Cleveland 2016Read more about Cleveland
This is HMIC’s third PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Cleveland Police. PEEL is designed to give the public information about how their local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year. The assessment is updated throughout the year with our inspection findings and reports.
The extent to which the force is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
The extent to which the force is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
The extent to which the force is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime requires improvement.
Michael Cunningham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
I am pleased with the progress that Cleveland Police has made since last year, and I am satisfied with most aspects of the force’s overall performance. However, there are still some areas that the force needs to improve to provide a consistently good service.
Cleveland Police now has an effective approach to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, investigating crime and supporting victims. It is also effective in tackling serious and organised crime.
The force has made considerable progress in how it deals with vulnerable victims. It has changed its structures and processes, and established its first children’s safeguarding hub, which it runs with other organisations. I recognise and commend the force’s considerable effort in achieving these improvements, but further improvements are needed to some aspects of the services that the force provides to vulnerable people.
In particular, it needs to improve its assessment of whether a child should be categorised as missing or absent to determine the most appropriate response, and it needs to improve its processes so that all domestic abuse victims receive timely referrals to other services.
I am impressed by the force’s work in developing its understanding of the demand for its services, and by the way it has used that understanding to inform the reorganisation of its resources. It has reallocated resources and changed internal processes, including introducing a new shift pattern, to align its resources more closely with its demand for services. It has also worked well with its private sector partner to improve its response to calls for service.
Cleveland Police manages its resources well and collaborates effectively with a range of public and private sector organisations. It is working with partner organisations to develop its understanding of likely future demand and has set out its strategic intent up to the year 2020, along with medium and long-term financial plans, a people strategy and a recruitment plan.
I am pleased by the improvements we have seen since our inspection last year in the workforce’s awareness and understanding of the Code of Ethics, including the importance of treating people with fairness and respect, and I was reassured by the seriousness with which the force took the abuse of authority for sexual gain (that is, taking advantage of a position of power to exploit vulnerable victims of crime). However, the force could do more to raise awareness of warning signs of misconduct and corruption. The force’s counter-corruption unit is able to investigate allegations once they have been received, but it has limited capacity and capability to look for potential corruption.
The force uses several different sources to obtain the views of the public about how they are treated. However, it does not regularly seek feedback from those with less trust and confidence in the police. The ‘everyone matters’ project team has started work to address this.
Cleveland Police has sought the views of its workforce on whether they receive fair and respectful treatment, but it could do more to tell the workforce what action has been taken to address issues they raised. The force has a new well-being strategy and is working towards gaining national accreditation for its well-being provision.
In summary, I am heartened by the progress that the force has made in providing a good service to the people of Cleveland, but there are some areas where I would like to see further improvement.
Cleveland Police provides policing services to the areas of Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Hartlepool, and Redcar and Cleveland. Cleveland has a large amount of poverty, although there are some areas of affluence. The force area is home to around 0.6 million people, who mainly live in the towns of Middlesbrough, Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees. The resident population is increased by university students and the large numbers who visit or travel through the area each year. The transport infrastructure includes 36 miles of motorway and trunk roads and sea ports.
The proportion of areas in Cleveland that are predicted (on the basis of detailed economic and demographic analysis) to present a very high challenge to the police is broadly in line with the national average. The most challenging areas are generally characterised by a high concentration of people living, working, socialising, or travelling in the area.
Features that both cause and/or indicate a concentration of people include the number of commercial premises, including licensed premises and fast-food premises, public transport, and social deprivation. In some areas, these features are combined.
In 2010, Cleveland Police entered an outsourcing agreement with a private sector company to deliver the majority of the force’s back office functions. The force also has an outsourcing arrangement with a private sector company for the provision of custody services and the management of some of its police stations.
Specialist services such as armed response, roads policing, traffic management and police dogs are provided in collaboration with Durham Constabulary through the Cleveland and Durham specialist operations unit.
The force is part of a longstanding collaborative arrangement with Durham Constabulary and North Yorkshire Police, operating as ‘Evolve’.
Looking ahead to 2017
In the year ahead, I will be interested to see how Cleveland Police responds to this assessment and to the areas for improvement that HMIC identified last year.
I will be particularly interested to see:
- how the work of the children’s safeguarding hub develops in assisting the force and its partner organisations to protect children better, and how this approach is extended to vulnerable adults; and
- how the force improves its approach to treating the public and its workforce with fairness and respect.
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Cleveland Police is good in respect of its effectiveness at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Our overall judgment this year is an improvement on last year, when we judged the force to require improvement in respect of its overall effectiveness. The force has made good progress since HMIC’s 2015 effectiveness and vulnerability inspections. Cleveland Police now has an effective approach to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, investigating crime and supporting victims. It is also effective in tackling serious and organised crime, although the force needs to improve further the service it provides to vulnerable people.
Cleveland Police has made good progress since HMIC’s 2015 effectiveness and vulnerability inspections. In 2015, we judged that the force did not have the skills or abilities to deal with the breadth of change required. Now, two recommendations arising from our cause of concern have been addressed, as have seven of the nine areas for improvement.
The force is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. It has made considerable improvements to how it polices neighbourhoods. It has a good understanding of those threats and risks that pose the greatest harm to local communities, while recognising the limitations of its formal engagement structure.
Cleveland Police has made considerable progress in its initial identification of and response to vulnerable victims. In addition to changing its internal force structures and processes, it has, working with other organisations, established its first children’s safeguarding hub. This is a positive step. HMIC will continue to monitor this with interest.
The force responds to and safeguards vulnerable victims well in most cases. Although the force is able to identify repeat victims through its systems, its ability to draw on this data to inform its overall planning continues to develop. The force has made considerable progress in the way in which it responds to and investigates missing children, although we found that the force’s response to some children who are reported as absent could be improved.
Cleveland Police investigates crime well in most cases, particularly those cases involving vulnerable victims. The force has a good understanding of the risk and threat posed by serious and organised crime, and continues to tackle it effectively. It has effective arrangements to ensure that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities.
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Cleveland Police has been assessed as good in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
Cleveland Police has a good understanding of the demand for its services and is developing its understanding of less obvious and hidden demand along with the inefficiencies that lead to additional demand for the force.
In HMIC’s PEEL inspection 2015, we found that the force needed to gain a fuller understanding of the demand for its services. It did not respond to all incidents within the required timescale, and it was therefore unable to match its resources to meet all its calls for service. HMIC is impressed with the emphasis the force has placed on improving its understanding of demand and its response to calls for service, and the positive impact this has had on the service it is now able to provide to its communities. This improvement has been informed by a review of its services, a change in its internal processes, reallocation of resources and the introduction of a new shift pattern, all of which align resources more closely with demand. It has also worked well with its private sector partner to improve its response to calls for service through significant changes to its call-handling and despatch capability and capacity.
We found that the force is managing its resources well and collaborates with other blue light services, local authorities and private sector firms. The force has reviewed its contracts with private sector providers in the context of a changing financial position, and has considered the cost of services in relation to the value added for victims and communities.
The force is working with partners to develop its understanding of likely future demand and has set out its strategic intent up to the year 2020. The force has medium and long-term financial plans in place as well as a people strategy and a recruitment plan. The force has made realistic and prudent assumptions about future income and costs, and has considered risks and contingencies.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Cleveland Police has been assessed as requiring improvement in respect of how legitimate it is in keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force needs to improve the ways it seeks feedback on issues of fairness and respect from the people it serves, how it ensures its workforce acts ethically and how it treats its workforce with fairness and respect.
Cleveland Police has shown improvement since our 2015 PEEL inspections in respect of the workforce’s awareness and understanding of the Code of Ethics, including the importance of treating all of the people it serves with fairness and respect.
The force uses several sources to obtain the views of the public about how they are treated, but it does not bring this together with other management information to create a comprehensive picture of issues associated with fair and respectful treatment. This is particularly the case in relation to those with less trust and confidence in the police. However, the force has established the ‘everyone matters’ project, which aims to address this problem. As part of the project, the force provides sessions for officers and staff on cultural awareness and training about ‘words that hurt’ which raises awareness of language that may offend people.
Cleveland Police creates an ethical culture by vetting its new recruits according to national standards and by making the workforce aware of the standards of behaviour expected of them and of the policies they are required to adhere to. The force’s counter-corruption unit is able to investigate information once reported, but it does not have the capacity and capability to look for potential corruption. The workforce is aware of the seriousness of abuse of authority for sexual gain and reports of suspicious behaviour are investigated. However, the force could do more to raise awareness of warning signs among the workforce.
Both the public and the workforce are informed of the outcomes from misconduct investigations, and misconduct hearings are publicised.
Cleveland Police uses a number of techniques to seek feedback relating to the fair and respectful treatment of its workforce, including surveys and exit interviews. It could improve the way it communicates action taken in response to workforce feedback, as some of the staff we spoke to were not aware of what action had been taken as a result of the staff survey.
The force has a new wellbeing strategy and is working towards gaining national accreditation for its wellbeing provision, although as HMIC raised this issue last year, we had hoped to see more progress in this area.
The force has recently introduced a new performance assessment process that is yet to be adopted fully across the force. There is currently no supervision of the system and it is not clearly linked to continuous professional development or performance processes.
How well has the force performed in our other inspections?
In addition to the three core PEEL pillars, HMICFRS carries out inspections of a wide range of policing activity throughout the year. Some of these are conducted alongside the PEEL inspections; others are joint inspections.
Findings from these inspections are published separately to the main PEEL reports, but are taken into account when producing the rounded assessment of each force's performance.
Police leadership is crucial in enabling a force to be effective, efficient and legitimate. This inspection focused on how a force understands, develops and displays leadership through its organisational development.
Cleveland Police is at an early stage in understanding and developing leadership in the force. It is currently reviewing its leadership model, after which it intends to implement a leadership programme, including training and continuous professional development. Cleveland Police is also introducing a new performance appraisal system which should help it to understand the leadership skills and gaps across its workforce. This is all welcome, as our inspection found little awareness among officers and staff of the force’s leadership expectations. We also consider that the force needs to do more to identify and develop the leadership strengths of individual officers and members of staff.
The force does not currently have a systematic or formal mechanism by which it can recognise and develop talent. It has used recruitment to build capacity and capability, including leadership and other specific skills. However, it continues to retain a number of officers on temporary promotion, who were not successful in their promotion applications.
The force has demonstrated that it seeks out new ideas, approaches and working practices to improve performance including working with other forces and academic institutions. It also encourages innovation from its workforce as well as engaging with the workforce in designing and implementing change. The force is taking steps to increase the diversity of its workforce through recruitment, but has not as yet achieved its aims. It is therefore trying to improve the way those processes are conducted and to provide better information and support to candidates. This reflects the aims of the force’s ‘Everyone Matters’ project, which works to improve the organisation’s leadership and culture. This includes the expectation that all leaders will promote a culture that is inclusive and supportive for officers, staff and the communities they serve and recognises, respects and values people’s differences.
This section sets out the reports published by HMIC this year that help to better understand the performance of Cleveland Police.