More about this area

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The force says...

The Northumbria Police area includes two cities, three heavily populated urban areas and extensive rural landscapes, and includes areas amongst the most deprived in the country and high levels of unemployment.

There are an estimated 623,061 households and a population of approximately 1.4 million, with 5.43% of the population from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

The area has three universities, with approximately 66,000 students, many large retail areas and leisure facilities, and a vibrant night-time economy. During the summer months there are approximately three million visitors.

Last year, the force received 841,172 calls for service. Officers dealt with 436,819 incidents and investigated 72,881 crimes, with action taken against a suspect in 41.3% of crimes.

There are new crime types emerging and increased reporting of existing crimes. Offences, such as rape, child sexual exploitation and cyber-crime, are increasing. However, the demand on policing is far wider than recorded crime.

There are significant challenges in safeguarding vulnerable victims and other persons at risk of harm, and this creates a consistent demand upon resources. The aim, often with partner agencies, is the prevention of crime. The force is committed to protecting the vulnerable, ensuring that victims have confidence that the police will listen and take action to support them, minimising harm to communities and vigorously pursuing perpetrators.

The chief constable and police and crime commissioner are Proud to Protect communities by tackling criminality, dealing with anti-social behaviour, being victim-focused, and delivering the highest quality of service. Victim satisfaction is high.

The budget for 2015/16 is £269 million. Since 2010/11 we have achieved savings of £108.1 million with further savings of £24.3 million planned over the next two years to 2017/18.
There are 3,381 police officers, 1,459 police staff and 191 police community support officers, who are supported by volunteers including special constables and police cadets.

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

HMIC says...

Northumbria Police provides policing services to the counties of Northumberland and Tyne and Wear. The police force area covers 2,144 square miles with approximately 140 miles of coastline in the north east England. Although there are some affluent areas, Northumbria has a high level of poverty. Around 1.4 million people mainly live in the urban centres which include the cities of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Sunderland, as well as a number of smaller towns on the coast. The resident population is increased by university students and the large numbers who visit, socialise in, or travel through the area each year. The transport infrastructure includes major rail stations and air and sea ports.

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 4,879 OAs in Northumbria with an average size of 114 hectares which is bigger than the national average of 87 hectares. While the majority (71 percent) of OAs in Northumbria are relatively small at under 10 hectares, a smaller proportion (six percent) are extremely large in size (over 100 hectares) indicating the mixture of urban and rural localities. The smallest OAs are concentrated in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Sunderland 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. Northumbria has a median house price of £129,539 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 87 percent difference between low and high prices within the force area, suggesting that there are areas of affluence as well as poverty.

The predicted number of incidents for each OA varies considerably. In Northumbria, one percent of the OAs accounts for 15 percent of the predicted demands for police services – this is 0.6 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 Northumbria:

  • 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 Northumbria we calculated the average travel time and distance from the central point of the force area to the centre of each of the 4,879 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.

Northumbria has 519 miles of motorways and trunk roads; the average travel distance of 9 miles (longest 67 miles and shortest 0.1 miles) and the average travel time of 18 minutes are lower than the respective national averages of 17 miles and 30 minutes. This demonstrates the size and complexity of Northumbria 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 Northumbria 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.