HMICFRS’s 2020/21 policing inspection programme and framework: revised consultation

Revised proposals for inspection activity in 2020/21

This consultation is now closed.

The original consultation on our plans for policing inspection activity in 2020/21 was published on 6 March 2020 – just before lockdown restrictions were imposed as a result of COVID-19. One week later, we suspended appreciable inspection activity, and offered to return seconded officers and staff to their home forces, to better allow policing to focus on their response to the pandemic.

While lockdown restrictions are now easing, policing in England and Wales continues to adapt and respond to the challenges of COVID-19. We have therefore revised our original proposals for inspection in 2020/21 to ensure that everything we do reflects these unprecedented circumstances and promotes improvements in keeping people safe and reducing crime, without imposing unnecessary demand on forces.

The original consultation on our inspection plan is now closed. All contributions received to date have been considered, and will be rolled forward into business planning for 2021/22 as appropriate. This consultation replaces it.

The safety of our staff, our inspected sectors and the public are of paramount importance. We will therefore inspect remotely where possible while the requirement for social distancing is in place.

All plans will also be kept under review to ensure they remain right and relevant.

About this consultation

The consultation questions focus on two areas:

  • the overall shape and scope of the programme for the rest of 2020/21. These points are set out on this page below; and
  • some changes specific to the PEEL programme. The PEEL inspection programme is an assessment of the effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy of police forces in England and Wales.

The PEEL programme changes are outlined in full in this document:

Get the PEEL consultation document

PEEL 2020/21 consultation (PDF document, 339 kB)

The consultation questions for both programmes are drawn together and set out below.

Contents

Proposed thematic inspection topics in 2020/21
Proposed follow-up force-level inspections in 2020/21
Proposed resumption of rolling programmes of policing inspections
Other proposed inspection and super-complaint investigation activity
Consultation questions
How to respond to this consultation
How consultation responses will be reviewed

Proposed thematic inspection topics in 2020/21

  1. The policing response to COVID-19

We will engage closely with the Home Office, National Police Chiefs Council, College of Policing and other organisations to ensure our inspections in this area complement the work they are doing to support policing in its continuing response to COVID-19.

Topics include:

  • workforce wellbeing and welfare during the pandemic;
  • police preparedness for the pandemic, leadership (local and national) and partnership working (before and during the pandemic);
  • the police response to vulnerable people during the pandemic;
  • the effect of COVID-19 on investigation, reporting and custody practices and processes, assessing the changes made as a result of the pandemic, and considering those that could represent sustainable improvements to service;
  • (with other inspectorates) the effect of COVID-19 on the criminal justice system; and
  • policing practices in the enforcement of regulations during the pandemic.
  1. Joint inspection of the investigation and prosecution of rape cases

This inspection is required to supplement the wider cross-Government review of how rape cases are handled across the criminal justice system. Conducted jointly with HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, it will assess policy, practice and victim/survivor experience.

  1. Serious organised crime: completion of regional organised crime units (ROCU) inspection

This inspection of the activity of regional organised crime units was paused at the midway point when appreciable activity was suspended in March 2020. We intend to complete the fieldwork and publish a final report.

Proposed follow-up force-level inspections in 2020/21

  1. Assessments of some forces’ progress against recommendations from previous inspection reports

Inspections will be bespoke and focus on progress against previous recommendations in PEEL, child protection or commissioned inspections. Forces will be selected through our monitoring processes.

Proposed resumption of rolling programmes of policing inspections

We will restart elements of our core inspections, to allow for a smooth resumption of all programmes in 2021/22.

  1. PEEL inspections

Each PEEL cycle will result in a formal assessment and a report for every force. This will be based on everything known about that force up to the point that we make our judgments. Our intelligence-led continuous assessment approach makes greater use of evidence collected throughout the year, including in identifying the need for further fieldwork.

  1. Child protection inspections (single agency and joint)
      1. National child protection inspections

    Our national child protection inspections examine the effectiveness of the police at each stage of their interactions with or for children, from initial contact and early identification of children who are at risk through to investigation of offences against them.

      1. Joint targeted area inspections (England)

    We work with Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission and HM Inspectorate of Probation to examine how English local authorities, police, probation and health services work together to help and protect children.

      1. Joint inspection of child protection arrangements (Wales)

    We work with the Care Inspectorate Wales, Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, Estyn and HM Inspectorate of Probation to examine how Welsh local authorities, police, probation and health services work together to help and protect children.

  2. Custody suite inspections

This programme was established to meet the UK’s UN Convention Against Torture obligations to inspect all places of detention. The focus is on leadership; pre-custody; in the custody suite; the custody cell; and release and transfer. The programme started in 2008 and all police forces in England and Wales and (then) UK Border Agency and customs facilities were inspected by 2014.

  1. Criminal justice joint inspections and inspection programmes

Details of joint inspections are set out in the separate joint inspection business plan. Topics include youth offending services; serious youth violence; and the multi-agency response to suspects and offenders who have mental ill health. Timings for joint work will be agreed with the other criminal justice inspectorates.

Other proposed inspection and super-complaint investigation activity

  1. Inspection of national agencies and other non-Home Office forces

The inspection of national organisations and non-Home Office forces is undertaken on a statutory basis. The purpose of these inspections is to promote improvements that help protect the public. When it is possible to do so, the inspection activity is designed to support judgments on the ability of the organisations involved, and law enforcement as a whole, to respond to issues affecting the public.

  1. Initial scoping of potential thematic inspections for 2021/22

We will gather data and engage with interested parties in developing intelligence-led and robust proposals for thematic inspections in 2021/22. While the themes to be considered are not confirmed, they will include issues of race and disproportionality.

  1. Super-complaint investigations

A super-complaint is a complaint made to HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary that a feature, or combination of features, of policing in England and Wales by one or more police forces is, or appears to be, significantly harming the interests of the public. Although each super-complaint must be made first to HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, HMICFRS will decide with the College of Policing and the Independent Office for Police Conduct whether it is eligible for consideration. If it is, we will jointly investigate the super-complaint.

We expect to receive super-complaints during 2020/21.

Consultation questions

The consultation questions focus on two areas: the overall shape and scope of the programme for the rest of 2020/21, and some changes specific to the PEEL inspection programme. Please read the PEEL 2020/21 consultation (PDF document, 339 kB) for the detail of these changes.

Shape and scope of the programme for the rest of 2020/21

  1. Does the revised programme seem reasonable and right?

PEEL inspection programme

  1. What do you think of the proposed approach to assessing police forces in PEEL 2020/21? How could this be improved?
  2. Does the draft inspection methodology include the right inspection areas to gather evidence for a rounded assessment of police forces? How could this be improved?
  3. Do you agree with the proposal to make judgments based on the characteristics of ‘Good’, causes of concern and areas for improvement?
  4. Do you agree with the proposal to provide judgments at the core question level only?
  5. Which of our proposals, four or five tiers of judgments, do you think will most promote improvements in policing?
  6. Do you have any comments on our proposed approach to inspecting partnership and collaboration arrangements?

Responses to the March 2020 consultation relevant to these proposals have been analysed, and do not need to be sent again.

How to respond to this consultation

Please submit your answers to these questions, together with any other comments, by email to: HMICFRSPolicingInspectionProgrammeandFramework@hmicfrs.gov.uk no later than 5.00pm on 31 July 2020.

If you have a complaint or comment about HMICFRS’s approach to consultation, you can submit these to the same email address.

How consultation responses will be reviewed

HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary will consider respondents’ views and, if he determines it appropriate to do so, change the proposed inspection programme and framework before putting it to the Home Secretary for approval. In accordance with the Police Act 1996, Schedule 4A, paragraph 2, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary must obtain the approval of the Secretary of State before publishing his inspection programme. The final document, which will be appropriately revised to reflect the results of consultation, will be made available on HMICFRS’s website.

You should note that HMICFRS may publish consultation responses, or summaries of them, except when they have been provided in confidence. Please indicate in your response if you do not wish it to be published.

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