Metropolitan PEEL 2018
How effectively does the force reduce crime and keep people safe?
Overall, the Metropolitan Police Service could be more effective at reducing crime and keeping people safe. Performance across the areas we assessed is mixed. While the force is outstanding at tackling serious and organised crime (despite the worrying high levels of some crime types) and is good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour, we remain concerned about how the force protects vulnerable people, in particular how it protects children from registered sex offenders (RSOs) and generally how well the force investigates crime.
The force is good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour. Once its new model is fully staffed, it should provide a higher standard of crime prevention and problem solving force-wide. It works well with other organisations to tackle local problems. It uses a good range of tactics. But it needs to get better at understanding how it uses anti-social behaviour powers.
The force needs to get better at investigating crime. It should train its staff to investigate to a consistently good standard and use risk assessments reliably. It should review how it allocates investigations. This will help make sure that it gives vulnerable people the right level of response. It also needs to improve how it gathers early evidence.
The force doesn’t protect vulnerable people well enough. It needs to have more sex offender managers. And it should brief local officers about medium- and low-risk sex offenders. It should use its powers more effectively to protect victims of domestic abuse. It should also collect feedback from vulnerable domestic abuse victims to improve its response.
The force’s approach to tackling serious and organised crime is outstanding. It has an excellent understanding of these threats. It has enhanced this by bringing in an intelligence expert and local organised crime advisers. The force has many diversionary activities. It disrupts and investigates serious and organised crime to a high standard.
The force works well with its partners to understand and tackle serious violence. It uses good tactics and recognises that stop and search isn’t the only option. Serious violence remains a significant problem, but the force is working hard to address it.
How effective is the force at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe?
The force is good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour. It has just done one of the largest structural changes ever seen in British policing. The new approach focuses on crime prevention and community engagement. It planned its changes to neighbourhood policing well, merging 32 policing boroughs into 12 basic command units (BCUs). But the changes aren’t yet properly resourced. This means the high standards of crime prevention and problem solving are not in place everywhere.
The force understands the threats its communities face and understands local problems. It works with organisations in each community to tackle these. Officers understand hidden harm such as county lines much better than before. They know what warning signs to look for. The force’s approach to problem solving is effective. It shares information and tactics with other organisations very well. It uses a good range of tactics to prevent crime. This includes initiatives like ‘autumn nights’ (which sees officers start and finish work later than usual and carry out preventative patrols, speaking to young people and businesses) and the test purchases of phones, knives and fireworks. It also does a lot of work with young people.
The force needs to get better at understanding how it uses anti-social behaviour powers. The team that deals with gangs has a good understanding of these powers, but other local teams are not as good at this. The force doesn’t monitor these powers centrally. Work is ongoing, but this needs to continue.
The force has a good approach to preventing online crime, particularly hate crime. Its work with victims is excellent, especially those who speak a foreign language. The force has done some great work, with charities and with third-party reporting sites, to support victims. It is now better at evaluating and sharing good practice within the force, and with other organisations.Detailed findings for question 1
How effective is the force at investigating crime and reducing re-offending?
The force needs to improve how it investigates crime. The recent structural changes it has made should help improve how it responds to crime. But it needs to make sure that it supports its staff and gives them suitable training so that they can investigate crime to a consistently good standard. This includes response officers, specialist investigators and senior investigators. It should also continue to increase the number of its trained investigators. The force needs to make sure that all staff who are involved in investigations understand the THRIVE+ risk assessment tool and use it reliably.
The force needs to review how it allocates crimes for investigation. It should make sure that crimes involving vulnerable people get the right level of response. It also needs to get better at evidence gathering during the early stages of investigations. For example, it could train more of its frontline staff to be able to extract digital forensic evidence. This would help it complete more of its investigations promptly. As the force moves away from its traditional ‘handover’ culture, the quality of investigations should improve.
The force is good at managing its higher-risk offenders. But it needs to get better at catching criminals and completing its investigations. It has a lot of suspects shown as wanted on the police national computer (PNC). It should make its processes more efficient so that it can locate and arrest these suspects more promptly. It has created a dashboard to help with this. It works well with other organisations to track offenders who have fled the country and in managing foreign offenders. It also manages its bail responsibilities well. The new Connect ICT system should help the force manage suspects better.
Areas for improvement
- The force needs to ensure staff are provided with suitable training and support to be able to risk assess incidents correctly, and to improve the quality and consistency of crime investigations.
- The force needs to review its current allocation policy to ensure that those involving vulnerability receive the appropriate response.
- The force should improve its ability to retrieve digital evidence from mobile phones, computers and other electronic devices quickly enough to ensure investigations are not delayed.
- The force should continue to seek to increase the capacity and capability of qualified detectives and senior investigating officers to improve the quality of its investigations.
How effective is the force at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims?
The force still has some way to go to protect vulnerable people effectively. It has a clear definition of what vulnerability means. It also has a more effective strategy than it did before. But we are very concerned about how it manages RSOs. We recognise the challenges the force faces in rising demand and a lack of resources, and we welcome the increase in the number of officers who manage sex offenders. But the force must increase this number further. It must also brief neighbourhood officers about medium- and low-risk sex offenders.
The force has worked hard to get a better understanding of vulnerability in London. It works with other organisations to do this. It is much better at overseeing how it protects vulnerable people than it was before. Officers now have a better understanding of vulnerability and hidden harm. But staff in the control room don’t always spot the signs of vulnerability. Although the force has made some progress in how its staff use the risk assessment tool, this needs to be more consistent. This will help it respond better to incidents involving vulnerable people.
The force mostly responds to incidents quickly enough to keep vulnerable people safe. It plans to introduce a mental health triage service in 2019. This should help its staff respond to this area of vulnerability more effectively. The force needs to use its powers more effectively to protect victims of domestic abuse. It should also collect feedback from vulnerable victims of domestic abuse to improve the service it offers. It needs to address both these issues if it is to protect victims of domestic abuse more effectively.
Cause of concern
The Metropolitan Police Service is failing to effectively manage the risk posed by medium and low-risk registered sex offenders in line with approved practice.
- The force takes immediate steps to increase the number of officers and staff within offender management so that they can manage medium and low-risk offenders in line with authorised professional practice.
- The force should ensure that frontline staff are aware of the registered sex offenders in their area, so that they can play a part in monitoring and managing them.
Areas for improvement
- The force should improve its initial assessment and response to incidents involving vulnerable people by ensuring that staff working in call handling understand and apply consistently the THRIVE+ risk assessment tool.
- The force should review its use of DVPOs, DVPNs and Clare’s Law to ensure that it is making best use of these powers to safeguard victims of domestic abuse.
- The force should implement a process to get feedback from vulnerable victims of domestic abuse.
How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime?
The force has an outstanding approach to tackling serious and organised crime.
It has an excellent understanding of the threats from serious and organised crime, including newer threats. The force has made this even better by bringing in an intelligence expert. This expert is helping the force link together its intelligence systems and provide good intelligence to frontline and specialist teams. The force has also introduced local organised crime advisers. These advisers provide a link between frontline officers and serious and organised crime teams.
The force shares data effectively. It works with many other organisations to tackle serious and organised crime within London and across the country. It uses partner data to produce local profiles that cover the whole of London. It understands the gaps in its intelligence and works well to address these. It uses its resources to tackle county lines gangs who are committing crime in other parts of the country.
The force has many activities that it uses to divert people away from serious and organised crime and gangs. It works with a wide range of organisations and charities to protect victims of organised crime. It disrupts and investigates serious and organised crime to a high standard. It uses frontline officers in operations and this works well. It develops highly successful tactics to disrupt organised criminals, such as by using account-freezing orders. It also works well with offenders to prevent organised criminals re-offending. The force communicates well with the public about serious and organised crime.
It has an effective method for assessing how successful it is at tackling serious and organised crime using various measures.Detailed findings for question 4
How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?
We have previously inspected how well forces provide armed policing. This formed part of our 2016 and 2017 effectiveness inspections. Subsequent terrorist attacks in the UK and Europe have meant that the police service maintains a focus on armed capability in England and Wales.
It is not just terrorist attacks that place operational demands on armed officers. The threat can include the activity of OCGs or armed street gangs and all other crime involving guns. The Code of Practice on the Police Use of Firearms and Less Lethal Weapons makes forces responsible for implementing national standards of armed policing. The code stipulates that a chief officer be designated to oversee these standards. This requires the chief officer to set out the firearms threat in an armed policing strategic threat and risk assessment (APSTRA). The chief officer must also set out clear rationales for the number of armed officers (armed capacity) and the level to which they are trained (armed capability).Detailed findings for question 5