Thames Valley 2018/19Read more about Thames Valley 2018/19
This is HMICFRS’s fifth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Thames Valley Police. 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.
Thames Valley Police was inspected in tranche two and we found:
the extent to which the force is effective at reducing crime and keeping people safe is good.
the extent to which the force operates efficiently and sustainably is good.
the extent to which the force treats the public and its workforce legitimately is good.
Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
I am pleased with most aspects of Thames Valley Police’s performance in keeping people safe and reducing crime. But it needs to improve in some areas to provide a consistently good service.
The force understands its communities. It tackles anti-social behaviour well and works closely with partner organisations to make sure it safeguards victims. But it needs to improve how it investigates crime through better training and more effective supervision.
I remain concerned about the force’s performance in recording crime. Although it has improved since our last inspection, it has much more to do.
The force has a good understanding of demand and how it will change, including the effect of technological change. It is using this knowledge to develop financial and workforce plans for the future.
Senior leaders continue to uphold an ethical culture and promote standards of professional behaviour well. But I am concerned about the extent of the backlog for vetting staff.
My overall assessment is that the force’s performance has declined since last year.
How effectively does the force reduce crime and keep people safe?
Thames Valley Police is effective at reducing crime and keeping people safe. But it needs to improve how it investigates low level crime.
The number of crimes the force records has increased since our 2017 inspection, while the number of offenders brought to justice has decreased. It needs to understand why this has happened and make sure that investigations are consistently well supervised, and that staff have the skills and support to conduct high quality investigations.
Overall, the force is good at protecting vulnerable people and works well with partner agencies to achieve this. But the increase in the number of domestic abuse crimes the force has recorded since our 2017 inspection has not been matched by increased arrests or offenders brought to justice. The force doesn’t use protective powers for victims of domestic abuse as much as many other forces. It needs to understand and address these issues.
How efficiently does the force operate and how sustainable are its services to the public?
Thames Valley Police operates efficiently and provides sustainable services.
It is good at future planning and has a good understanding of how demand will change, which includes the impact of technological change.
It uses a range of data to inform this understanding, including data from partner organisations. It has good plans to put in place the finances and people that it will need in the future.
The force has some arrangements in place to identify public expectations. We saw evidence of how it has reshaped the way the public can access its services to meet these expectations.
In 2017, we judged Thames Valley Police to be outstanding at meeting current demand and using resources.
How legitimately does the force treat the public and its workforce?
Overall, the force treats the public and its workforce legitimately. Ethical behaviour is important to the force leadership and the code of ethics is reinforced through training courses where ethical dilemmas are discussed and through information displayed in police buildings. The force has an ethics board that reviews the ethics in all force policies. But most staff aren’t aware of how they can obtain guidance on ethical issues other than from their line manager.
Staff are very aware of what behaviour is acceptable and the force responds appropriately when those standards are not met. The force can improve on how it identifies the early signs of potentially corrupt activity. Too many of its staff do not have up-to-date vetting. Its counter-corruption plan needs better monitoring systems, and it can do more to establish better links with groups that work with vulnerable people.
In 2017, we judged Thames Valley Police to be good at treating the public and its workforce fairly.
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.
Thames Valley – Joint inspection of police custody – published 20 June 2018
Thames Valley Police: Crime Data Integrity re-inspection 2019 – published 25 July 2019