Greater Manchester 2016Read more about Greater Manchester
This is HMIC’s third PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Greater Manchester 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 is good.
Michael Cunningham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
I am pleased with the overall performance of Greater Manchester Police. However, the force still needs to improve some aspects of its service.
Greater Manchester Police is good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour. The force has strengthened its commitment to neighbourhood policing through its new operating model.
It uses information from across the force and from other local partners to understand the threats to the people of Greater Manchester.
The force is outstanding in tackling serious and organised crime. Frontline staff have a comprehensive understanding of their role in disrupting crime groups. Partnership arrangements are very well developed, and there is a clear commitment to working together to target those who cause the greatest harm.
Since our inspection in 2014, the force has made some efforts to improve the accuracy with which it records crime, but there is much more to do. In particular, I remain very concerned about the time it takes for officers to attend reports of crime. I am also concerned about the supervision of crime recording and inaccuracies in initial crime-recording decisions – failures that are linked to the limitations of the force’s computer systems.
There are some areas of good practice in the force’s approach to supporting vulnerable victims: it is effective in identifying at an early stage those who may be vulnerable and makes good use of legislation to place restrictions on perpetrators. However, there are sometimes unacceptable delays in attending incidents and in referring vulnerable victims to the services provided by other organisations.
I am reassured that the force allocates crimes for investigation appropriately, and that, in the main, officers assigned to cases possess the required level of skills. The call handlers in the control room assess risk correctly and generally gather enough information to help with the early stages of investigation. However, after the initial gathering of evidence by the first attending officer, the handover to another investigator is limited and often not supervised to an acceptable standard.
Serious crimes are investigated to a very high standard and the force works well with other agencies to identify, investigate and bring repeat and dangerous offenders to justice, and to reduce reoffending.
Greater Manchester Police has worked with the London School of Economics to develop a very good understanding of the current demands for its services. It is applying the same rigour in developing its understanding of new and emerging demands for its services. The force has assessed how its own plans might be affected by changes in the resourcing of partner organisations. The force uses its resources well.
It has undertaken a number of reviews that have shaped its operating model. The force has continued to make savings, which it is using to fund investments that include new technology for frontline staff.
I am reassured that Greater Manchester Police treats the people it serves and its own workforce with fairness and respect. The force uses a variety of methods to seek feedback from the public and to increase the participation of local people. The chief officer group actively encourages direct contact and challenge from staff, and there have been notable improvements over the last year in well-being arrangements for the workforce.
In summary, I am pleased that, faced with the challenges of keeping a major conurbation safe, the force has maintained a good overall level of performance since my previous assessment, but there are some areas where I would like to see improvement.
Greater Manchester Police provides policing services to the metropolitan area of Greater Manchester. Greater Manchester has a high level of poverty, although there are areas of great affluence. The force area is home to around 2.8 million people, who live in an urban setting. This major conurbation includes Manchester and Salford, as well as the large surrounding towns.
The resident population is ethnically diverse, with 16 percent from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, and is increased by very large numbers of university students and of those who visit, socialise in, commute into, or travel through the region. The transport infrastructure includes 115 miles of motorway and trunk roads, major rail stations and a major airport.
The proportion of areas in Greater Manchester that are predicted (on the basis of detailed economic and demographic analysis) to present a very high challenge to the police is very high compared to 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.
Greater Manchester Police works closely with public sector partner organisations across Greater Manchester as part of a joint approach to public service reform. This approach has led to the force and its partners developing ‘place-based working’, which enables agencies to exchange information, pool their resources and work together to solve problems and intervene at an earlier stage.
Looking ahead to 2017
In the year ahead, I will be interested to see how Greater Manchester 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 force continues to improve its services to vulnerable people;
- how the force improves the standard and supervision of its investigations; and
- how the force improves its approach to recording crime.
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Greater Manchester Police 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. The force is committed to neighbourhood policing and its approach to tackling serious and organised crime is outstanding. The force has the necessary arrangements in place to ensure that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities. However, improvements are still needed in the standard of investigation and supervision. While addressing vulnerability remains its greatest priority, limitations at initial response can leave victims vulnerable to further harm.
Greater Manchester Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force is committed to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, and to making a difference for communities. The force introduced a new way of working which enhances its neighbourhood policing, and that continues to be the link between the community and the police. However, problem solving is inconsistent with some limitations as to how the force assesses what actually works.
When a crime occurs the force’s investigations vary. Serious crime is investigated to a high standard; however, this is not the case for other crime types. The force works well with other agencies to identify, investigate and bring to justice repeat and dangerous offenders and to reduce re-offending.
Greater Manchester Police is effective in identifying at an early stage those victims who may be vulnerable. It generally investigates crimes against vulnerable victims to an acceptable standard. However, on occasions, because of some flaws in the deployment process, vulnerable people wait an unacceptably long time for police attendance. On a more positive note, the force supports victims of domestic abuse and uses legislation well to place restrictions on perpetrators.
Greater Manchester Police has made positive steps to address the areas for improvement identified in HMIC’s 2015 effectiveness report. The force has a greater understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime. Neighbourhood officers understand their role in tackling organised crime and actively participate in disrupting crime groups. Co-ordinated work with partner organisations, such as children’s services, youth services and prisons, is of an exceptionally high standard. With this, there is a concerted effort to prevent people from being drawn into organised crime and to enhance the force’s lifetime offender management capability.
The force has appropriate arrangements in place to ensure that it can respond to national threats.
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Greater Manchester Police has been assessed as good in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
Greater Manchester Police has a very good understanding of the current demand for its services as a result of its work with the London School of Economics to understand the totality of the current demand it faces. The force is developing an understanding of potential future demand and is seeking to apply the same academic rigour to its understanding of new and emerging issues. It is conscious of the need to reduce inefficiencies and the unnecessary demand these create and has a systematic approach to streamlining systems and processes, for example the introduction of local resolution officers to reduce the number of incidents to which resources are deployed, although this lacked consistency across the force. Public services across Greater Manchester are committed to the concept of public service reform, through which the force has gained a detailed understanding of partner resources and how plans might be affected by future changes, including funding reductions in other agencies.
The force is also good in the way that it sets priorities and manages both its current use of resources and change. It has undertaken a range of significant reviews which have shaped its target operating model – how the force should be structured to remain viable and fit for purpose through to 2020 – and its local policing model. This was piloted and evaluated before being implemented in the wider force area and has led to closer integration of response, neighbourhood and investigative resources at a local level. The force has some understanding of the gaps it has in its workforce and has taken some steps to address them through recruitment and promotion. However the force’s understanding of the skills it needs is not yet comprehensive. The force has completed internal promotion processes for sergeant to inspector but has not sought to fill all posts with substantive appointments this year. This means that there are still officers serving on temporary promotion.
The force collaborates well with other police forces, although the focus across Greater Manchester is on collaboration between public services, through the public service reform agenda, to which the force and all other local public services are committed. Together they have ambitious plans for improving public services so they are integrated and designed to eradicate the shifting of demand from one agency to another and to make better use of reducing resources.
Greater Manchester Police is also planning very well for demand in the future. The force’s medium and long-term financial plans are linked directly to its target operating model. Following a better than expected budget settlement, the force has continued to identify savings, which it is then using to fund investment in line with the operating model, including additional substantial investment of £37m to replace outdated information technology and introduce mobile data to frontline staff.
Investment plans are credible and rest on evidence-based prudent assumptions. The force has planned savings through to 2020, which has allowed it to recommence recruitment to replace officers leaving the force and stop any further deterioration in officer numbers. The plan includes a range of contingencies in the event of future budget reductions. The force remains committed to further development of public service reform, together with all other public and emergency services and has recently committed to extending place-based integrated partnership working across all areas of Greater Manchester.
Greater Manchester Police is a good force. HMIC has not identified any causes of concern and therefore has made no specific recommendations.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Greater Manchester Police has been assessed as good in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
Greater Manchester Police is good in its external fairness and respect, ethical and lawful behaviour, plus internal fairness and respect. The culture of the organisation reflects this through fair and respectful treatment of people, and ethical, lawful approaches to integrity. The organisation’s fair and respectful treatment of the workforce and concern for welfare and wellbeing equally demonstrates this.
Greater Manchester Police strives to treat all of the people it serves with fairness and respect. It uses a variety of methods to seek feedback on public perceptions of treatment. We found good examples of where this feedback, and other issues identified by the force, had led to improvements to service provision.
Greater Manchester Police is good at ensuring that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. It has comprehensive vetting arrangements in place. It monitors and, if appropriate, takes positive action in cases where people with protected characteristics, such as age, disability or gender reassignment, fail the vetting process. The force has re-stated its commitment to the Code of Ethics and we found that staff were aware of this. The policy relating to the workforce declaring their business interests does not apply to all members of police staff. The force recognises this as a risk.
The counter-corruption strategy identifies the main risks to the integrity of the organisation. Processes are in place to identify and monitor members of staff who may be susceptible to abusing their position of authority for sexual gain. The force has introduced a policy of intelligence-led drug testing. It publishes the outcomes of misconduct cases both internally and externally. The force has held five misconduct hearings to which the public and local media were invited. It publishes details of gifts and hospitality and details of chief officer expenses.
Greater Manchester Police is good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect. It has undertaken two wellbeing surveys and a cultural survey in recent years, together with wider engagement with its workforce to identify issues, including the need for wellbeing intervention at an earlier stage, to prevent problems escalating to crisis, and the force has taken action to address this. The force has a wellbeing charter and strategy, with delivery being overseen by the wellbeing board. The wellbeing provision has improved notably in the last 12 months, which many staff attribute to the new chief officer group, which actively encourages direct contact and challenge. The force has trained volunteers to create a peer support network, advising and assisting those showing signs of psychological illness. The force has developed a range of ‘toolkits’ for managers and staff to identify the early signs of illness and take preventative action. The policy on annual development reviews is not, however, being applied consistently or effectively across the force and action is required to address this. Officers within the force are carrying an unusually high level of rest days in lieu compared with the England and Wales average, which can have an adverse affect on wellbeing.
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.
Greater Manchester Police has a clear vision for leadership which is understood by the workforce. The force is working hard with partners, academia and consultants to acquire a comprehensive understanding of skills, capabilities and gaps to inform recruitment and training. The force offers an extensive range of developmental opportunities to its leaders and aspiring leaders, although it is not clear to what extent the force evaluates this to determine how effective it is.
The force is open to innovation and works in collaboration with other agencies to achieve this. After a gap of four years, it has begun to recruit again. It is using this to bring in skills and experience to the workforce, as well as to improve diversity in the broadest sense, including skills and background. The force is also beginning to promote staff, although it has chosen not to fill all existing vacancies through substantive promotion. The force is making some positive changes to enable it to reach its full potential in terms of leadership. We would expect to see significant progress in this area within the next six months.
This section sets out the reports published by HMIC this year that help to better understand the performance of Greater Manchester Police.