Greater Manchester 2014Read more about Greater Manchester
This is the first PEEL Assessment of Greater Manchester Police. 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. Although I have some specific concerns about its approach to domestic abuse, there have been notable improvements 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.
Michael Cunningham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
In making this first PEEL Assessment of Greater Manchester I have taken into account the challenges to policing in this area.
The population of Greater Manchester is swelled by a large number of students, as well as a large amount of people commuting into the area on a daily basis. A large element of Greater Manchester’s policing services is concerned with protecting people from serious harm, including sex offences, child sexual exploitation and organised crime.
I have been encouraged that partnership working, early intervention, and the management of offenders are strengths for the force. The force is aiming to develop a consistent model and approach to reduce crime and prevent offending, and is changing to a fully-integrated neighbourhood-based way of working to engage with communities.
The force understands its demands and uses this information to make decisions on how resources are, or will be, allocated. Its continuous evaluation of harm, opportunity and threat on all levels is a strength.
The force has made a long-term commitment to work in a much closer and more integrated way with partners as part of ‘Programme Challenger’. This will be as part of a co-ordinated multi-agency response to tackle complex serious organised criminality, safeguard people and address complex dependency, with a focus on reducing demand for all public service partners in the long term. I regard this approach as innovative.
The force has made excellent progress in challenging financial circumstances. It is achieving the required savings today and has innovative plans to manage future austerity with public sector partners to achieve the savings required.
I do have concerns about how the force investigates offending, and in particular, the inconsistencies that exist in the supervision of investigations and in investigation plans.
As reported earlier in 2014, HMIC has concerns about the force’s response to victims of domestic abuse. The domestic abuse inspection found significant concerns about the ability of Greater Manchester to deal consistently and appropriately with victims of domestic abuse, and found serious weaknesses in the processes and systems in place to manage the risk to victims. The reinspection in this area, which will be published shortly, recognises the progress that the force has subsequently made.
I was concerned by some of the findings of the police integrity and corruption inspection that found there was a need to develop training, check understanding and ensure unprofessional behaviour is challenged by all members of the force.
I also have serious 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.
In common with other forces, there is a need to develop a better understanding of the changing demands for police services.
Over the past 12 months, there have been a number of inspections made of Greater Manchester that have suggested a number of recurrent issues, particularly in relation to limited training provision across the force for staff in some frontline policing roles. However, I recognise training for staff on identifying vulnerability and safeguarding domestic abuse victims has been prioritised.
I am interested to see how the force responds to the areas HMIC has identified for improvement over the next 12 months. In particular:
- addressing the recommendations from the crime data integrity inspection report; and
- how the force will manage to reduce demand for service as it further develops how its core policing services will be delivered.
How well the force tackles crime
Greater Manchester Police is good at reducing crime and preventing offending. The force requires improvement in investigating crime. It is good at tackling anti-social behaviour.
Greater Manchester’s effectiveness varies in its efforts to cut crime. Over the last four years recorded crime and victim-based crime both reduced more than across England and Wales as a whole. However, over the last twelve months, recorded crime has increased. Victim satisfaction is broadly in line with the England and Wales level. Partnership working, early intervention, and the management of offenders are strengths for the force.
The force is aiming to develop a consistent model and approach to reducing crime and preventing offending within its long-term change programme; this is a challenge, and the consistency of the service provided to the public in the short and medium term is not guaranteed. The force is taking a wider perspective on performance issues, which retains a focus on serious acquisitive crime while increasing the emphasis on safeguarding and vulnerability. Although there is a general understanding that safeguarding the victim is paramount, this change of focus is understood to varying degrees across the force.
The force is changing to a fully-integrated neighbourhood-based way of working to engage with communities and ensure credibility and legitimacy, and is working with partners on early intervention. This is a ten year transformation programme, taking it into 2020. The final step is to have a localised service – local policing for local people driven by local needs. The force knows it has some way to go before this is achieved fully.
In July 2014, HMIC reported that Greater Manchester understands the issues facing it, has an understanding of demand, and has a well-managed change programme in place. In September 2014, our interim assessment of how well the force cuts crime was carried out in the context of this long-term change process and its impact on how the force is able to deal with victims and cut crime.
Further insights on effectiveness
The domestic abuse inspection found significant concerns about the ability of Greater Manchester to deal consistently and appropriately with victims of domestic abuse and found serious weaknesses in staff’s understanding of their role and in the processes and systems in place to manage the risk to victims and keep them safe. The crime inspection and a follow-up inspection on domestic abuse found evidence that Greater Manchester Police had put in place a comprehensive response to previous concerns raised by HMIC, and early indications suggested that these changes were having a positive effect.
The crime inspection found that the top tier of organised crime groups was being managed centrally; however there is no force-wide consistent process for managing organised crime groups at lower tiers across the area.
The Strategic Policing Requirement inspection found that Greater Manchester 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 well the force delivers value for money
Greater Manchester Police has made excellent progress in challenging financial circumstances and has innovative plans to manage future austerity with public sector partners.
Greater Manchester is on track to meet its financial challenge of the spending review period and also for the year beyond, 2015/16. Importantly, the force is also looking beyond this period and is planning now for further funding reductions and financial pressures in the future.
Overall, the force understands the issues facing it, has an understanding of demand, and has a well-managed change programme in place. The plans for public sector reform are well developed, innovative and ambitious.
Greater Manchester is achieving the required savings today, and has plans in place for achieving the savings for the future.
Does the force act with integrity and provide a service the public expects?
There is positive leadership from the chief officer team, and effective communication regarding standards and integrity which is understood by staff. There is a need to develop training, check understanding and ensure unprofessional behaviour is challenged by all members of the force. The force monitors its systems effectively and investigates misconduct robustly, but there is more scope for preventative checks to identify potentially corrupt behaviour.
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 of those that agree the force deals with local concerns was broadly in line with that for England and Wales. The force’s own victim satisfaction survey (12 months to June 2014) found that the proportion of victims that were satisfied with their experience was broadly in line with the figure across England and Wales.
The crime data integrity inspection found that operators answering calls from the public were inconsistent. The domestic abuse inspection found that there was a lack of clarity over the definitions of repeat and vulnerable victims and how this might affect the priority given to the response. This meant that officers may have been attending an incident without knowing the full history, and this may have led them to assess inaccurately the risk faced by the victim.
As a result of the crime data integrity inspection, HMIC is seriously 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.