Derbyshire 2016Read more about Derbyshire
This is HMIC’s third PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Derbyshire Constabulary. 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 constabulary is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
The extent to which the constabulary is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
The extent to which the constabulary is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is outstanding.
Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
I congratulate Derbyshire Constabulary on its excellent overall performance.
Derbyshire Constabulary is good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour, and it is one of only four forces in England and Wales to be judged outstanding in how it deals with organised crime.
It is encouraging to see how it uses innovative techniques alongside strong partnership working to disrupt organised crime groups. Investigations as a whole are generally of a good standard, and a high proportion result in offenders being brought to justice.
The force responds well to the needs of the people it serves. It works closely with partner organisations such as local councils to understand the threats its local communities face and tackle them. It also tries out innovative ways to keep people safe: it has introduced ‘digital PCSOs’, who use social media to communicate with local people and share advice with them, and call handlers now have improved computer systems that enable them to identify vulnerable victims, which means that the force can offer them effective support.
The force has a very good understanding of the current demand for its services, and matches its resources to meet these demands, which include hidden demand from types of crimes that are often under-reported, such as internet crime, human trafficking and domestic abuse. It has commissioned research to understand the scale and nature of the demand it will face in the future, and it is investing in people and processes to be able to meet these demands.
That it is able to make these investments is due in part to the savings generated by its successful collaborations with neighbouring forces and other partner organisations. I welcome the force’s willingness to challenge the way it works, both by adopting a continuous improvement approach and seeking out good ideas from within the force and externally.
I was pleased to find a genuinely ethical and value-based culture within the force. The force works hard to seek feedback from the public, including those who have less trust and confidence in the police. This enables it to maintain strong relationships with its communities and to respond to their needs.
I am impressed by the force’s excellent capability to identify and respond to police corruption. As well as using thorough vetting processes, it works closely with community groups to help them recognise and report potential corrupt activity. The force fully understands the risk of police officers abusing their authority for sexual gain (taking advantage of their position of power to exploit vulnerable victims of crime).
Officers and staff in Derbyshire told us that they believe they are treated fairly and with respect. They also said that they felt if they did have concerns, then the force would listen. It is hugely encouraging to see a force make such a commitment to the well-being and development of its workforce.
In summary, I commend the force on the service it is providing to the people of Derbyshire.
Derbyshire Constabulary provides policing services to the county of Derbyshire. Derbyshire is generally poor, although there are some areas of affluence. The force area is home to around 1 million people, who live in a predominantly rural setting. Its numerous distinct urban areas include the city of Derby and the towns of Chesterfield and Matlock. The population is increased by university students and the very large numbers who visit, socialise in, or travel through the county. The transport infrastructure includes 91 miles of motorway and trunk roads.
The proportion of areas in Derbyshire that are predicted (on the basis of detailed economic and demographic analysis) to present a very high challenge to the police is lower than 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 which 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.
Derbyshire Police works with other forces within the East Midlands and is part of a collaboration that provides policing and support services, such as major crime, special branch and serious and organised crime and forensics.
The force shares headquarters accommodation with Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service in a building featuring a combined working environment and information and communications infrastructure.
Planning is also under way for a shared training complex for the use of both services.
The force has a new partnership arrangement from September 2016 with Derbyshire County Council for vehicle fleet and buildings maintenance.
Looking ahead to 2017
In the year ahead, I will be interested to see how the force responds to this assessment and to the area for improvement that HMIC identified last year.
I will be particularly interested to see how the force’s commitment to joint working and innovation will further demonstrate its ability to meet risk with resource.
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Derbyshire Constabulary is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Our overall judgment is the same as last year, when we judged the force to be good in respect of effectiveness. From that strong base, it has made additional improvements. It is good at preventing crime, dealing with the things that matter to local communities and protecting vulnerable people. Investigations are good, but could be managed better and be more victim-orientated. The force’s approach to serious and organised crime is outstanding. It has carefully considered and tested its ability to fulfil its national policing requirements.
Derbyshire Constabulary is good at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. It understands its communities well and the threats they face. Neighbourhood staff are responsive to the things that matter to their local communities. The force achieves considerable success and has broadened its engagement across the community through the role of the digital PCSO (police community support officer), who uses social media to communicate and share advice with the public.
The force works well with partner organisations, such as local councils, to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour, but it does not use a common problem-solving model and this impairs its ability to measure its successes.
Initial investigations by the force are good and its improved computer systems mean call-handlers are better equipped to identify vulnerable victims at the earliest opportunity.
Investigations of crimes are routinely handed over between teams and we found a variable quality of handovers and supervisory reviews. However, investigations are generally of a good quality and a high proportion of them result in offenders being brought to justice. As in HMIC’s 2015 effectiveness inspection, we found occasions when PCSOs investigate crime when they are not trained to do so.
The force has a good understanding of the nature and scale of threats from crime faced by the public and the different ways in which people can be considered vulnerable. Frontline officers assess risk to an adequate standard when dealing with domestic abuse. Good progress is being made to achieve the improvements set out in the force’s domestic abuse action plan, written in response to recommendations contained in the HMIC report, Everyone’s business: Improving the police response to domestic abuse published in 2014. However, the force needs to ensure that staff understand that domestic abuse is a wider problem than physical violence alone. The force is good at working in co-operation with partner organisations to support victims of domestic abuse. Specialist staff from the police and from other agencies work together at two multi-agency safeguarding hubs (MASHs). Both hubs are operating well and improvements to the way cases are managed means that more multi-agency risk assessment conferences (MARACs) are being held across Derbyshire providing support to more victims facing the highest risk, and in greatest need, than in previous years.
Innovation and a strong partnership approach are used both to understand and to tackle serious and organised crime. When organised crime groups are identified, comprehensive analysis is carried out to understand how they operate and who is involved. The force is capable of carrying out complex investigations to disrupt organised crime groups and bring offenders to justice. It also makes good use of the specialist capabilities that are available via the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU). There is increasing emphasis on understanding how serious and organised crime affects communities and particularly those people vulnerable to exploitation. Targeted prevention activity is conducted by multi-agency teams and through excellent use of social media.
Derbyshire Constabulary has the necessary arrangements in place to fulfil its national policing responsibilities. The armed policing strategic assessment was reviewed in the wake of the terror attacks in Europe and a variety of exercises have taken place to test the force’s response to a marauding terrorist firearms attack.
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Derbyshire Constabulary has been assessed as good in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force has a comprehensive understanding of demand on its services and is making considerable effort to improve the way it works, including collaborating well with other forces and partner organisations to improve efficiency and save money. It has managed its finances successfully and has made investments as well as savings. In last year’s efficiency inspection, Derbyshire Constabulary was judged to be good.
Since HMIC’s 2015 inspection, Derbyshire Constabulary has maintained the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. It has developed a good understanding of the full range of current demand for its services, supported by analysis conducted by experts from outside the force, and has reshaped its operating model. The force has also commissioned research to gather more detail about under-reported crime and the hidden demand for police services in the community. In this way, it can make evidence-based decisions about how to allocate its resources.
The force is improving the way it matches resources to demand and is investing more resources in areas of growing demand, such as safeguarding vulnerable people and cyber-crime. It has set clear priorities that take into account current and emerging demand as well as the nature of risks facing the community and the objectives set by the police and crime plan. The force is taking into consideration that local partner organisations may not be able to continue offering the same levels of service because of budget cuts. It is making a considerable effort to improve the way it works, including completely restructuring frontline resources and introducing several ICT systems, fundamental to operational activity that will bring its capability into line with that of other forces.
Derbyshire Constabulary is committed to joint working, collaborating with neighbouring forces for counter-terrorism and serious and organised crime investigations. The force will share headquarters accommodation with the fire and rescue service in a building developed in complete cooperation, featuring a shared working environment and ICT infrastructure. This is intended to maximise the potential for working together. The force can also demonstrate that it works well with partner agencies to meet and manage demand as effectively as possible.
The force continues to manage its finances successfully, having taken early steps to meet savings requirements and build significant reserves. It uses external expertise during all major investments, with business benefits realisation and investment plans scrutinised by the OPCC and external auditors to provide assurance as to their credibility. The force’s strong financial position has allowed it to re-invest resources in areas of growing demand and highest risk. Further investments in buildings and ICT have been carefully planned using prudent assumptions about future income and costs. The force’s plans are ambitious: the joint-enterprise approach with the fire and rescue service sets the tone for how the force is prepared to be creative and pragmatic in finding new ways of working to meet future demands.
Derbyshire Constabulary, through careful financial management, is able to make both savings and investments, while working to a balanced budget. Its sustainable, affordable workforce model and a fully funded, well-planned investments programme leave the force well positioned to continue meeting public expectations in an increasingly efficient way.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Derbyshire Constabulary has been assessed as outstanding in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our findings this year are an improvement on last year’s findings, in which we judged the force to be good in respect of legitimacy.
The force has strong ethical values. It seeks feedback from the public about how they feel they have been treated by the force and it scrutinises performance information in detail to make sure the public are being treated fairly. The force has an outstanding capability to seek out, detect and react to police corruption. The workforce feel well treated and valued by the force, and able to raise concerns with senior officers.
Derbyshire Constabulary is outstanding in the way it treats the people it serves with fairness and respect. It operates using a clear, well-defined set of values that are thoroughly understood by members of the workforce, at all ranks and grades. The force’s values are in line with the Code of Ethics, and emphasise the importance of fair and respectful treatment. A genuinely ethical, values-based culture exists within the force.
The force seeks feedback from all parts of the community it serves, including those people with less trust and confidence in the police. It is increasing the range of methods used to detect issues that have the greatest impact on the public’s perceptions of fair and respectful treatment by the police. The force is fully committed to working with partner agencies to tackle hate crime and improve support to victims. It is continuing to improve its services by reacting to feedback, and now has a digital police community support officer (PCSO) to help promote faster access to police services and safety information online.
We also found that Derbyshire Constabulary is outstanding at ensuring that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. It operates thorough vetting processes, in line with the national police vetting policy, and members of the workforce know when to refer changes in their circumstances to the professional standards department (PSD). Post-employment checks are carried out and cases of vetting failure are reviewed to ensure that people with protected characteristics, such as age, disability or gender reassignment, are not affected disproportionately. The force has developed innovative covert techniques to look for and develop intelligence relating to corruption, making early recognition and intervention possible.
The force fully understands the risk of police officers abusing their authority for sexual gain (taking advantage of their position of power to exploit vulnerable victims of crime), having learned from a local case in 2012. It has a programme of awareness training to emphasise the expectations for the whole workforce if unprofessional behaviour towards victims or witnesses occurs.
Members of the workforce we met told us that they feel that they are treated with fairness and respect. They feel that they can give feedback to the force about concerns they might have and that their views will be listened to. The force has a strong commitment to the wellbeing of its workforce and provides a wide range of occupational health services, covering physical, emotional and mental health.
All staff receive an annual appraisal from their supervisor along with regular performance meetings throughout the year. We found that staff consider the assessments to be fair and that compliance is monitored by the force.
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.
Derbyshire Constabulary has a clear set of leadership principles and expectations, contained in its ‘Just Lead’ pledges, which are aimed at the whole workforce. The force is developing an understanding of leadership capability across its workforce, using a range of techniques. It has conducted a detailed analysis of leadership structures as part of a College of Policing pilot and will be considering the findings in the coming months.
The force has recently introduced a new development programme to identify potential senior leaders, which is perceived as a success by those involved. New sergeants and inspectors are well supported with formal training and external (College of Policing) programmes. Where leadership issues arise, they are dealt with promptly and effectively.
Derbyshire Constabulary looks both externally and within the force itself for good ideas. The force has taken learning from other forces in order to develop its change programme and is working with local universities on a varied range of projects. Staff across the workforce describe a working environment where innovation and suggestions for improvement are encouraged and taken seriously.
The force recognises the value of diverse leadership teams, although, like many forces, it has focused on protected characteristics such as race, gender and sexuality, rather than a wider understanding of diversity that includes personal background, skills or experience.
This section sets out the reports published by HMIC this year that help to better understand the performance of Derbyshire Constabulary.