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The force says...

Derbyshire is an economically, culturally and ethnically diverse county, with a population over 1 million where 8% are from a black and minority ethnic background. The county ranges from the vibrant city of Derby to former mining communities and the moorlands of the Peak District National Park that attracts 10 million visitors each year.

Derby is a manufacturing base for worldwide brands and a centre for technology and innovation that attracts higher education establishments increasing the local population with 35,000 students.

In 2014/15 the force dealt with 313,496 incidents resulting in 51,687 crimes – a 1.6% fall on the previous year, against a 2.1% rise nationally. Recorded crime in Derbyshire has reduced by 50% over the last ten years.

Policing is changing, becoming more complex, with threats from fraud, cyber-crime and the exploitation of children. Protecting the vulnerable is a key aim and includes those suffering domestic abuse with reports continuing to increase (19,884 domestic incidents in 2014/15).

Given the heightened sense of concern regarding terrorism the force also considers this a priority area. To deliver the police and crime commissioner’s priorities and provide a high quality policing service the force works closely with partner agencies and collaborates with other regional forces. We are committed to local policing through neighbourhood policing teams and strong community safety partnerships.

In the last six years, the force has lost 326 police officer and 336 staff posts and employs 1,827 police officers and 1,294 staff. The force spends £164 per head of population, which is £16 below the national average. We remain an efficient force whilst achieving good levels of victim satisfaction with 83% of those surveyed satisfied with the service received. Getting it right for the victim remains a high priority and victim feedback is used to drive improved service to the public.

Disclaimer: the above statement has been prepared by Derbyshire Constabulary. The views and information in it are not necessarily those of HMICFRS.

HMIC says...

Derbyshire Constabulary provides policing services to the county of Derbyshire. The police force area covers 1,013 square miles in the east midlands of England. Although there are some areas of affluence, Derbyshire is generally poor. Around one million people live in a predominantly rural setting. Its numerous distinct urban areas include the city of Derby and the towns of Chesterfield and Matlock. The population is increased by university students and the very large numbers who visit, socialise in, or travel through the county.

England and Wales is made up of over 181,000 small areas known as census output areas (OAs). These have been defined by the Office for National Statistics to group together people with similar characteristics and to include, on average, 125 households. The size of the geographical area covered by each OA varies according to the population density in different parts of the country. The largest OA in England and Wales covers 20,166 hectares, and the smallest less than 0.02 hectares. A football pitch is approximately 0.75 of a hectare.

There are 3,348 OAs in Derbyshire with an average size of 78 hectares which is smaller than the national average of 87 hectares. While the majority (56 percent) of OAs in Derbyshire are relatively small at under 10 hectares, a smaller proportion (12 percent) are extremely large in size (over 100 hectares) indicating the mixture of urban and rural localities. The smallest OAs are concentrated in Derby, Chesterfield and the numerous small towns with the largest spread across the more sparsely populated rural areas.

The advantage of analysis at output area level is that it supports a people-centred approach. Differences in the socio-economic characteristics of people who live in different OAs lead to different behaviours, including the use of public services. These differences are reflected in the information that is collected in large data sets such as the census, the Ordnance Survey (OS) point of interest data and other quasi-economic sources that have been used in this analysis.

HMIC has been working with the London School of Economics to use econometric techniques to statistically model and predict the level of reactive demands for police services in each OA in England and Wales. Using police incident data and several thousand characteristics (variables) drawn from the census data, OS point of interest data and other smaller data sets for each OA, it has been possible to predict the number of incidents for each OA and determine how challenging each OA is likely to be to police. We have also used the house prices from the Land Registry as a proxy indicator of wealth. Derbyshire has a median house price of £147,899 which is lower than the median of England and Wales (£254,549). Excluding the least expensive ten percent and the most expensive ten percent of house prices, there is an 84 percent difference between low and high prices within the force area, suggesting that there are both areas of affluence and poverty.

The predicted number of incidents for each OA varies considerably. In Derbyshire, one percent of the OAs accounts for 12 percent of the predicted demands for police services – this is 2.4 percent of the total force area.

A concentration of predicted demands in a small number of OAs is a feature of every police force. We have designated these OAs (approximately 1,800 throughout England and Wales) as a very high challenge to police. These areas of very high challenge are characterised by social deprivation or a concentration of commercial premises (including licensed premises), and in some cases both.

Within Derbyshire:

  • the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of crime is broadly in line with the national level of one percent;
  • the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of anti-social behaviour is higher than the national level of one percent; and
  • the proportion of OAs that are very high challenge to police for the predicted level of emergency and priority calls for assistance is broadly in line with the national level of one percent.

As an indication of the challenge for the police to reach citizens in all parts of Derbyshire we calculated the average travel time and distance from the central point of the force area to the centre of each of the 1,013 OAs. These calculations of distance and time are based on using the road network under normal driving conditions and speeds, and indicate the size of the area and the quality of its road network.

Derbyshire has 146 miles of motorways and trunk roads; the average travel distance of 16 miles (longest 47 miles and shortest 0.4 miles) and the average travel time of 28 minutes are lower than the respective national averages of 17 miles and 30 minutes. This demonstrates the size, variety and complexity of Derbyshire.

While the concentration of demands in a small number of locations (covering a very small area) may be helpful in focusing resources, it is not the totality of demand. The provision of services extends beyond those areas that are a very high challenge to police and includes the least challenging and most remote areas. The challenge of providing services throughout Derbyshire is a function of many things including the size and topography of the area, the road network and how congested the roads are. These considerations influence how police resources are organised and managed – for example, where police officers are based and their working patterns.