Our inspection assessed how good Leicestershire Police is in 11 areas of policing. We make graded judgments in 10 of these 11 as follows:
We also inspected how effective a service Leicestershire Police gives to victims of crime. We don’t make a graded judgment in this overall area.
We set out our detailed findings about things the force is doing well and where the force should improve in the rest of this report.
Important changes to PEEL
In 2014, we introduced our police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy (PEEL) inspections, which assess the performance of all 43 police forces in England and Wales. Since then, we have been continuously adapting our approach and this year has seen the most significant changes yet.
We are moving to a more intelligence-led, continual assessment approach, rather than the annual PEEL inspections we used in previous years. For instance, we have integrated our rolling crime data integrity inspections into these PEEL assessments. Our PEEL victim service assessment will now include a crime data integrity element in at least every other assessment. We have also changed our approach to graded judgments. We now assess forces against the characteristics of good performance, set out in the PEEL Assessment Framework 2021/22, and we more clearly link our judgments to causes of concern and areas for improvement. We have also expanded our previous four-tier system of judgments to five tiers. As a result, we can state more precisely where we consider improvement is needed and highlight more effectively the best ways of doing things.
However, these changes mean that it isn’t possible to make direct comparisons between the grades awarded this year with those from previous PEEL inspections. A reduction in grade, particularly from good to adequate, doesn’t necessarily mean that there has been a reduction in performance, unless we say so in the report.
HM Inspector’s observations
I congratulate Leicestershire Police on its performance in keeping people safe and reducing crime. I have graded the force as outstanding in three areas of policing, which properly reflects its high level of performance in a challenging policing environment. However, it does need to improve in some areas to provide a consistently good service.
These are the findings I consider most important from our assessments of the force over the past year.
The force continues to increase the diversity of its staff, which results in more effective policing activity
I am impressed with the force’s consistent focus on making its workforce more reflective of the community it serves. We found empowered diverse staff who were confident in engaging with force leaders and the communities that they served. This increases trust and confidence in the force, and policing activity is demonstrably more effective as a result.
The force has a strong, established leadership and culture that prioritises identifying and safeguarding the vulnerable
The staff we met consistently displayed attitudes and behaviour that sought to proactively identify and protect the vulnerable. I follow with interest the progress of the force’s imminent expansion of Operation Encompass – the national arrangement for informing schools if their pupils have been involved in, or witnessed, domestic abuse. The force has gained permission from the Home Office to extend the process to include all adverse childhood experiences. This project has the potential to be a trailblazer for child safeguarding.
The force creates effective films that contribute to improvements in identifying vulnerability, encourage reporting and help bring offenders to justice
Kayleigh’s Love Story is a film that tells the story of a young victim who was raped and murdered, having been groomed online. A subsequent film, Are You Listening?, highlights the types of crime that children can become involved in, and the signs they might display if being exploited. I regard these films as powerful tools for trusted adults to keep young people safe, by helping adults to spot the signs of vulnerability and give them the confidence to report their concerns.
The force has worked with academia to reduce the threat posed by the most potentially dangerous people
In February 2022, the force introduced Operation Confer to manage the risks that potentially dangerous people pose, especially individuals who are suspected of rape but haven’t been convicted. The operation has been developed with academia. It uses an established risk assessment method and includes measures to disrupt and deter suspects from harmful behaviour. I recognise this as a bold attempt to mitigate the effect of the low level of convictions in such awful crimes.
The force is effective at recording reported crime, with good governance and leadership of crime recording
The force has significantly improved its recording of all reported crimes since our last inspection. I am pleased that we found it correctly recorded nearly all sexual offences and was particularly good at recording crimes of rape. Rape is one of the most serious crimes a victim can experience. Therefore, it is especially important that crimes are recorded accurately to make sure victims receive the service and support they expect and deserve.
The force’s sex offender management processes deviate from national guidance and its local policy is unclear
Sex offender management processes in Leicestershire are outside national guidance in several areas. While the force has a local policy for the management of sex offenders, we found it to be unclear and staff were confused by it. This must be rectified to make sure that staff understand where deviation from national guidance creates risk and how this risk will be mitigated, and to subsequently enable more consistency of sex offender management in the force.
My report sets out the fuller findings of this inspection. While I congratulate the officers and staff of Leicestershire Police for their efforts in keeping the public safe, I will monitor progress towards addressing areas where the force can improve further.
HM Inspector of Constabulary
Reducing crime assessment
We have identified seven themes underpinning a force’s ability to reduce crime effectively, which, taken together, allow an assessment of the extent to which the force is doing all it can to reduce crime. This is a narrative assessment, as police recorded crime figures can be affected by variations and changes in recording policy and practice, making it difficult to make comparisons over time.
The force has a focus on problem-solving and early intervention. We found good examples of the force working in a public health approach with other organisations to divert people away from offending and to safeguard vulnerable people.
Other factors contributing to the force’s ability to reduce crime are:
- Calls to the force control room are answered promptly and callers are treated professionally and with respect.
- Officers generally attend incidents promptly, using the right resources.
- The force has an effective neighbourhood policing model.
- Effective community involvement methods used by increasingly diverse staff help to build trust, so that the public will share intelligence or volunteer to help to reduce crime.
- The force is taking a trailblazing approach to safeguarding the most vulnerable, in particular by increasing information sharing to safeguard more children and working to reduce the threat posed by the most dangerous people.
- The force uses effective and informative films and social media to increase awareness of the signs that those who are the most vulnerable to crime might display.
- The force takes a structured and robust approach to performance management. This is integrated with governance and accountability meetings.
I am pleased that the force is addressing the right areas of policing to reduce crime.
But the following areas may negatively affect the force’s ability to reduce crime:
- The force doesn’t always recognise vulnerability or repeat victims at first point of contact.
- The force doesn’t always provide crime-prevention or evidence-preservation advice at first point of contact.
- The force doesn’t complete initial needs assessments in all cases, which could lead to victims withdrawing their support for investigation.
- The force doesn’t complete all investigations thoroughly.
Providing a service to the victims of crime
Victim service assessment
This section describes our assessment of the service victims receive from Leicestershire Police, from the point of reporting a crime through to the end result. As part of this assessment, we reviewed 130 case files as well as 20 cautions, community resolutions and cases where a suspect was identified but the victim didn’t support or withdrew support for police action. While this assessment is ungraded, it influences graded judgments in the other areas we have inspected.
The force answers calls quickly but doesn’t always identify repeat victims or record the vulnerability of victims
When a victim contacts the police, it is important that their call is answered quickly and that the right information is recorded accurately on police systems. The caller should be spoken to in a professional manner. The information should be assessed, taking into consideration threat, harm, risk and vulnerability. And the victim should get appropriate safeguarding advice.
The force answers emergency and non-emergency calls quickly, resulting in very low numbers of abandoned calls. When calls are answered, the force nearly always uses a structured triage process and call handlers are polite and professional. However, the victim’s vulnerability isn’t always identified or recorded. Repeat victims aren’t always identified, which means this isn’t taken into account when considering the response the victim should have. Not all victims are being given crime-prevention advice or advice on the preservation of evidence. This potentially leads to the loss of evidence that would support an investigation and misses the opportunity to prevent further crimes against the victim.
The force responds to calls for service in a timely and appropriate way on most occasions
A force should aim to respond to calls for service within its published time frames, based on the prioritisation given to the call. It should change call priority only if the original prioritisation is deemed inappropriate, or if further information suggests a change is needed. The response should take into consideration risk and victim vulnerability, including information obtained after the call.
The force usually responds to calls within its published time frames; delays occur only occasionally. On most occasions an appropriate staff member is allocated to respond to an incident. By the force attending calls within an appropriate time, victims are reassured, and the opportunities to secure evidence and identify victims are increased.
The force is effective at recording reported crime, with good governance and leadership of crime recording
The force’s crime recording should be trustworthy. It should be effective at recording reported crime in line with national standards and have effective systems and processes, supported by the necessary leadership and culture.
The force has effective crime recording processes to make sure crimes reported to the force are recorded correctly.
We set out more detail about the force’s crime recording in the ‘Recording data about crime’ section.
The force allocates crimes to appropriate staff, and victims are promptly informed if their crime isn’t going to be investigated further
Police forces should have a policy to make sure crimes are allocated to appropriately trained officers or staff for investigation, or, if appropriate, not investigated further. The policy should be applied consistently. The victim of the crime should be kept informed of the allocation and whether the crime will be further investigated.
The arrangements for allocating recorded crimes for investigation are in accordance with the force policy and take into account vulnerability and risk. In all the cases we considered, the crime was allocated to the most appropriate department for further investigation. If a reported crime will not be investigated further, the victim is usually informed promptly. This is important in order to provide victims with an appropriate level of service and to manage expectations.
The force doesn’t always carry out thorough investigations, although victims are updated on the progress of investigations
Police forces should investigate reported crimes quickly, proportionately and thoroughly. Victims should be kept updated about the investigation and the force should have effective governance arrangements to make sure investigation standards are high.
The force does carry out investigations in a timely manner; however, sometimes it doesn’t follow relevant lines of enquiry. Although supervisors review investigations, on occasions the reviews aren’t sufficiently challenging or conducted in sufficient depth to make sure the investigation is thorough. Victims are usually kept updated about the progress of an investigation, which maintains their confidence in the investigation.
Under the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime there is a requirement to conduct a needs assessment at an early stage to decide whether a victim requires additional support. The outcome of the assessment and any request for additional support should be recorded. The force isn’t always completing the victim needs assessment, which means not all victims get the appropriate level of service. Also victim personal statements are often not considered, which means that victims aren’t always given the opportunity for their voices to be heard.
The force finalises reports of crimes appropriately but sometimes fails to consult the victims for their views or record them
The force should make sure it follows national guidance and rules for deciding the outcome of each report of crime. In deciding the outcome, the force should consider the nature of the crime, the offender and the victim. And the force should show the necessary leadership and culture to make sure the use of outcomes is appropriate.
In appropriate cases, those offenders who are brought to justice can be dealt with by means of a caution or community resolution. To be correctly applied and recorded, the outcome must be appropriate for the offender and the views of the victim must be taken into consideration. In most of the cases we reviewed, the offender met the national criteria for the use of these outcomes. However, the victim’s views weren’t always sought and considered when a caution was used. Where a suspect is identified but the victim doesn’t support – or withdraws support – for police action, the force should have an auditable record to confirm the victim’s decision so that it can close the investigation. Evidence of the victim’s decision was absent in most cases reviewed. This represents a risk that a victim’s wishes may not be fully represented and considered before a crime is finalised.
Crime data integrity
Leicestershire Police is outstanding at recording crime. We estimate that Leicestershire Police is recording 95.5 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 1.9 percent) of all reported crime (excluding fraud). This is a statistically significant improvement compared to the findings of our 2018 inspection. However, we estimate that this means the force still didn’t record over 4,100 crimes for the year covered by our inspection. Its performance is good for offences of violence against the person. We estimate 91.3 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 4.2 percent) of violent offences are being recorded. Its performance is even better for sexual offences, with an estimated 98.0 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 2.5 percent) of sexual offences reported to the force being recorded.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to how well the force provides a service to the victims of crime.
The force is good at recording sexual offences
The force has improved its recording of sexual offences. It correctly records nearly all sexual offences and is particularly good at recording crimes of rape. Rape is one of the most serious crimes a victim can experience. Therefore, it is especially important that crimes are recorded accurately to make sure victims receive the service and support they expect and deserve.
Crime recording is well supervised and scrutinised by chief officers
The force has focused on improving crime recording. It carries out regular in-depth audits, the results of which are reviewed by chief officers. Any errors found during audits are immediately corrected and then circulated to relevant staff, so they learn from the correction. There is a crime recording action plan, which is frequently reviewed and quick updates are added on the rapid progress against actions. There is also a dedicated crime recording intranet page, which provides a point of reference for staff.
The force correctly records crimes against vulnerable victims
The force records nearly all reported crimes against vulnerable victims. Of the few crimes missed, all the victims were safeguarded. Many of the crimes are reported by other organisations involved in safeguarding vulnerable people, so it is important that crimes are properly reported to make sure vulnerable people get the service they need and deserve. Failure to record these crimes can result in perpetrators not being identified or brought to justice.
The force has improved how it records violent crimes, but there is more to do
Offences of violence against the person are well recorded by Leicestershire Police. The force records domestic abuse offences well.
Anti-social-behaviour-related crimes aren’t so well recorded. The specific crime types that are most often missed are behavioural crimes, such as stalking and harassment. These crime types aren’t well understood by officers.
The force needs to improve the recording of equality data
The age and gender of victims are well recorded, but ethnicity is less well recorded. Other protected characteristics are rarely recorded. The force has added equality‑based questions to the victim management page of the crime recording system to improve how it records equality data. These questions will become mandatory.
Recording data about crime
Leicestershire Police is outstanding at recording crime.
Accurate crime recording is vital to providing a good service to the victims of crime. We inspected crime recording in Leicestershire as part of our victim service assessments (VSAs). These track a victim’s journey from reporting a crime to the police, through to the outcome.
All forces are subject to a VSA within our PEEL inspection programme. In every other inspection forces will be assessed on their crime recording and given a separate grade.
You can see what we found in the ‘Providing a service to victims of crime’ chapter of this report.
Engaging with and treating the public with fairness and respect
Leicestershire Police is good at treating people fairly and with respect.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to treating people fairly and with respect.
The force is effective at identifying its communities and dealing with what matters to them
The force uses an email messaging system called Neighbourhood Link (NL) to excellent effect, with over 44,000 users. This provides news and updates relevant to the recipients it targets. The system analyses data provided by users who register, which helps to identify specific communities. This analysis is then confirmed by officers with beat walks and pop-up surgeries. The force encourages staff to create local surveys on the system; responses inform the policing activity required, and NL distributes emails that follow a ‘you said, we did’ model. Leaders celebrate officers who create effective surveys. This involvement has made sure that communities have a say in how they are policed, which was particularly important during extended periods of lockdown.
The force understands the effectiveness of its social media engagement
The force recognised that the reach of Facebook and Twitter was limited with young people. During lockdown an increase in anti-social behaviour was reported in city parks. The force used Instagram to record a bespoke message from the relevant local beat officer to a targeted audience, explaining the consequences of such behaviour, and the number of related reports decreased. The force paid to receive details about how many people viewed the content and their demographics. The force deemed that the benefits far outweighed the small cost incurred and used this approach for subsequent issues. This is an efficient, targeted way of working with people.
The force provides effective communication skills training to the workforce
The force carries out mandatory training to help its workforce understand how to be fair in their interactions with the public and not to be influenced by unconscious bias. Training also emphasises the importance of understanding community perception of stop and search. A force training video includes four young Black men explaining why their lived experiences will affect their response to being searched by the police. Officers told us their training had made them confident in using this power. Thus, the public’s experience of stop and search will improve.
Most stop and searches are carried out with reasonable grounds
We reviewed a sample of 218 stop and search records from 1 January to 31 December 2020 during our inspection. Based on this sample, we estimate that 91.7 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 3.6 percent) of all stop and searches by the force during this period were reasonable. This is a slight decrease since our review the previous year when we found that an estimated 93.6 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 3.6 percent) of stop and searches had reasonable grounds. This continued high proportion of stop and searches with reasonable grounds is positive as it means that communities in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland can be reassured that stop and search activity is being carried out fairly.
The force scrutinises available data to make sure people are treated fairly
Stop-and-search data is regularly reviewed at force, local, team and individual level, and is further inspected by an external scrutiny group. The force can demonstrate changes to its ways of working as a result of this scrutiny; for example, officers activate body-worn video earlier in the stop-and-search process.
During the pandemic the force analysed the ethnicity data associated with every fixed penalty notice issued for COVID-19 legislation breaches. The findings were shared with the community, staff and neighbouring forces to prevent further breaches and reassure people that the notices were reasonable. This is a good way of working and provides reassurance to communities that the force’s use of this power is fair and effective.
The force is improving its understanding of the way its officers use force
The IT systems that support the reporting of officers’ use-of-force issues aren’t as effective as those for stop and search; thus, the reliability of the data available is limited. The force is attempting to resolve this with the IT supplier. The data that is available is scrutinised effectively and the force does have processes to remedy officers’ failure to immediately report incidents. Force leaders understand the importance of continuing to improve the reliability of use-of-force data, to make sure the public are being treated fairly and respectfully.
Preventing crime and anti-social behaviour
Leicestershire Police is outstanding at prevention and deterrence.
Leicestershire Police creates films that contribute to improvements in identifying vulnerability, encourage reporting and help bring offenders to justice
Kayleigh’s Love Story (YouTube link) is a film that tells the story of a young victim, Kayleigh, who was raped and murdered, having been groomed online. It has had almost 4m views on YouTube at the time of writing. A subsequent film, Are You Listening? (YouTube link), was commissioned by Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland’s Violence Reduction Network, working with Leicestershire Police. The film highlights the types of crime that children can become involved in, and the signs they might display if they are being exploited. When the film was released, the force worked with other organisations to run workshops alongside it. This helped the force to measure the impact on viewers and their behaviour change. Over 2,300 people attended from education and children’s services. Are You Listening? won a Royal Television Society award and has been used by other forces and organisations. It is a powerful tool for trusted adults to keep young people safe, by helping adults spot the signs of vulnerability and give them the confidence to report their concerns.
Leicestershire Police has a diverse staff who are confident in engaging with the communities they serve
The force supports its increasing number of staff and officers known to have protected characteristics or other lived experiences. This is evident through a range of activity such as targeted recruitment, encouragement of many staff associations, and positive action opportunities.
Some of these staff represent vulnerable communities. We found examples where these communities were made less vulnerable because of this approach by the force to its staff. One officer, who was brought up in care homes, was supported to share his story on the force intranet. The story was also shared with local care homes to increase engagement with their children. As a result of this, some children joined the force cadet scheme. Another officer, from a traveller family, helped the force develop Project Listen (detailed below).
The benefits of having a diverse force that reflects its communities are clear. On one occasion we saw that an officer who was the chair of one of the force staff associations was able to work effectively with the community and prevent the escalation of community tension when a demonstration was proposed outside a place of worship.
These staff are increasing the trust and confidence that communities have in their police force and help to ensure that crime prevention activity is effective.
Leicestershire Police has sought local people to become volunteers to help prevent crime and reduce vulnerability in their communities
Neighbourhood Active (NA) is a programme of work that mobilises volunteers in specific areas vulnerable to crime. For example, following a murder in Leicester the force held a community event to present the NA concept and explain how much local women could contribute to keeping young people safer. Many volunteers came forward and attended 26 online awareness sessions, which explained legislation, policing activity and safety issues. The volunteers were security checked and provided with suitable equipment. They give presentations in local schools on subjects such as the various consequences of drug misuse and the benefits of volunteering. More informal activity has included the volunteers challenging boys smoking cannabis openly in a local park, resulting in a letter of apology being written. This project provides the force with more widespread informed involvement to prevent crime and reduce anti-social behaviour and vulnerability.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to prevention and deterrence.
The force has an effective policing model, supporting processes and accessible IT that focus on the prevention of crime, anti-social behaviour and vulnerability
The force introduced a new operating model in March 2020. This moved operational staff closer to the communities they served; 24-hour-response officers, local intelligence officers and detectives now work at local stations alongside the dedicated neighbourhood officers. We found this shared responsibility for local problems increased the capacity and capability of problem-solving activity. Frequent and regular local and force meetings provide force-wide grip, with the ability for leaders to deploy staff to local priorities such as crime hotspots, outstanding offenders and high-risk individuals. These processes are informed by accessible, real-time, helpful data from force IT systems. All of this helps the workforce to easily see what local neighbourhood issues are affecting an area and helps in local policing and problem‑solving activity. In the year ending 31 March 2021, Leicestershire Police recorded 12.0 anti-social-behaviour incidents per 1,000 population, the second-lowest rate across all forces in England and Wales.
The force is undertaking early intervention approaches in working together with other organisations to make more significant reductions in crime, anti-social behaviour and vulnerability
The force has partnered with other organisations to change from the traditional anti-social-behaviour and crime focus to a focus on reducing harmful behaviours through a public health approach. One example is Project Listen, a joined-up involvement method with fixed traveller sites. Each organisation used the police threat-and-harm scoring matrix to create a shared understanding of the communities’ needs. As a result of this, all organisations, including the police, work together on agreed shared priorities. Another example of the force’s use of an early intervention approach is the development of schools liaison officers. This project uses a public health approach to promote safeguarding and reduce violence and child criminal exploitation. All officers receive mandatory trauma-informed learning and development. This ensures they are aware of the impact of adverse childhood experiences on child behaviour. Working in this way is widely recognised as effective in reducing crime, disorder and vulnerability.
The force is good at solving problems and uses a well-established problem management plan (PMP) process
The force has a significant focus on problem-solving, which has resulted in staff being able to quickly recognise where a PMP would be appropriate to prevent further crime and disorder. We saw examples of high-quality analysis of problems. This resulted in better identification of the causes of problems and improved actions and outcomes. The PMP process is clear and includes:
- officers having enough time to bring PMPs to a conclusion;
- PMPs being stored in the force intelligence system for ease of access;
- a central analysis function creating an easily accessible repository for good ways of working; and
- local champions to assist officers, and recognition for staff successfully implementing PMPs.
Officers involved in PMPs feel valued and have confidence that this process is effective in reducing crime. Communities benefit from effective police activity, which has contributed to comparatively low rates of anti-social behaviour.
The force has a positive, evidence-based policing culture
Force leaders consider academic evaluation of the results of change to be a standard component of change, and the force works with all local universities to improve policing outcomes. A What Works multi-agency meeting takes place quarterly to record and promote the benefits of effective working together. Examples of some of the issues considered at this meeting include:
- the sexual assault referral centre reporting on why victims withdraw from investigations;
- analysis of the response to targeted social media content; and
- the interim review of evidence-based hotspot patrolling.
Having an evidence-based policing culture is positive as it will increase the force’s ability to prevent and detect crime, and to protect communities.
Responding to the public
Leicestershire Police is adequate at responding to the public.
Areas for improvement
The force doesn’t always identify repeat or vulnerable callers
The force doesn’t always complete checks for repeat callers and vulnerable callers, and it doesn’t always record that a caller is vulnerable when appropriate. It has been using a very restrictive definition in the control room for repeat callers, which means many callers who have suffered repeated crimes aren’t immediately being identified as needing an enhanced service. Failing to identify repeat or vulnerable callers means that the risk to the caller isn’t always accurately assessed. The force should make sure that repeat or vulnerable callers are routinely identified.
Areas for improvement
Call takers don’t always give appropriate advice on the preservation of evidence and crime prevention
On a number of occasions, crime-prevention or scene-preservation advice wasn’t given when required. Giving crime-prevention advice will reduce repeat victimisation and scene-preservation advice will greatly assist the investigations.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to how well the force responds to the public.
Leicestershire Police collaborates with other relevant bodies to reduce the demand caused by vulnerable high-intensity individuals at initial call and response
The force has a dedicated co-ordinator of partnerships for mental health who works alongside the Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust mental health team. This role leads the joined-up approach to dealing with vulnerable individuals with mental health concerns. One capability is the mental health triage car. The car is crewed by a trained officer and a mental health nurse who scan incidents for mental health issues and investigate individuals’ mental health history. They create a mental health risk assessment and tactical plan for call takers or officers attending. They respond to incidents, give specialist mental health advice to other officers attending, contribute to police negotiations, detain under the Mental Health Act, arrest or, in some circumstances, return the individual home. The mental health nurse has authority to informally ‘admit’ patients and refer them to crisis teams. The crew creates briefings for custody including mental health risk assessment and clinical update. If the individual is being transferred to a place of safety, they are always transported by ambulance and escorted by the triage car following handover. This is an unusual and efficient arrangement to protect the most vulnerable, helped through trust in police capability.
In the year ending 31 March 2021, Leicestershire Police identified 9.3 crimes per 1,000 population as involving a mental health concern. This is higher than the England and Wales rate of 2.7 crimes per 1,000 population. During the same period, the force identified 9.9 non-crime-related incidents per 1,000 population as involving a mental health concern, which is similar to the England and Wales rate of 9.1.
Our inspection found that the force was proactive in identifying vulnerable individuals and was working with other organisations to safeguard them.
The force is increasing the range of channels through which crime can be reported
The force is an early adopter of Single Online Home, the new national contact platform for police forces that helps the public to report crimes. Initially, the public could report only low-harm crimes, but the force has been a trial user for reports of domestic abuse, rape, sexual assault and missing persons. The public now have more opportunities to report serious crime to the force and increase the likelihood they can be safeguarded.
Requests for service are effectively prioritised for appropriate action
The force answers emergency and non-emergency calls quickly, resulting in very low numbers of abandoned calls. When calls are answered, the force nearly always uses a structured triage process. Callers can use a telephone self-selection option to report certain crimes to the crime bureau, such as retail theft.
Artificial intelligence scans the official force social media accounts and Single Online Home reports for risks that need immediate attention. A triage sergeant in the control room is dedicated to scanning incidents to quality-assure risk assessments or to prioritise unallocated incidents. There is an effective relationship between the control room and crime bureau, which enables rapid transfer of incidents if necessary.
The crime bureau researches all victims; if any have been a victim three times or more in a six-month period, they will get an enhanced level of service. This management of demand, based on harm and vulnerability, results in those most vulnerable being dealt with most urgently.
The force understands the demand faced by officers responding to calls for service and deploys staff effectively
The force has established performance monitoring supported by good data. This monitoring is particularly effective as the control room is in the same directorate as neighbourhood policing and response. In addition to the speed of answering calls and the speed of response, performance monitoring covers other relevant topics including staff training requirements, welfare and trauma risk management activity. This is presented clearly in real time by an IT system. There is also a dedicated control room analyst interpreting trends and recommending improvements to response to calls for service. As a result we found the force responded in a timely and appropriate way on most occasions.
Leicestershire Police is adequate at investigating crime.
Areas for improvement
Important lines of inquiry are sometimes not completed
On some occasions, important lines of inquiry aren’t completed, resulting in missed investigative opportunities. The force should make sure it carries out proportionate, thorough investigations into reported crimes.
Areas for improvement
The force doesn’t always comply with the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime
Victim needs assessments aren’t always completed. These ensure that any special measures required by the victim are identified at an early stage of an investigation, so they receive the appropriate support. Victim personal statements are often not considered, which means that victims aren’t always given the opportunity for their voices to be heard. The force needs to make sure that the requirements of the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime are complied with.
Areas for improvement
An auditable record of victims’ views and their reasons for withdrawing support for investigations are rarely obtained
An auditable record of a victim’s wishes, such as a signed statement, is rarely obtained. It is important to obtain an auditable record to evidence the victim’s wishes and understand the reasons why they don’t wish to support a prosecution. The force needs to improve how it records a victim’s decisions and their reasons for withdrawing support for an investigation.
The force reviews differences in service and outcomes between departments to replicate improvements throughout the force
The force reviews outcomes for crime types and compares the results for each department and the qualifications of the investigators. This allows the force to identify differences in outcomes, understand why some departments obtain more positive outcomes and identify improved working practices. The force is then able to replicate the improved service throughout all departments.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to how well the force investigates crime.
Investigations are more efficient following the amalgamation of the force’s digital expertise and equipment into the Digital Hub
Digital Hub staff investigate digitally dependent crimes and provide guidance and services to other staff investigating crimes where digital elements and inspection of devices are important. The hub consists of various capabilities, including staff investigating online child exploitation, cybercrime and digital media, and dedicated analysts. It makes the access to digital services needed by force investigators more efficient. This includes the new central CCTV evidence-gathering process that improves how efficiently evidence is captured, and specifically reduces the need for officer visits to seize CCTV content. Officers told us they valued the hub’s effectiveness, particularly in supporting their use of technical equipment available to front-line staff at stations.
The force understands the crime demand it faces and what resources it needs to meet it effectively
The force’s compliance with crime-recording standards gives it a reliable understanding of the level of reported crime. Effective allocation, performance and tasking processes result in crimes being dealt with by appropriately skilled officers and staff in a timely manner. And we found front-line supervisors who were accustomed to looking ahead, predicting how events would likely affect demand for investigators and subsequently planning for their future availability. The force has invested in digital capability and the effective prioritisation of its use, resulting in no worrying backlogs of requests for the examination of a device such as a phone or laptop. The public can be confident that appropriately equipped staff are investigating their reports of crimes promptly.
Force leaders respond promptly to changes in legislation to limit any negative impact on the investigation process for staff
New disclosure and redaction legislation has created new requirements for investigators. The force introduced these changes as part of its disclosure objective entitled Our commitment to fairness and justice and with objectives based on National Police Chiefs’ Council guidance. It used its constructive relationship with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to make sure that responsibilities were clear and plans understood in the force and the CPS. Investigators were asked what they needed in order to comply with this legislation; the force responded to their answers by providing the type of training package, IT support and expert advice that was requested. As a result of this excellent change management, we found investigators who were confidently complying with the significant new demands, and cases should be presented fairly.
Protecting vulnerable people
Leicestershire Police is outstanding at protecting vulnerable people.
The force has a strong, established leadership and culture that prioritises identifying and safeguarding the vulnerable
The specialist department responsible for safeguarding is named ‘Serious crime’ as a statement of the force’s commitment to protecting those most vulnerable. Safeguarding runs as a thread through most force policies. Staff consistently display attitudes and behaviour that seek to identify and protect the vulnerable, exemplified by the high submission rate of public protection notices. This culture will result in the force protecting those most in need.
The force responds quickly to mitigate circumstances that could increase the risk to the vulnerable
Leicestershire Police recognised the likelihood of increases in hidden domestic abuse during the pandemic. A chief officer presented a message to staff and the public (via social media) based on the Home Office public campaign At home shouldn’t mean at risk. Staff were required to be extra vigilant to vulnerability, and reminded of the crucial need to report concerns and look beyond the obvious. The force led multi-agency reviews of repeat high-risk domestic abuse victims to assess whether professionals had maintained contact with them. Actions were allocated where necessary to confirm the victims’ welfare.
As lockdown measures eased, force leaders issued new guidance on identifying and mitigating vulnerability concerns. The guidance listed safeguarding measures that should be applied during police-initiated contact to lessen risk towards victims. These prompt changes safeguarded those at risk of hidden harm.
The force proactively considers ways to expand its partnership approach to child safeguarding
Operation Encompass is the national arrangement to inform schools if their pupils have been involved in, or witnessed, domestic abuse. The force has gained permission from the Home Office to expand the arrangement to include all adverse childhood experiences. IT problems have delayed the full implementation of this trauma and vulnerability trial. In the meantime, the force has implemented a small expansion of the arrangement for some children who have been missing from home. However, the force is determined to introduce the full implementation and has the potential to be a trailblazer in child safeguarding.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to how well the force protects vulnerable people.
The force focuses specialist resources on the investigation of non-recent sexual offences
Specialist detectives work in a dedicated team to investigate all reports of non-recent sexual offences. This ensures that those who have been able to report such incredibly traumatic crimes are dealt with by highly skilled staff.
The force hosts an effective child exploitation team
The child exploitation team is multi-disciplinary and multi-agency, and is based on police premises. The team deals with all the threats and risks to children, including modern slavery, human trafficking and child sexual exploitation. It includes a missing person engagement team to develop risk mitigation for missing children. There is a daily risk assessment process that considers risks identified by each organisation. Any risk that is defined as high is dealt with by the team. For example, if a child at high risk of sexual exploitation goes missing, the child automatically becomes a high‑risk missing child, triggering specialist tactics to investigate potential offenders. This approach ensures that vulnerable children who come to the attention of the force and the organisations it works with are more effectively safeguarded.
The force has effective governance in place to ensure that vulnerable people are protected
The force’s strategic partnership board, chaired by the police and crime commissioner (PCC), has oversight of the PCC vulnerability executive, attended by the force chief officer lead. This focuses on continued vulnerability safeguarding and prevention improvement. This chief officer chairs the force’s vulnerability board, which holds the force’s head of serious crime to account for the policing contribution to safeguarding activity.
In addition, to further improve performance, the force has developed a partnership and review manager role. The inspector who fills this role is responsible for conducting regular audits throughout the force to ensure activities are safeguarding the vulnerable – for example, checking how well neighbourhood policing officers are responding to calls from domestic abuse victims. This results in close scrutiny, resolution of problems and sharing good ways of working.
The force has ways of providing extra support to those identified as the most vulnerable repeat victims
The force has a policy to manage an enhanced response to vulnerable victims who experience three incidents of any type within six months. The crime bureau offers three levels of support dependent on the victim: protected characteristics, emotional harm and financial loss suffered. The level of support offered also depends on the likely benefit of any intervention, such as referral to victim support services. This process helps the force identify vulnerable repeat victims and provide them with appropriate support.
The force works closely with other organisations to safeguard vulnerable children and adults
There are positive multi-agency safeguarding hub arrangements in place, where information is shared and discussed in a timely way. This helps risk to be collectively viewed, understood and acted on. Thus, those coming to the attention of any organisation should benefit from each organisation’s safeguarding capabilities as required.
The force engages effectively in multi-agency risk management meetings
The force chairs a daily multi-agency risk assessment conference (MARAC), focused on adults, and a monthly MARAC that reviews more persistent cases the daily meeting’s immediate measures are struggling to resolve. There is also a daily child exploitation risk assessment meeting (described above). These meetings consider each organisation’s concerns and declare an agreed level of risk for each person discussed, triggering appropriate interventions.
The force contributes effectively by sharing information appropriately, suggesting police tactics and holding other organisations it works with to account for actions agreed. It is proactive in seeking ways to improve practice and has linked up with the SafeLives charity to refine the types of case that should be brought forward. These frequent meetings are helped by the force’s introduction of digital management and recording equipment, and enable action to reduce the risk to vulnerable people in a timely way.
The force provides an excellent service to victims of sexual assault and influences national direction
Adult victims of sexual assault receive specialist support via the sexual assault referral centre (SARC). There is also a dedicated facility, Lighthouse, for child victims. Both are recognised in the Care Quality Commission’s draft report in October 2021 as effective practice and have also received local awards. In Leicestershire, both premises are equipped with remote link kits, enabling vulnerable and intimidated witnesses to provide their evidence under special measures to a court. (This was subsequently rolled out nationally.)
The force’s SARC manager is an active member of the national Survivor and Public Voice Group at NHS England, often sharing effective practice and trialling national projects locally. One such continuing trial is to assess the cost and benefit of support offered by SARCs to survivors of sexual violence. Universities work with the force to continue improvements, helping to develop the Victim’s journey e-booklet. This type of evidence-based help supports victims of sexual crimes.
Managing offenders and suspects
Leicestershire Police is good at managing offenders and suspects.
The force has worked with academia to introduce work to reduce the threat posed by the most potentially dangerous people
The force has embarked on Operation Confer to manage the risks that potentially dangerous people pose, especially individuals who are suspected of rape but haven’t been convicted. This has been developed with academia and uses a similar risk assessment method to the active risk management system (ARMS). It includes measures to disrupt and deter suspects from harmful behaviour. With the budget secured and staff recruited, Operation Confer began on 28 February 2022. The significant development of this project should be recognised as a bold attempt to mitigate the effect of the low level of convictions in such awful crimes.
Areas for improvement
The force’s sex offender management processes deviate from national guidance and its local policy is unclear
Sex offender management processes in the force don’t follow authorised professional practice (APP) in several ways including:
- high use of single-officer visits;
- non-completion of ARMS risk management plans within 15 days of the end of licence conditions; and
- offenders being placed under reactive management without being successfully monitored at low risk for a minimum of three years and subject to civil orders.
While the force had a local policy for the management of sex offenders, we found the policy was unclear. It doesn’t highlight what practice is outside national guidance, what risks local policy may create and how they will be mitigated. Staff are unaware of national guidance and unclear on what is expected of them.
The force should review its policy and practice to make sure that deviation from national guidance clearly articulates any resulting risk and how risk will be mitigated, and enables consistency of sex offender management.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to how well the force manages offenders and suspects.
The force works with other organisations to make sure creative solutions to serious risks are explored and implemented promptly
The force works very closely with other organisations in the local Violence Reduction Network to look for opportunities to jointly reduce the risk of young people reoffending, while still achieving each organisation’s own objectives. This has created an environment of trust. For example, the force supported the quick referral to prevention and safeguarding services of a child suspected of a high number of serious violence offences. This helped the force, with external support, to relocate the child and their family, and gain voluntary consent for the child to wear a GPS tag. These actions helped establish 24/7 monitoring, demonstration of the child’s compliance with their bail conditions and significant disruption of offending. This approach recognises that young offenders may also be vulnerable and in need of safeguarding.
The force has an effective integrated offender management programme
The force operates an integrated offender management (IOM) programme that is based on the offenders who pose the greatest risk of further offending under the new ‘fixed, flex and free’ national strategy. The force’s IOM approach reflects trauma‑informed practice that recognises offenders as vulnerable people who need access to support to reduce the likelihood of future offending, as well as meeting requirements to engage in perpetrator programs.
There are effective internal and partnership governance arrangements in place to oversee offender identification in line with national standards and consider further development of the IOM programme. For example, new guidance for offender managers has been prepared. It gives clear information about operational procedures, including the use of protective orders, recalls to prison and how referrals to other organisations are made.
The IOM strategic implementation group is drawing together information from different organisations so that the benefits of IOM can be clearly identified and end results evaluated better.
Offender managers in the force work alongside staff from other organisations. This supports good working relationships, the prompt sharing of intelligence and effective decision-making.
The force effectively pursues offenders and manages outstanding suspects to protect the public from harm
The force makes information about wanted people available to staff on a digital dashboard and officers can access information on handheld devices. Each week, supervisors scrutinise information and prioritise the most dangerous suspects and offenders, assigning teams to find wanted people and make arrests. Senior leaders review performance. We found that staff were clear about what action to take.
The force’s Operation Orienteer requires neighbourhood policing teams to enforce domestic abuse bail requirements and the conditions imposed by protective orders, for example, Domestic Violence Protection Orders.
Officers are also clear about when to use pre-charge bail and released under investigation (RUI), which increases the effective management of suspects and therefore the safeguarding of victims. Systems remind investigating officers before suspects are due to return on bail, and supervisors must record why decisions about the use of pre-charge bail or RUI are justified. Furthermore, superintendents challenge officers on the progress of investigations, to ensure bail extensions are considered carefully.
The force has systems in place to identify and take timely action against those who may be sharing indecent images of children
The force assesses referrals concerning indecent images of children in a timely way. Its approach to intelligence gathering is comprehensive and supports supervisors to prioritise allocation of work based on a clear understanding of risk. Performance measures help to provide a clear picture of demand versus resource, and this has resulted in a recent increase in staff in this area of work. Digital media investigators attend all searches, which helps the force to identify and seize devices that are most likely to contain indecent images, and capture information stored promptly. This supports timely investigations.
However, we did find a small number of low-risk cases that had been waiting for some time for allocation – the oldest case being a year old. While children weren’t believed to be directly linked to the suspect or their address at the time of the referral, there was no risk review process in place. As such it couldn’t be guaranteed that a previously low-risk case hadn’t become high risk due to further intelligence. Following our debrief, the force introduced regular intelligence checks to mitigate this risk.
Disrupting serious organised crime
Leicestershire Police is outstanding at tackling serious and organised crime.
Leicestershire Police: Understanding SOC and setting priorities to tackle it
The force has an integrated approach and effectively manages SOC
The force has an integrated approach to tackling SOC, exploitation and violent crime. It focuses on these three problems with a whole-system approach. This approach is effective for several reasons.
- The force has a culture of taking a 4P approach to tackling SOC. This stems from an executive level through to frontline policing.
- The assistant chief constable chairs strategic meetings. This makes sure that there is consistent oversight and accountability for the execution of the force SOC strategy.
- The director of intelligence is responsible for tactical-level management of SOC. This role involves direct line management of core personnel, including lead responsible officers (LROs).
- County lines and urban street gangs are managed to the same standard as OCG and other SOC threats. This means that there is a consistent approach to managing all SOC threats.
- There is an operational plan for the force intelligence function that outlines the resources and processes that the force carries out to continually scan, identify and manage SOC threats. The plan also outlines how the force responds to these threats.
- Each OCG is allocated an LRO, who is also supported by an intelligence officer to ensure effective intelligence collection and development.
- The force takes a trauma-informed approach, involving partners, such as those involved in public health, to find and divert people who are vulnerable to being influenced by organised criminals.
The force uses analytical work to achieve successful outcomes
We found that analytical staff’s skills were used effectively to tackle SOC. The analysts routinely apply their professional skills to direct LROs towards disruption activities using a 4P approach. An example of this was crime pattern analysis of an emerging trend of thefts. The force then worked with third-sector bodies to give the community advice on how to protect themselves from this type of crime.
We were told that the force was able to secure convictions against OCGs on several operations using only the analysis of telecommunications data. This avoided the use of other covert tactics, which can be expensive.
Leicestershire Police: Resources and skills
In general, the force has enough resources to deal with the workload created by SOC. However, we found two notable exceptions.
At the time of our inspection, there were a large number of intelligence reports that hadn’t been processed due to a lack of staff. This resulted in a backlog of reports. Force intelligence staff told us that all intelligence was assessed for risk and actioned accordingly, regardless of whether it was processed onto the force intelligence system. As such, the force is managing the risk.
Since our inspection, the force has added two new staff posts in the intelligence department. This has significantly reduced intelligence backlogs. The remaining unactioned intelligence logs have all been triaged and assessed as low risk.
Staff in the covert authorities bureau reported that the demand on the unit increased significantly during the pandemic, with a large number of communications data applications awaiting authorisation. The force was quick to adapt to this increased demand by providing more resources. It also introduced enhanced training to improve the quality of submissions. The force is recruiting staff into the covert authorities bureau to make sure it can cope with any future increase in demand.
Leicestershire Police: Tackling SOC and safeguarding people and communities
The force lead responsible officers (LROs) are effective in managing and co-ordinating 4P activity
Each organised crime group (OCG) within the force has an LRO allocated to manage the serious and organised crime threat.
The force has four LROs; these are detective inspectors based within their intelligence unit. We found that these LROs were crucial to the force’s success in co-ordinating the approach to OCGs. The LROs have developed excellent working relationships within the force and with external agencies.
We found that LROs showed strong leadership and:
- had extensive knowledge of the intelligence related to the OCGs they manage;
- worked closely with neighbourhood commanders and their teams to manage local OCGs more effectively;
- had sound awareness of covert tactics that can be used to tackle OCGs, including those available in the ROCU;
- worked well with senior investigating officers to design and develop effective 4P plans; and
- had a comprehensive understanding of prevent and protect initiatives available across the force.
Leicestershire Police is innovative in identifying and tackling foreign national offenders
In October 2020, the force developed a methodology (Operation Orbis Linea) to perform bulk data searches and analysis. The force applied this methodology to its own systems and national and international databases to find vehicles used by foreign national offenders. An identified vehicle is then marked on the police national computer with an instruction for any force that comes across it to stop the vehicle and investigate.
The force reports that since October 2020, the operation has resulted in:
- 801 vehicles stopped;
- 520 vehicles seized;
- 209 individuals arrested;
- approximately £9m in criminal assets seized;
- 90 European arrest warrants sought; and
- 10 high-risk sex offenders from overseas identified and under investigation.
The force often finds vehicles that aren’t operating in the force area and vehicles have been stopped in other areas of the UK, as well as in France.
In January 2021, the National Police Chiefs’ Council International Crime Co-ordination Centre conducted an independent evaluation and labelled the methodology as national best practice. The evaluation concluded that the force achieved its operational objectives, and that the methodology could be adapted by other forces across England and Wales. In light of the success of this operation, the force has increased staffing within its intelligence unit to continue disrupting this type of offending.
The force effectively pursues organised criminals by targeting their assets
There appeared to be enough personnel within the force ECU to carry out effective financial investigations. Personnel in the unit were confident that confiscation orders were sought in relevant cases.
We were told that each SOC investigation is allocated a financial investigator. The financial investigators work closely with LROs and intelligence officers to inform 4P plans. Financial investigators also attend SOC management meetings to advise on potential opportunities to seize criminal assets.
The force established that there is a problem with criminals exploiting people to launder money on their behalf, sometimes referred to as money muling. So, the force has appointed a dedicated protect officer and a police community support officer within the ECU to tackle this type of crime. The role of these officers is to find and support vulnerable victims of economic crime.
The force has established an online eBay account to dispose of criminal property that is forfeited. The money this approach raises is returned to the force through the Government’s asset recovery incentivisation scheme. It is used to pay for the administration of the eBay account and any excess funds are reinvested into the force.
The force has designed a campaign to raise awareness of child criminal exploitation and improve how it works with partners to identify and safeguard vulnerable children
In November 2020, the force released a film titled Are you listening? across social media platforms and ran workshops with trusted adults. The aims of this campaign were to help people spot the signs of child criminal exploitation and increase the number of young people referred to local child criminal exploitation teams.
The effectiveness of the campaign was evaluated 12 months from the release date and showed the following successes:
- The film has been viewed by 4.8m people.
- The workshops were attended by 2,300 trusted adults.
- Referrals to child criminal exploitation teams have tripled.
- In December 2021, the film received the Royal Television Society Midlands Award for Best Promotional Content.
- The campaign has been adopted by other forces, including West Yorkshire Police and Gloucestershire Constabulary, and adapted for their local contexts.
- The force has taken the findings from the evaluation to continue to develop this campaign.
The force works closely with partners to prevent people from being drawn into organised crime
Protected persons notices (PPNs) are used by Leicestershire Police and their partner agencies to highlight people who may be vulnerable. PPNs are sent to a joint safeguarding hub, where staff from other agencies, such as health and children’s services, also work.
All juveniles entering custody undergo PPN referral. One member of force staff said that “the PPN is the key to all referrals and the way to highlight OCG members and peripherals”. LROs, SIOs and other personnel understood that PPN could be used to engage partners in safeguarding hubs. They also understood that they would be held accountable if they didn’t submit PPNs.
The force told us about several programmes and other activities that help prevent and protect people in relation to organised crime.
- The ENGAGE process is an out-of-court disposal framework for young adults on their first entry into the criminal justice system. A key worker is allocated to try and intervene at the outset of their criminality to stop continued offending.
- The force leads a series of groups that are highly effective in meeting its strategy to tackle modern slavery. Partners include Barnardo’s, the British Red Cross, Hope for Justice, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority and the Health and Safety Executive. The range of partners helps the force to tackle organised crime with a 4P approach (preventing, pursuing, preparing, and protecting the most vulnerable).
- The force gives frontline staff guidance and training on the national referral mechanism and how it should treat potential victims of slavery, for instance, in cannabis factories.
- The force effectively uses a range of methods to tackle local SOC activity. For example, the force addressed activity in gangs primarily made up of Somalian nationals. Neighbourhood policing team officers were responsible for tackling the criminality of these gang members and conducted visits to their homes and their families. The force also worked with community leaders and set up training about gang activity, which was led by a community group. Officers patrolling in the area took a zero-tolerance approach to drugs and weapons. The force reported that this reduced offending linked to this gang, leading to several members of the gang having their risk assessments downgraded.
Read An inspection of the east midlands regional response to serious and organised crime – March 2023
Building, supporting and protecting the workforce
Leicestershire Police is good at building and developing its workforce.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to how well the force builds and develops its workforce.
All levels of the workforce have a strong sense of belonging to the force
Most staff spoke highly of their empowering and supportive leadership, and were proud to be part of ‘Team Leicestershire’. They told us this resulted in them being able to cope with the challenges of their roles. The force supports several staff associations whose representatives also reported how valued they were, evidenced by their early consultations in force changes that may affect members of their associations. This approach creates a positive working environment and increases the potential for all the workforce to contribute to effective policing.
The force understands the wellbeing of its workforce and uses this understanding to improve it
The force has a comprehensive employee wellbeing plan, and progress against the plan’s objectives is scrutinised through various well-co-ordinated working groups. There are also individual action plans for those conducting roles that have a high risk to wellbeing. Performance is aligned to the national Blue Light Wellbeing Framework.
Force leaders are innovative when developing improvements in this area. For example, during the pandemic it was directed that every officer, staff member and volunteer should have contact from a force welfare champion. We heard from many how much this was appreciated and that it yielded new information, which was acted on. The wellbeing needs of the workforce are being met.
The force is succeeding in creating a workforce that better reflects its communities
The force continues to implement projects to increase the diversity of its staff, including:
- the creation of a dedicated positive action officer role;
- social media campaigns in which staff from under-represented communities recount their experiences; and
- using an intern to research successful recruitment campaigns.
All these activities are directed by a strategic board chaired by the chief constable. They have resulted in 12.6 percent of the new police officers joining the force in the year ending 31 March 2021 being from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic background. The proportion of Black, Asian and minority ethnic police officers in the force is consistently higher than the rate across England and Wales, but still much lower than the proportion of Black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals in the population it serves (21.6 percent).
The force also has a very successful targeted development programme to encourage specific ethnic groups to apply for roles in departments where they are under‑represented. We found a workforce that was increasingly diverse and whose diversity had more representation in specialist departments. As a result, the force can police more communities effectively, as highlighted in the examples in the ‘Preventing crime and anti-social behaviour’ section.
Black, Asian and minority ethnic proportion of Leicestershire Police officers on 31 March 2021 and of new officers joining the force in the year to that date, with known ethnicity, compared to Black, Asian and minority ethnic proportion of local population
The force proactively uses complaints and misconduct investigations to improve its service to the public
Senior leaders in the force consistently promote ethical behaviour. Incidents are scrutinised internally, and externally by the ethics committee. This is part of the force’s drive to learn from failures in service to the public by promptly identifying themes, communicating feedback to staff, publishing force-wide campaigns and reinforcing the high standards required. Of note is that the force has contributed over 10 percent of all national learning from complaints, which is used to inform improvements to all forces in this regard. Those who make complaints to the force can be confident that appropriate action will be taken to improve future police response.
The force is adapting its learning and development provision to match future needs
The new Leicestershire Police Academy has become the focal point for all staff development. It brings together the force’s training, leadership and professional development functions. Leaders have a clear understanding of what the academy must provide, and in what format, to efficiently equip existing and new staff to police effectively in the future. There is strong leadership that makes sure resources are prioritised to the most critical areas. This ensures the public continue to receive a good service from well-trained officers.
Tackling workforce corruption
In September 2021, we inspected Leicestershire Police to examine the effectiveness of the force’s vetting. We briefed senior personnel in the force at the end of the inspection.
Read the report for Leicestershire Police: A report into the effectiveness of vetting arrangements in Leicestershire Police – November 2022
In September 2021, we changed the way we report on how effectively forces manage vetting and counter-corruption.
Previously, we inspected these areas as part of the PEEL programme, and reported our findings in the ‘Building, supporting and protecting the workforce’ section.
We now inspect forces separately to PEEL. This is so we can be more effective and efficient in how we inspect this high-risk area of police business. We produce a report for each force containing our findings, and any areas for improvement or causes of concern.
Find out more about our inspections in this area, along with links to all the published force reports.
Strategic planning, organisational management and value for money
Leicestershire Police is good at operating efficiently.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to how well the force operates efficiently.
The force has an effective strategic planning and performance management framework
At the time of inspection, the new Police and Crime Plan was under consultation. We are confident that the force will successfully integrate new priorities into its plans using its established and constantly developing business processes. Senior staff explained how the force intended to combine the force management statement and the strategic assessment process to further improve strategic planning.
There is an effective performance framework supported by the continuing investment in IT dashboard applications, which supports policing activity across all business areas. The applications support analysis and research, programme and project management, data insight, evidence-based policing and broader governance and change management. This means that the data underpinning decisions can be trusted.
The force manages demand well
The force management statement identifies several force-wide themes: workforce, post-COVID, financial sustainability, digital capability and collaboration. It describes the impact each theme has on the others in terms of demand and resourcing, and demonstrates a wider understanding of demand. In addition, strong crime data integrity compliance means the force has a good view of reported crime.
Staff are appropriately deployed to deal with incidents, specifically from the control room and through effective local and force tasking processes. The operating model supports this activity, enabling the right staff to attend the right incident at the right time in most cases.
Some adjustments are required to where staff are based
The current operating model was implemented at the beginning of March 2020, the start of many periods of lockdown in the force area. The force constantly monitored the effectiveness of the new model, but leaders accepted that it wouldn’t be fully tested until the easing of restrictions, when we inspected. We found some disparity in staff capacity across the local policing areas, particularly in relation to the distribution of PIP 2-qualified detectives. Also, some uniform sergeants had started to experience unsustainable levels of demand, resulting in them completing tasks on rest days. The force does flex staff at its regular daily meetings, but senior leaders confirmed that the residual gaps we found were to be filled as part of the continuing review of the operating model. This is important for staff welfare and effective service provision.
The force has a good understanding of the capabilities of its workforce
In our 2018/19 PEEL report on Leicestershire Police, we reported that the force should ensure it understood fully its workforce’s capabilities, so that it could identify and address any gaps. This should enable the force to be efficient in meeting current and likely future demand. The force now has a skills matrix, which is used to evaluate its workforce capacity and capability. Leaders reported how this helped them to make sure their staff were equipped to provide a good service. IT systems now present the data from the matrix and enable immediate access to current capabilities when moving officers between teams.
The force equips its volunteers to work effectively on its priorities
There has been a drive to increase the contribution of volunteers to policing services. Volunteers receive good training, development opportunities, equipment and recognition from supportive leadership. This has resulted in some special constables crewing the mental health triage car and others forming a distinct safer roads unit. Cadets conduct knife crime operations involving weapon searches and crime prevention advice. Neighbourhood Active volunteers contribute to crime prevention and reducing vulnerability, as described in the ‘Preventing crime and anti-social behaviour’ section. This investment in volunteers has added extra capacity for the force to keep the public safe.
The force uses its finance effectively and is adaptable to changing budgetary requirements
The January 2022 amended medium-term financial plan was presented promptly following government spending announcements and the precept decision of the police and crime commissioner (PCC) for the financial year 2022/23. The plan is clear, with sensible assumptions. The document presents a balanced budget for the next three years by using the maximum increase in precept funding (Council Tax Band D increase of £10 per year) and maintaining appropriate reserves. However, there is uncertainty over whether the PCC will support the maximum year-on-year precept increases. If this isn’t agreed, the force will need to make savings equivalent to the shortfall in precept funding, where a £1 increase in funding equates to about £0.4m per year (equivalent to 7 officers at the top of the pay scale, or 11 at the bottom). The PCC has also indicated that he will expect the force to achieve annual efficiency savings of 0.5 percent of net revenue expenditure (equivalent to £1.1m per year or £4.4m over the period of the plan). The force has already produced an efficiency savings plan, which needs to be amended to reflect this new requirement.
The force collaborates to improve services
The force has a good track record of supporting collaboration and works with East Midlands Region forces in several areas to improve efficiency. These areas include shared services for HR functions, occupational health, regional specialist learning and development, and legal services. The chief officer group demonstrates an awareness of the benefits that collaboration brings and looks to consider wider opportunities in search of benefits and improved services to the public.
The force improves productivity through technological solutions
The force invests in IT and demonstrates an understanding of demand created by changes in processes. For example, it effectively mapped out the demand created by increased online reporting as a result of Single Online Home. This understanding supported the movement of resource to maintain efficiency and optimise use of this technology.
The force’s digital and data strategy details the priorities over the next three to four years. The force is focused on making sure that it is agile and has access to technology such as body-worn video, mobile phones, laptops and up-to-date software, to improve efficiency and productivity. It has identified where improvements need to be made and has set up work streams to make sure that these are realised. It has mapped out the demand against its resource to see where there is capacity. This places it in a strong position to manage the additional demand it has identified. Therefore, resilience in the critical functions of the force is maintained and enhanced.
About the data
Data in this report is from a range of sources, including:
- Home Office;
- Office for National Statistics (ONS);
- our inspection fieldwork; and
- data we collected directly from all 43 police forces in England and Wales.
When we collected data directly from police forces, we took reasonable steps to agree the design of the data collection with forces and with other interested parties such as the Home Office. We gave forces several opportunities to quality assure and validate the data they gave us, to make sure it was accurate. We shared the submitted data with forces, so they could review their own and other forces’ data. This allowed them to analyse where data was notably different from other forces or internally inconsistent.
We set out the source of this report’s data below.
Data in the report
British Transport Police was outside the scope of inspection. Any aggregated totals for England and Wales exclude British Transport Police data, so will differ from those published by the Home Office.
When other forces were unable to supply data, we mention this under the relevant sections below.
The dotted lines on the Bar Charts show one Standard Deviation (sd) above and below the unweighted mean across all forces. Where the distribution of the scores appears normally distributed, the sd is calculated in the normal way. If the forces are not normally distributed, the scores are transformed by taking logs and a Shapiro Wilks test performed to see if this creates a more normal distribution. If it does, the logged values are used to estimate the sd. If not, the sd is calculated using the normal values. Forces with scores more than 1 sd units from the mean (i.e. with Z-scores greater than 1, or less than -1) are considered as showing performance well above, or well below, average. These forces will be outside the dotted lines on the Bar Chart. Typically, 32% of forces will be above or below these lines for any given measure.
For all uses of population as a denominator in our calculations, unless otherwise noted, we use ONS mid-2020 population estimates.
Survey of police workforce
We surveyed the police workforce across England and Wales, to understand their views on workloads, redeployment and how suitable their assigned tasks were. This survey was a non-statistical, voluntary sample so the results may not be representative of the workforce population. The number of responses per force varied. So we treated results with caution and didn’t use them to assess individual force performance. Instead, we identified themes that we could explore further during fieldwork.
Victim Service Assessment
Our victim service assessments (VSAs) will track a victim’s journey from reporting a crime to the police, through to outcome stage. All forces will be subjected to a VSA within our PEEL inspection programme. Some forces will be selected to additionally be tested on crime recording, in a way that ensures every force is assessed on its crime recording practices at least every three years.
Details of the technical methodology for the Victim Service Assessment.
Workforce figures (including ethnicity)
This data was obtained from the Home Office annual data return 502. The data is available from the Home Office’s published police workforce England and Wales statistics or the police workforce open data tables. The Home Office may have updated these figures since we obtained them for this report