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The force says...

Leicestershire Police covers 979 square miles with a mixture of urban and rural landscape which has seen a population increase since 2001 of 13% to 1,017,697. A diverse ethnic population of 219,993 makes up 21.6% of the current population and represents an increase of 39.4% over the last decade. There are 130 languages and/or dialects spoken in the city of Leicester.

Since 2010, the force has delivered £36.11m in savings and has seen a decrease of 362 police officers, 18 police staff reflecting a programme of modernisation e.g. police staff investigator roles, and an increase in 1 Police Community Support Officer. The proportion of police officers in frontline roles has risen from 91 percent to 93 percent since 2010.
Unemployment in the city of Leicester (7.7%) is higher than the East Midlands region (5.0%) and national average (5.7%), while the county (5.7%) is on par with the national figure.

The End Child Poverty campaign stated in 2014 that 26,500 or 40% of children in the city were classed as living in poverty, placing Leicester city ninth nationally. The city council set up a Child Poverty Commission in 2011 to address child poverty.

During the last decade there has been a reduction of 35.9% in overall recorded crime. However, there have been significant increases in areas that present a high risk of harm to the vulnerable as the following changes illustrate:

  • 86% increase in rapes reported, from 234 in 2011/12 to 436 in 2014/15;
  • Approximately 925 referrals to the Children’s Desk a month, averaging 10,500 per year;
  • A 38% increase in child abuse investigations; and
  • A 260% increase in Child Exploitation Online Protection (CEOP) referrals over the last year alone.

An average of 320 missing person reports per month which is an increase of 60%. This is compounded by a 35% increase in high risk missing person cases.

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

HMIC says...

Leicestershire Police provides policing services to the counties of Leicestershire and Rutland. The police force area covers 980 square miles in the east midlands of England. Although there are some more affluent areas, Leicestershire has a high level of poverty. Around 1 million people mainly live in the urban centres which include the city of Leicester and the towns of Loughborough, Market Harborough and Melton Mowbray. The resident population is ethnically diverse, with 22 percent from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, and is increased by the very large number of university students and those who visit, socialise in, or travel through the county. The transport infrastructure includes rail stations and an airport.

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 3,170 OAs in Leicestershire with an average size of 80 hectares which is smaller than the national average of 87 hectares. While the majority (61 percent) of OAs in Leicestershire are relatively small at under 10 hectares, a smaller proportion (13 percent) are extremely large in size (over 100 hectares) indicating the mixture of urban and rural localities. The smallest OAs are concentrated in Leicester 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. Leicestershire has a median house price of £174,709 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 83 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 Leicestershire, one percent of the OAs accounts for 14 percent of the predicted demands for police services – this is one 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 Leicestershire:

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

As an indication of the challenge for the police to reach citizens in all parts of Leicestershire we calculated the average travel time and distance from the central point of the force area to the centre of each of the 3,170 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.

Leicestershire has 184 miles of motorways and trunk roads; the average travel distance of 7 miles (longest 39 miles and shortest 0.2 miles) and the average travel time of 16 minutes are lower than the respective national averages of 17 miles and 30 minutes. This demonstrates the size and complexity of Leicestershire 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 Leicestershire 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.