Lancashire 2016Read more about Lancashire
This is HMIC’s third PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Lancashire 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 good.
Michael Cunningham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
I am very pleased with the overall performance of Lancashire Constabulary.
Lancashire Constabulary has an effective approach to preventing crime and reducing anti-social behaviour. The force communicates well with the people of Lancashire, has effective partnership arrangement with other organisations, and has a sound understanding of the public’s concerns. Officers and staff are directed towards the most significant threats and they respond effectively.
While there is some evidence of effective problem solving, the force would benefit from re-introducing a more structured approach to encourage greater consistency and to help identify what works. The force plans to adopt a ‘place-based policing’ model, in which it will work closely with partner organisations at a very local level in taking early action to prevent crime and other social problems.
I am reassured that Lancashire Constabulary investigates crime to a high standard. The initial stages of an investigation are good and specialist staff are suitably trained and provide appropriate support to response officers. Lancashire Constabulary is good at protecting the public from the most prolific, serious and dangerous offenders and has a good approach to the tracking and pursuit of known offenders.
I am pleased that the force continues to tackle serious and organised crime effectively, involving officers and staff at all levels. The force shares information with a broad range of partner organisations, and this gives it a good understanding of localised threats.
Lancashire Constabulary is effective at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm and in supporting victims. The force generally identifies vulnerable victims well, but can do more to improve the consistency with which some aspects of vulnerability are identified during initial contact.
I am satisfied that Lancashire Constabulary has a good understanding of current and future demands for its services. It has a proven track record of making savings and prudent financial plans.
The force has a well-established change programme that considers current demands, and it is developing a detailed understanding of more complex demands and so-called hidden demands such as internet crime. The force understands the gaps in the skills and knowledge of the workforce. In particular, it intends to recruit people with the requisite skills for its ‘place-based policing’ approach.
The force’s analysis of the demand coming through its control room has allowed it to make its communications systems and processes more efficient.
The workforce has a good understanding of the importance of treating the public with fairness and respect. The force has well established arrangements in place to obtain feedback from the people of Lancashire and it is continuing to develop these. It gives complaints from the public careful consideration, and responds to them appropriately.
Internally, officers and staff understand the importance of treating one another with fairness and respect. The force has clear leadership expectations and values that place a strong emphasis on the well-being of the workforce.
In summary, the force provides a good level of service to the people of Lancashire. I am reassured that it is sustaining this level of performance.
Lancashire Constabulary provides policing services to the county of Lancashire. Lancashire has a high level of poverty, although there are some highly affluent areas. The force area is home to around 1.5 million people, who mainly live in the city of Preston and the towns of Blackpool, Burnley and Blackburn.
The resident population is ethnically diverse, with 10 percent from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, and is increased by university students and the very large numbers who visit, socialise, or travel through the county each year. The transport infrastructure includes 137 miles of motorway and trunk roads, major rail stations, air and sea ports.
The proportion of areas in Lancashire 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.
Lancashire Constabulary works with a private sector partner on the provision of 20 custody services.
The force works in collaboration with Lancashire County Council to provide services such as payroll and pensions, and with Cumbria Constabulary to provide learning and development.
Looking ahead to 2017
In the year ahead, I will be interested to see how Lancashire Constabulary responds to this assessment and to the areas for improvement that HMIC identified last year.
I will be particularly interested to see the progress of the new ‘place-based policing’ model.
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Lancashire Constabulary is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. It has an effective approach to crime prevention, investigation standards are high and vulnerable victims are supported well. The constabulary tackles serious and organised crime effectively, and has the necessary arrangements in place to ensure that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities. Our overall judgment this year is the same as last year, when we judged the constabulary to be good in respect of effectiveness.
Lancashire Constabulary is good at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. It understands the threat or risk of harm within the communities it serves. Plans are in place to realign how policing is provided through a ‘place-based policing model’ which is built on a preventative early action approach with other public service and community partner organisations. However, the constabulary would benefit from a more structured problem-solving approach and a process to identify what has been successful.
Lancashire Constabulary’s approach to investigating crime and reducing re-offending is good. The control room assesses incidents based on vulnerability, proportionality and solvability. Investigation is good and specialist staff are trained appropriately, although supervision of case files is not always consistent. Lancashire Constabulary is good at protecting the public from the most prolific, serious and dangerous offenders.
Lancashire Constabulary is effective at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm and supporting victims. The constabulary generally identifies vulnerable victims well, but there is scope to improve the consistency with which wider aspects of vulnerability are identified and responded to at initial contact. Partnership working with other organisations is effective. The capacity for the multi-agency safeguarding hubs to cope with additional referrals from non-police partner organisations is to be reviewed and improved.
Lancashire Constabulary is effective at tackling serious and organised crime. The constabulary has a good understanding of organised crime groups (OCGs) at a local level, and good information-sharing arrangements with a broad range of partner agencies. All officers and staff are routinely given the task of gathering intelligence and targeting OCGs.
Lancashire Constabulary’s specialist capabilities are effective. It has all the necessary arrangements in place to fulfil its national policing responsibilities. The constabulary has the capability to respond positively to civil emergencies, terrorism, serious and organised crime, public order, child sexual exploitation and cyber-crime.
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Lancashire Constabulary has been assessed as good in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
Lancashire Constabulary has a good understanding of current and future demand for its services. There is a well established change programme that considers current demand on the constabulary and is developing a more detailed understanding of more complex demand. The current demand which comes into the constabulary’s control room has been analysed in order to find a more efficient way of responding to calls. The same method is now being used to analyse and understand more complex demand. There has been significant investment in ICT, but many staff said that the new custody and prosecution IT system has made it difficult for them to carry out their duties efficiently. The constabulary uses its resources to manage current demand well but could improve how resources are identified and deployed to incidents. There are good governance arrangements in place to match resources to priorities.
Lancashire Constabulary is a central partner in a group of public service organisations which support an early action programme, and provide co-ordinated support to the communities who are most in need. Current gaps in the workforce have been identified. The constabulary intends to recruit people who have the right skills to provide a policing style which is based on working more closely with other public services in order to support the early action agenda. This new approach will be introduced as part of a place-based policing strategy, which will see more integration with other public services to provide the most appropriate support to people in need. The constabulary has a proven track record in making savings and has made prudent financial plans to meet future needs.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Lancashire Constabulary has been assessed as good in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
The constabulary treats those it serves with fairness and respect. Staff understand the importance of treating the public fairly and respectfully. Recent training has reinforced this. The constabulary has established arrangements in place to obtain feedback from the different communities it serves and is developing new arrangements through new digital channels to improve communications. There is also evidence that the constabulary is acting on feedback to improve how it trains staff, such as in the exercising of stop and search powers.
The constabulary ensures its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. There is an established forum on the intranet, the internal ‘Buzz’ discussion page, where staff can discuss standards and ethical issues. This is well used. However, there is a need to re-communicate expectations around some standards of leadership behaviours as some members of the constabulary are unclear about this.
Staff wellbeing is a priority for the constabulary, and employees are treated fairly and with respect. While there are performance monitoring arrangements in place for staff, there is scope to improve the process to ensure everyone receives a performance discussion with their line manager.
The constabulary treats the people it serves with fairness and respect. Training has been provided to help staff understand that the way they behave affects the way that the public and their colleagues see them, and that this is important.
The constabulary engages well with the public to identify their concerns. There are established arrangements in place to obtain feedback through an increasingly representative independent advisory group (IAG). The constabulary is developing several different feedback methods so that it can communicate more effectively with the public and also understand how people feel they are being treated by officers. There are ethics committees which give advice on decision-making, and guidance on how constabulary services might be improved.
The constabulary has an established intranet forum to discuss standards and other relevant matters. This is widely read. Many of the staff consider it to be useful and believe that it reinforces expected standards of behaviour. However, we found that many staff still do not use this platform and are disengaged from the most important messages and themes that emerge from it.
Complaints from the public are considered and analysed well. Both the public and officers are given feedback to show that the public’s concerns are taken seriously.
The constabulary ensures that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. There are confidential reporting lines available to staff, and employees also have the confidence to raise any concerns about wrongdoing with their line managers in the first instance. There is a risk matrix, which enables the constabulary to identify members of staff who are most susceptible to corrupt practices.
The wellbeing of staff is a priority for the force. There are many health and wellbeing facilities and events, and good networks in place to provide effective support as necessary.
Supervisors do not apply performance monitoring arrangements consistently. The constabulary needs to go further to ensure that all members of the workforce have meaningful performance and development discussions with their line managers.
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.
Lancashire Constabulary has clearly set out its leadership expectations. It is obvious that across its workforce people feel supported to develop their leadership skills. All senior managers attend the monthly leadership board, chaired by the deputy chief constable, which allows for regular review of the constabulary’s leadership capability and a timely response to any apparent gaps.
Although there are a wide variety of development opportunities available to both officers and staff, the constabulary could do more to improve how it identifies and develops talented individuals. For example, it does not have a consistent process in place for carrying out performance development reviews.
The constabulary is promoting a new management style that is looking for leadership values centred on emotional intelligence and a strong empathy for the workforce’s wellbeing; this is welcomed by HMIC.
The constabulary is not taking full advantage of the complete range of opportunities to increase the diversity and skills base of its workforce. It is using the Police Now national graduate recruitment scheme, and is working with Stonewall to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) staff within its workforce, but it is not currently recruiting new leaders externally or taking on officers through the Direct Entry scheme.
There are good arrangements in place to look across the constabulary and beyond to seek new ideas and understand what works. The forum to consider innovation and to generate new ideas is through a widely read and popular intranet based platform, although currently there is no formal mechanism for systematically processing new suggestions. However, the constabulary is working with academia to generate and develop a range of ideas across the constabulary to inform wider business improvements.
This section sets out the reports published by HMIC this year that help to better understand the performance of Lancashire Constabulary.