Warwickshire 2018/19Read more about Warwickshire 2018/19
This is HMICFRS’s fifth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Warwickshire 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.
Warwickshire 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 requires improvement.
the extent to which the force treats the public and its workforce legitimately is good.
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Wendy Williams, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
I have concerns about the performance of Warwickshire Police in keeping people safe and reducing crime, and, in particular, serious concerns about the force’s efficiency. In view of these findings, I have been in regular contact with the chief constable, because I do not underestimate the challenges ahead.
The force is good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour. The neighbourhood teams understand community issues and work well with other agencies to resolve local problems. The force has improved how it protects vulnerable people. It works closely with partners to ensure that it safeguards victims.
But it needs to improve the way it investigates crime and how swiftly it brings offenders to justice. I am concerned that crimes are not always allocated to appropriately trained staff, and that they are not investigated thoroughly enough or supervised effectively.
The force currently provides many of its services through an alliance with West Mercia Police, an arrangement that will end in October 2019. I am concerned that there is no certainty as to how it will provide these services in the future. Warwickshire Police has a good understanding of the demands for its services but needs to fully anticipate future pressures. It is vital that a clear plan for a new operating model is developed quickly to ensure that all policing services to its communities are maintained.
The force continues to uphold an ethical culture and promote standards of professional behaviour well. However, it needs to make sure that training in relation to legislative powers, such as the use of force by officers, is maintained.
I commend the progress that Warwickshire Police has made in some areas and will continue to monitor the force’s progress in areas where improvements are still needed.
How effectively does the force reduce crime and keep people safe?
Warwickshire Police is good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour (ASB).
The force has a new neighbourhood policing strategy. It has professionalised the role of its safer neighbourhood teams, which work well with partner organisations. We note that a joint initiative recently won a national Tilley award.
The force is good at protecting the public from crime. It uses a wide range of orders in this respect.
The force needs to improve the quality of its investigations. This is a cause of concern. It needs to have the right structures, staffing and skills in place to investigate crimes effectively. It also needs to make sure that it allocates crimes to staff who have had the right training. We note that the force has made strenuous efforts to clear backlogs in its investigative processes. It is also recruiting a substantial number of investigators.
The force needs to improve its approach to catching criminals and resolving investigations. It also needs to put solid processes in place so that it prioritises those suspects who cause the most harm.
The force is good at protecting vulnerable people. The workforce understands hidden harm and looks for signs of it. The force always aims to attend reports of domestic abuse in person. It is good at managing sex offenders.
The force is good at tackling serious and organised crime (SOC). SOC and county lines criminality are prioritised because vulnerable people and communities are affected by criminals who transition in from other policing areas. The force is proactive in its approach to organised crime groups (OCGs), gangs and networks. As well as identifying those who are at risk of becoming involved in SOC, it tries to steer them in a more positive life direction.
How efficiently does the force operate and how sustainable are its services to the public?
Warwickshire Police requires improvement in how it meets demand and uses resources.
Currently, the force shares many services with West Mercia Police. These include major crime investigations, business support services (including HR, finance, fleet and estates) and specialist services. It will be particularly important for Warwickshire Police to fully understand the demands on these services.
As both forces exit the alliance, there is no certainty as to how they will provide these services in the future. It is vital that adequate provision is maintained to enable them to meet demand.
Warwickshire Police is inadequate at planning for the future.
Warwickshire Police has a good understanding of the demands on its services but needs to fully anticipate future demand pressures. We are concerned that its important work to gain this understanding may be interrupted as the force’s relationship with West Mercia Police changes.
Given the substantial change to its operating model, the force should consult the public about its post-alliance planning.
By 8 October 2019, when the alliance will terminate, Warwickshire Police must have plans in place to maintain the full range of public services, especially in areas of highest risk.
How legitimately does the force treat the public and its workforce?
The force values working with communities. It uses this engagement to make decisions at both local and strategic levels. The force works with independent advisory groups (IAGs) to build trust. These groups make sure that officers and staff are aware of equality and diversity issues. The force uses community messaging well. But few members of the workforce have had specific communications skills training.
The force has updated its policies on use of force and stop and search. It now needs to make sure that use of force training is up to date for relevant members of the workforce. We note that not all officers have access to body-worn video equipment.
The force also needs to make sure that training in the use of coercive powers, including stop and search, is up to date. And it needs to work with partners to understand the underlying causes of disparities in its use of stop and search.
The force is good at behaving ethically and lawfully. It maintains an ethical culture. It has an effective approach to tackling corruption. It should continue to promote awareness among its workforce, including supervisors, of the risks of abuse of position for a sexual purpose.
The force is good at treating its workforce fairly. It needs to make sure that its assessment, development and management of officers and staff are consistent, with good supervision and performance management in all – rather than only some – areas.
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.
We have not published any other reports about Warwickshire in this PEEL cycle.