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The force says...

Staffordshire police force area covers 1,000 square miles. The geography is varied ranging from the sparsely populated area of Staffordshire Moorlands to urban areas such as the city of Stoke-on-Trent (accounting for 22.6% of the population) and the towns of Tamworth, Cannock and Burton-upon-Trent. Staffordshire has a population of 1,111,192; a rise of 5.8% compared with 10 years ago, with 6% from a black, Asian and minority ethnic background.

The force has eleven local policing teams which are coterminous with local authority boundaries and key specialist staff within its investigative, operational, and justice services departments. Staffordshire Police works closely with emergency services, local authorities, criminal justice and health service partners to safeguard people and communities.

For the 12 months to the end of September 2015 recorded crime has risen by 7.9%. These rises have predominately been attributable to violence, and sexual crimes which relate to both recent and historic offences. Both of these crime types have also seen a national increase. The force has proactively encouraged increased reporting in these areas and is confident that victims have increased confidence in reporting to the police. Established and robust crime recording practices are in place to ensure that crimes are recorded accurately and resources are allocated appropriately to investigations at an early stage. Vulnerability is a priority and the force is proactively looking at how it deals with areas such as domestic abuse, gang related violence and incidents of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

The workforce has reduced by 18% since 2010 and the operating budget is some £32 million less for the same period. The force demonstrates robust financial management with a balanced budget for 2015/16. Together with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, the force has embarked on an ambitious change programme that will transform all aspects of the organisation over the next few years.

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

HMIC says...

Staffordshire Police provides policing services to the county of Staffordshire. The police force area covers 1,048 square miles in the midland of England. Although there are some more affluent areas, Staffordshire has a high level of poverty. Around 1.1 million people mainly live within the urban centres which include the city of Stoke-on-Trent and the towns of Burton-upon-Trent and Stafford. 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.

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 3,610 OAs in Staffordshire with an average size of 75 hectares which is smaller than the national average of 87 hectares. While the majority (59 percent) of OAs in Staffordshire are relatively small at under 10 hectares, a smaller proportion (10 percent) are extremely large in size (over 100 hectares) indicating the mixture of urban and rural localities. The smallest OAs are concentrated in Stoke-on-Trent and the numerous towns of Staffordshire 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. Staffordshire has a median house price of £155,979 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 99 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 Staffordshire, one percent of the OAs accounts for 15 percent of the predicted demands for police services – this is 0.8 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 Staffordshire:

  • 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 broadly in line with 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 Staffordshire we calculated the average travel time and distance from the central point of the force area to the centre of each of the 3,610 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.

Staffordshire has 129 miles of motorways and trunk roads; the average travel distance of 18 miles (longest 36 miles and shortest 0.1 miles) is in line with the national average of 17 miles but the average travel time of 35 minutes is higher than the national average of 30 minutes. This demonstrates the size of Staffordshire 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 Staffordshire 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.