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The force says...

Leicestershire Police covers 979 square miles with a mixture of urban and rural landscape which has seen a 13% population increase since 2001 to 1,017,697. A diverse ethnic population makes up 21.6% of the current population and represents an increase of 39.4% over the last decade. There are 130 languages and dialects spoken in the city of Leicester.

The Force made estimated savings of £58.97m between 2011/12 and 2016/17, there has been a decrease of 458 police officers, 35 police staff reflecting a programme of modernisation. The proportion of police officers in frontline roles has risen from 91 percent to 93 percent since 2010. The establishment for PCSOs has increased from 229 to 251, and is intended to be maintained for the next few years. In 2006 there was one Police Officer for 430 citizens, today there is one Police Officer per 599 citizens.

Unemployment in the city of Leicester (7.7%) is higher than the East Midlands region (5.0%) and national average (5.7%), while the county (5.7%) is on par with the national figure.

The End Child Poverty campaign stated in 2014 that 40% of children in the city were classed as living in poverty, placing Leicester city ninth highest nationally. The city council set up a Child Poverty Commission in 2011.

During the last decade to 2015-16 there has been a reduction of 31.2% in overall recorded crime. However, there have been significant increases in areas that present a high risk of harm to the vulnerable as the following changes illustrate:

  • 15% increase in rapes from 436 in 2014/15 to 503 in 2015/16.
  • Approximately 1175 referrals to the Children’s Desk a month in 2016, representing a 34% increase on the previous annual figure of 10,500.
  • The average number of missing person reports per month was 244 in 2015 and 300 in 2016.
  • There were 411 high risk missing person reports in 2015 and 786 in 2016.

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

HMIC says...

Leicestershire Police provides policing services to the counties of Leicestershire and Rutland. The police force area covers 980 square miles in the east midlands of England. Although there are some more affluent areas, Leicestershire has a high level of poverty. Around 1.1 million people mainly live in the urban centres which include the city of Leicester and the towns of Loughborough, Market Harborough and Melton Mowbray. The resident population is ethnically diverse, with 22 percent from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, and is increased by the very large number of university students and those who visit, socialise in, or travel through the county. The transport infrastructure includes rail stations and an airport.

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 3,170 OAs in Leicestershire with an average size of 80 hectares which is smaller than the national average of 87 hectares. While the majority (61 percent) of OAs in Leicestershire are relatively small at under 10 hectares, a smaller proportion (13 percent) are extremely large in size (over 100 hectares) indicating the mixture of urban and rural localities. The smallest OAs are concentrated in Leicester 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. Leicestershire has a median house price, based on the OAs that have had a property transaction within the last 12 months, of £180,000 which is lower than the median of England and Wales (£230,358). Leicestershire has 2.1 percent of its OAs within the lowest 10 percent of house prices nationally, while 8.7 percent of OAs are within the top 10 percent of house prices nationally (and 2.2 percent of OAs are within the top 1 percent). This suggests that there are areas of affluence and high house price, with a small proportion of lower value housing and deprivation.

The demands for police services are not the same in every area of England and Wales. Our analysis has revealed that the socio-demographic characteristics of an area influence the demands for police services in that area.

In every police force, there is a concentration of predicted demands in a small number of its OAs. Taking England and Wales as a whole the most challenging 1,811 (1 percent) of these account for 10.8 percent of all the predicted incidents. We have designated these areas of very high challenge and found that they are characterised by a high concentration of people living, working, socialising or travelling in the area. Features which both cause and/or indicated a concentration of people include the number of commercial premises, including licensed premises, fast food premises, public transport and social deprivation. In some areas, these features are in combination.

Some 2.0 percent of the very high challenge areas nationally are in Leicestershire. The highest-challenge one percent of OAs in the force account for 14.4 percent of Leicestershire’s predicted incidents, these predicted demands are likely to occur in only 2.2 percent of the total area of the force.

Within Leicestershire:

  • the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of incidents 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 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 lower than the national level of one percent;
  • the proportion of OAs that are very high challenge to police for the predicted level of emergency and priority calls for assistance at incidents 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 at crimes 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 Leicestershire we calculated the average travel time and distance from the central point of the force area to the centre of each of the 3,170 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.

Leicestershire has 114 miles of motorways and trunk roads; the average travel distance of 7 miles (longest 39 miles and shortest 0.2 miles) and the average travel time of 16 minutes from the centre of the force to each OA are lower than the respective national averages of 17 miles and 30 minutes. This demonstrates the size and complexity of Leicestershire 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 Leicestershire 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.