRA conforms to the requirements of the code and the College of Policing guidance. The APSTRA is published annually and is accompanied by a register of risks and other observations. The designated chief officer reviews the register frequently to maintain the right levels of armed capability and capacity.

The force also has a good understanding of the armed criminals who operate in Leicestershire and neighbouring forces areas. Leicestershire Police is alert to the likelihood of terrorist attacks and has identified venues that may require additional protection in times of heightened threat.

All armed officers in England and Wales are trained to national standards. There are different standards for each role that armed officers perform. The majority of armed incidents in Leicestershire are attended by officers trained to an armed response vehicle (ARV) standard. However, incidents sometimes occur that require the skills and specialist capabilities of more highly trained officers.

We found that Leicestershire Police, together with Lincolnshire Police and Northamptonshire Police, has adequate arrangements in place to mobilise specialist officers should their skills be required. If, for any reason, specialist capabilities are not immediately available, agreements are in place to seek the assistance of specialist officers from neighbouring forces.

Working with others

It is important that effective joint working arrangements are in place between neighbouring forces. Armed criminals and terrorists have no respect for county boundaries. As a consequence, armed officers must be prepared to deploy flexibly in the knowledge that they can work seamlessly with officers in other forces. It is also important that any one force can call on support from surrounding forces in times of heightened threat.

The current arrangements in place with Lincolnshire Police and Northamptonshire Police mean that Leicestershire Police can call on additional ARV or specialist capability if it is needed. This additional capability aligns well with the threats set out in the APSTRA.

We also examined how well-prepared forces are to respond to threats and risks. Armed officers in Leicestershire Police are trained in tactics that take account of
the types of recent terrorist attacks. Also, Leicestershire Police has an important role in designing training exercises with other organisations that simulate these types of attack. We found that these training exercises are reviewed carefully so that learning points are identified and improvements are made for the future.

In addition to debriefing training exercises, we also found that Leicestershire Police reviews the outcome of all firearms incidents that officers attend. This helps ensure that best practice or areas for improvement are identified. We also found that this knowledge is used to improve training and operational procedures.

Summary for question 5