Gloucestershire 2014Read more about Gloucestershire
This is the first PEEL Assessment of Gloucestershire Constabulary. In making this assessment I have used my professional judgment to consider the evidence available from inspections undertaken in the past 12 months.
The available evidence indicates that:
in terms of its effectiveness, in general, the force is good at reducing crime and preventing offending, and is good at tackling anti-social behaviour. However, it requires improvement in the way it investigates offending. There has been a notable improvement in the force’s approach to domestic abuse since the initial inspection;
the efficiency with which the force carries out its responsibilities is good; and
the force is acting to achieve fairness and legitimacy in some of the practices that were examined this year.
Dru Sharpling, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
In making this first PEEL Assessment of Gloucestershire Constabulary I have taken into account the challenges to policing the area.
Gloucestershire is a predominately rural county. The county houses two Royal residences, GCHQ and a nuclear power station. There is an extensive road network, incorporating the M5 corridor. Gloucestershire has fast-growing, knowledge intensive information, communications and technology, and finance sectors. The workforce is skilled and entrepreneurial with high self-employment and start-up success rates.
I have been impressed by the effectiveness of preventing crime and reducing offending. Overall crime has fallen more in Gloucestershire Constabulary than in England and Wales as a whole over the last four years.
Time and resource have been invested to improve the response to victims and their families. The force understands and identifies areas of risk, and puts measures in place to improve services to make people safer. The crime inspection found evidence that reinforced this investment.
There are strong partnership arrangements to tackle anti-social behaviour and dedicated neighbourhood policing teams are aligned to local council areas to obtain a better understanding of community concerns and find collaborative solutions.
Gloucestershire will meet the financial challenge set out by the spending review, and is looking to the future so that it will be able to sustain its policing services in the face of further funding cuts.
Despite progress, victim satisfaction levels are among the lowest of all forces and there was limited recorded evidence of victims being informed or updated of the final no-crime disposal. I do have concerns about the force’s approach to crime-recording, which is not as accurate as it should be.
Our intention is to examine leadership specifically as part of future PEEL Assessments, once criteria have been established. This will allow us to take account of the College of Policing review of leadership that is currently underway.
I will be interested to see how the force responds to the areas HMIC has identified for improvement over the next 12 months; in particular, the results of the detailed review of demand that the force is undertaking, and how the results inform the new structures that are being implemented.
How well the force tackles crime
Gloucestershire Constabulary is good at reducing crime and preventing offending. The force requires improvement in investigating crime. It is good at tackling anti-social behaviour.
Gloucestershire Constabulary is effective at preventing crime and reducing offending. The rate of overall crime has reduced more in Gloucestershire than in England and Wales as a whole over the last four years.
The force has recognised the importance of becoming more victim-centred in the way it delivers policing. It has made some good progress, and HMIC found some areas of good and improving victim care, although there is still room for improvement and victim satisfaction levels are among the lowest of all forces.
HMIC found that the quality of Gloucestershire’s crime investigation is inconsistent. There are examples of good investigations with an increasing focus on vulnerable victims and better management of the risks they face, but, overall, the force needs to improve its approach to investigations to be confident that they are consistently undertaken to a high standard.
Gloucestershire is effective in working with partners to understand and address local community anti-social behaviour concerns. The rate of anti-social behaviour is higher than that in England and Wales, but HMIC found that the force makes good use of the full range of tactics and powers available to prevent and deal with anti-social behaviour.
Further insights on effectiveness
A reinspection of Gloucestershire Constabulary’s response to domestic abuse found that a considerable amount of time and resource had been invested to improve the response to victims and their families. The force had understood the identified risk areas and put measures in place to improve service delivery to victims, and make people safer. The crime inspection found evidence that reinforced this investment.
The crime inspection found that specialist departments had been created to protect those most at risk of harm. These included teams to investigate rape, sexual exploitation of children, domestic abuse and a major crime department to investigate homicide.
How well the force delivers value for money
Gloucestershire Constabulary will meet the financial challenge set out by the spending review. It is looking to the future so that it will be able to sustain its policing services in the face of further funding cuts.
Gloucestershire Constabulary is not only on track to meet its financial challenge set out by the spending review period, but also has plans in place to achieve further significant savings over the next two years, to March 2017.
Overall, the force understands the issues that it is facing. It is developing new structures for providing policing that will align resources to demand and ensure a focus on frontline policing and crime-fighting activities. HMIC found that the force is well managed and has a clear plan for the future.
While making savings, the force has maintained a focus on fighting crime and has achieved a higher reduction in crime over the spending review than the figure for England and Wales. In addition, overall crime levels remain lower than elsewhere.
Does the force act with integrity and provide a service the public expects?
Gloucestershire Constabulary has made some progress in the areas for improvement identified by HMIC in 2012. There is clear and active leadership from the chief officer team to reinforce integrity and embed the Code of Ethics. However, more is required to develop the understanding of relevant policies among the workforce. Staff are confident to report wrongdoing and the force responds in an effective and timely manner. However, the level of resources available to conduct proactive anti-corruption activity needs to be reviewed.
Further insights on legitimacy
The Crime Survey for England and Wales (12 months to March 2013) found that the proportion of respondents who think that the force does an excellent/good job was broadly in line with the figure across England and Wales. The same survey over the same period also found that the proportion which agrees that the force deals with local concerns was broadly in line with the figure for England and Wales. The force’s own victim satisfaction survey (12 months to June 2014) found that the proportion of victims who were satisfied with their experience was less than the figure across England and Wales.
The crime data integrity inspection found that a centralised quality assurance team reviewed every crime to establish if the victim code had been applied. A reinspection of Gloucestershire Constabulary’s approach to tackling domestic abuse found that the identification of victims, particularly vulnerable and repeat victims, had improved and there was a greater understanding of the need to safeguard victims. The force had introduced a detailed guide that clarified definitions around repeat and vulnerable people; supported by a comprehensive training programme.
As a result of the crime data integrity inspection, HMIC is concerned that a notable proportion of reports of crime are not being recorded, and this means that victims of crime are not receiving the service they should when they first report a crime. HMIC is also concerned with the accuracy of the decisions taken by the force when making no-crime decisions (cancelling a recorded crime) as too many of these are incorrect. The force needs to take action to improve, serve the victims of these crimes and provide the public with confidence in the force’s crime data.