Avon and Somerset PEEL 2014
How well the force tackles crime
Avon and Somerset Constabulary is good at reducing crime and preventing offending. The force is good at investigating offending. It is good at tackling anti-social behaviour.
Avon and Somerset has clear strategic priorities to reduce crime and prevent reoffending. The officers and staff of Avon and Somerset clearly understand these priorities and use them to focus policing and partner activity to prevent and reduce crime. The force works effectively with partners to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour, and victims are highly satisfied with the service that they receive from the force.
HMIC found evidence of good initial investigations with appropriate supervisory oversight. There are well-established and effective processes for managing the highest risk criminals who cause most harm in their communities. The force is working with a local university to develop an improved approach to learning from what works but there is, as yet, no systematic mechanism for capturing and sharing good practice.
Further insights on effectiveness
The domestic abuse inspection found that the public could be reasonably confident that the force could conduct an initial investigation and identify safeguarding issues to manage the risk to vulnerable people. The management of high-risk victims was found to be generally good, but medium and standard-risk cases were not consistent.
The crime inspection found that there was evidence of increased work in intelligence gathering and organised crime group mapping. It found that the involvement of neighbourhood officers in tackling organised crime groups was underdeveloped; this may lead to opportunities to gather intelligence being lost or activity to disrupt their activity being overlooked.
The Strategic Policing Requirement inspection found that Avon and Somerset Constabulary had, or had access to through collaboration with other forces regionally, the necessary capability to tackle terrorism, civil emergency, serious organised crime and public disorder but not a large-scale cyber incident.
How effective is the force at reducing crime and preventing offending?
There is a strong and improving focus on the quality of victim care. More improvements are planned to strengthen further the focus on victims and provide better support to vulnerable victims. In the meantime though, more needs to be done to identify repeat and vulnerable victims in a consistent fashion and ensure an appropriate response.
Force priorities are clear and understood by staff who routinely translate them into operational activity.
Partner organisations who work alongside Avon and Somerset Constabulary are committed to the objectives set out within the Police and Crime Plan.
How effective is the force at investigating offending?
There is a good standard of investigation with effective supervisory oversight which ensures that investigations are pursued to the best possible conclusion.
The force has well-established and systematic procedures to manage criminals who persistently reoffend or who are likely to cause the most harm in society.
Organisational learning and continuous improvement is fragmented. There is no central repository of best practice from which operational advice is disseminated.
Not all investigators are accredited to a standard required for the type of crime they are investigating.
How effective is the force at tackling anti-social behaviour?
The force identifies trends in anti-social behaviour and puts measures in place to address them. The management of offenders is approached with the same rigour as criminal investigations.
The force has effective systems in place to identify the vulnerability of victims and is responsive to their needs, although there was some room for improvement in the way staff identify and respond to repeat victims.
The force is an important partner in early intervention programmes. Officers work with social services and housing providers to assist ‘troubled families’.
Officers have a central role alongside local councils in identifying offenders, agreeing measures to tackle offending behaviour and providing support to victims.
How effective is the force at protecting those at greatest risk of harm?
The domestic abuse inspection found that the public could be reasonably confident that Avon and Somerset Constabulary could conduct an initial investigation and identify safeguarding issues to manage the risk to vulnerable people. The management of high-risk victims was found to be generally good, but medium and standard-risk cases were not consistent. The management of serious and serial offenders was found to be unco-ordinated and a risk.
The crime inspection found evidence that Avon and Somerset had made good progress to improve its response to domestic abuse. It was a clear priority for the force with an aspiration for all staff to be victim-centred. The inspection also reviewed Avon and Somerset’s domestic abuse action plan and found the force had provided a comprehensive action plan outlining activity which was in line with the agreed national priorities for forces to improve their responses to domestic abuse. The report made reference throughout to the HMIC inspection and its findings.
How effective is the force at tackling serious, organised and complex crime?
HMIC’s crime inspection found that there was evidence of increased work in intelligence gathering and organised crime group mapping; in addition the force had developed new techniques to identify organised crime groups. However, the involvement of neighbourhood officers in tackling organised crime groups was underdeveloped; this may result in lost opportunities to gather intelligence or disrupt activity.
HMIC found an increased focus in the force on under-reported or ‘hidden’ crimes such as domestic abuse, human trafficking and child sexual exploitation. Investigators have been supported in these areas with enhanced training.
The value for money inspection found that Avon and Somerset Constabulary was part of a Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) that was well developed and had improved efficiency as well as reducing costs.
How effective is the force at meeting its commitments under the Strategic Policing Requirement?
The Strategic Policing Requirement inspection found that the chief constable understood his role as specified in the Strategic Policing Requirement. Avon and Somerset Constabulary had assessed the scale and nature of the terrorism, civil emergency, serious organised crime, public disorder but not that of a large-scale cyber incident. This had enabled the force to identify how much resource it needed to manage and respond to these threats with the exception of a large-scale cyber incident. Public order has a nationally agreed requirement for resources and Avon and Somerset is able to provide the necessary agreed amount.
The inspection found that Avon and Somerset had the necessary capability, alone or with other forces, to tackle terrorism, civil emergency, serious organised crime and public disorder but not a large-scale cyber incident.
Avon and Somerset was able to operate effectively with other police forces and emergency services to respond to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents.
Connectivity with other forces was effective for responding to terrorism, civil emergency, serious organised crime and public disorder but not large-scale cyber incidents.