Warwickshire PEEL 2018
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 effective is the force at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe?
Warwickshire Police prioritises crime prevention. It consults the public when setting neighbourhood priorities. And it understands the threats that its communities face.
The force is good at protecting the public from harm. Its safer neighbourhood teams work well with partner organisations, such as local authorities, housing associations and those who support victims of crime, most notably in a successful initiative to address begging in Leamington Spa.
The force uses preventative tactics well to tackle crime. It also uses a wide range of orders. It should record partners’ use of powers, tactics and inventions.Detailed findings for question 1
How effective is the force at investigating crime and reducing re-offending?
Warwickshire Police requires improvement in the way it investigates crime.
At times, the force does not have enough capacity and capability to cope with investigative demand. This adversely affects the service it gives to the public. The force keeps victims waiting too long to see an officer, and it takes too long to investigate some crimes. Sometimes, the force tasks response officers with investigating more complex crimes. It also has substantial investigator vacancies that it is working to fill. It needs to improve the quality of its investigations.
Supervisors admitted that they cannot adequately supervise the high number of crimes that officers on their teams are responsible for. This view was borne out by our review of a sample of crime files: more than half had ineffective or no supervision.
The force has made efforts to clear backlogs in its investigative workload. Now it needs to make sure that body-worn cameras are both available to, and consistently used by, officers to secure early evidence. And it must work harder to pursue justice when victims do not support a prosecution.
The force has good processes for managing wanted suspects who are listed on the Police National Computer (PNC). It also has effective processes to manage foreign national offenders. Among other measures, it now needs to put processes in place to understand and prioritise effectively those suspects who represent the most harm to the public. Furthermore, it needs a better understanding of its performance in relation to suspects who are released under investigation (RUI). It also needs to improve its levels of compliance with disclosure obligations.
Cause of concern
The force does not have the capacity or capability to investigate crime effectively and this is affecting the service being provided to the public. There are failings in the way that crimes are being investigated.
To address this cause of concern, we recommend that within six months the force should:
- improve how it responds to reports of crimes, allocates them, (ensuring investigations are allocated to appropriately trained and supported officers) and that it reviews this allocation appropriately throughout the investigation;
- ensure regular and active supervision of the quality and progress of investigations. This supervision should be properly recorded;
- improve its ability to retrieve digital evidence from mobile phones, computers and other electronic devices quickly enough to ensure investigations are not delayed;
- take steps to better understand the data relating to its crime outcomes and put actions in place to ensure that it is effectively pursuing justice on behalf of victims;
- improve its understanding of suspects released under investigation and the management of those released on bail;
- introduce consistent processes to effectively manage the risk posed by suspects who are under investigation but have not yet been arrested or circulated as wanted on the PNC; and
- introduce effective arrangements to ensure it complies fully with its disclosure obligations.
How effective is the force at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims?
Warwickshire Police is good at protecting vulnerable people. Its emphasis on vulnerable people is apparent in its strategic assessment, its control strategy and its vision.
Officers work effectively with partners to identify and safeguard vulnerable people. But technical issues prevent a force-wide understanding of the nature and scale of vulnerability.
The force carries out effective risk assessments when responding to incidents. It needs to make sure that as many callers as possible receive an appropriate and timely response.
The force needs to review older domestic abuse cases to make sure that it is managing them effectively. And it needs to use pre-charge bail to better safeguard victims of domestic abuse.
Areas for improvement
- Improvements must be made to the quality of incident risk reassessments when deployment delays occur, so that safeguarding support can be prioritised. This action should be addressed promptly.
- The force should implement the necessary processes to share information with schools in relation to children affected by domestic abuse incidents, to ensure information is shared as quickly and effectively as possible.
How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime?
Warwickshire Police is good at tackling SOC. It understands the threat posed by this type of crime and holds daily threat identification meetings. Partners that participate in serious and organised crime joint action groups (SOCJAGs) need to share information more readily with the force.
The force prioritises work on county lines. The county of Warwickshire is impacted by county lines from other policing areas. The force is also active in tackling OCGs, gangs and networks.
The force is proactive in seeking to prevent SOC by helping those who might otherwise become involved in it. It works with partners to protect vulnerable people, and to offer interventions and support.
The force’s Operation Impression aims to educate all schoolchildren in the county about the dangers of knife crime.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that lead responsible officers (LROs) maintain up-to-date management plans for all active organised crime groups as part of a long-term, multi-agency approach to dismantling these groups. LROs should adopt a balanced approach across the ‘four Ps’ framework (pursue; prevent; protect; prepare), and they should have a good understanding of available tactics.
- The force should continue to improve its understanding of the impact of its work on serious and organised crime across the ‘four Ps’. It should also make sure that it learns from experience to maximise its disruptive effect on this criminal activity.
- The force should enhance its approach to the lifetime management of organised criminals to minimise the risks they pose to local communities. This approach should include routine consideration of ancillary orders, as well as the powers of other organisations, and other tools to deter organised criminals from continuing to offend.
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 (PDF document) 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