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The force says...

Gloucestershire is a rural county covering 1,041 square miles. Its population of 605,000 is older than average, with concentrations in Gloucester and Cheltenham. Greatest ethnic diversity is in Gloucester (10%). Eight neighbourhoods are amongst the most deprived nationally. A third of residents have limited access to transport.

The county houses royal residencies, the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps and GCHQ. These increase potential physical and cyber security threats and require the force to retain additional firearms capability.

The National Hunt Festival and Royal International Air Tattoo attract over 370,000 visitors to the county. It is a pilot site for annual badger culls which attract national protests. These events require mobilisation of significant local policing resources.

Gloucester City has rejuvenated commercial quays, an urban night-time economy and fast-growing ICT and finance sectors. There are 3,300 miles of roads, incorporating the M5 corridor. The workforce is skilled and entrepreneurial with high self-employment and start-up rates. Student population exceeds 13,000.

Crime rates are low, with long-term reductions (18% 2010-2015). There are approximately 50,000 incidents annually, the most frequent being concerns for public safety and anti-social behaviour. There are increasing demands for public protection and cyber policing. There have been 16 homicides over 2014-15.

The annual budget for 2015/16 is £105m. Since 2011, the force has identified £30m savings to balance the budget including significant officer and staff reductions.

A new operating model structure includes local neighbourhood, response and investigation teams enabled with frontline mobile working. The headquarters campus houses a single custody suite and investigations hub, which includes a digital investigations unit.

Specialist functions – roads policing, major and organised crime capabilities – are delivered collaboratively with South West forces.

The constabulary works in partnership to tackle gang violence, anti-social behaviour, and safeguard vulnerable people through Avenger Taskforce, Project Solace, and a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub.

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

HMIC says...

Gloucestershire Constabulary provides policing services to the county of Gloucestershire. The police force area covers 1,024 square miles in the south west of England. Although there are some areas of deprivation, Gloucestershire is generally affluent. Around 0.6 million people live in a predominantly rural setting. Its urban areas include the city of Gloucester, and the towns of Cheltenham, Tewskesbury and Cirencester. The resident population is increased by university students and the large numbers who visit or travel through the county each year.

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 2,835 OAs in Gloucestershire with an average size of 133 hectares which is bigger than the national average of 87 hectares. While the majority (51 percent) of OAs in Gloucestershire are relatively small at under 10 hectares, a sizable proportion (19 percent) are extremely large in size (over 100 hectares) indicating the mixture of urban and rural localities. The smallest OAs are concentrated in Gloucester, Cheltenham and smaller 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. Gloucestershire has a median house price of £217,224 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 a 92 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 Gloucestershire, one percent of the OAs accounts for 14 percent of the predicted demands for police services – this is 0.5 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 Gloucestershire:

  • the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of crime is lower than 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 lower 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 lower than the national level of one percent.

As an indication of the challenge for the police to reach citizens in all parts of Gloucestershire we calculated the average travel time and distance from the central point of the force area to the centre of each of the 2,835 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.

Gloucestershire has 129 miles of motorways and trunk roads; the average travel distance of 10 miles (longest 44 miles and shortest 0.1 miles) and the average travel time of 20 minutes are lower higher than the respective national averages of 17 miles and 30 minutes. This demonstrates the size of Gloucestershire and the nature of its roads.

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 Gloucestershire 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.