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The force says...

Northamptonshire’s 913 square miles are home to 0.72 million people across a blend of rural and urban communities. The county is characterised by significant population growth of almost 15% since 2001, a higher rate than the national and regional average. Further strong population increases are forecast and policing demand continues to rise accordingly; for example, the force records more victim-based crimes per officer on average than the majority of similar constabularies.

Northamptonshire is a low-spend force with a strong track record of cost-reduction having delivered £29m of savings since 2010. While the workforce has reduced overall by almost 23% since 2010, service delivery has been maintained through local and regional partnerships.

The force is committed to protecting people from harm despite challenging efficiency savings. We are doing this by:

  • Delivering a new Police & Crime Plan for 2017 – 2021, focused on the greatest harms, including those online, championing early intervention and making the best use of new systems and technologies.
  • Developing our partnership approach, recognised by Ofsted and HMIC, to protect children through our Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub and our multi-agency CSE and missing person team
  • Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls through partnership approaches to Domestic Abuse, Honour Based Abuse, Female Genital Mutilation and Modern Day Slavery
  • Collaborating with other East Midlands forces to enhance operational capabilities and improve efficiency and also developing integration opportunities with the Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service and other partners
  • Implementing a new Service Delivery Model to ensure:
    • resources best meet demand
    • neighbourhood teams safeguard our communities through being fully involved in tackling local threats
    • investigations are well-coordinated
    • well-resourced specialist and support functions, integrated with regional partners.
  • Delivering new estates infrastructure to meet future needs.

The force is securely focused on “Protecting People from Harm.”

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

HMIC says...

Northamptonshire Police provides policing services to the county of Northamptonshire. The police force area covers 913 square miles in the east midlands of England. Although there are some more affluent areas, Northamptonshire has a high level of poverty. Around 0.7 million people mainly live in the urban centres which includes Northampton. The resident population is increased by university students and the large numbers who visit or travel through the county each year.

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 2,231 OAs in Northamptonshire with an average size of 106 hectares which is bigger than the national average of 87 hectares. While the majority (58 percent) of OAs in Northamptonshire are relatively small at under 10 hectares, a smaller proportion (16 percent) are extremely large in size (over 100 hectares) indicating the mixture of urban and rural localities. The smallest OAs are concentrated in Northampton 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. Northamptonshire has a median house price, based on the OAs that have had a property transaction within the last 12 months, of £193,667 which is lower than the median of England and Wales (£230,358). Northamptonshire has 1.3 percent of its OAs within the lowest 10 percent of house prices nationally, while 11.4 percent of OAs are within the top 10 percent of house prices nationally (and 2.7 percent of OAs are within the top 1 percent). This suggests that there are large areas of affluence and high house prices, 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 1.3 percent of the very high challenge areas nationally are in Northamptonshire. The highest-challenge one percent of OAs in the force account for 14.0 percent of Northamptonshire’s predicted incidents, these predicted demands are likely to occur in only 1.9 percent of the total area of the force.

Within Northamptonshire:

  • 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 broadly in line with 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 Northamptonshire we calculated the average travel time and distance from the central point of the force area to the centre of each of the 2,231 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.

Northamptonshire has 139 miles of motorways and trunk roads; the average travel distance of 11 miles (longest 39 miles and shortest 1.1 miles) and the average travel time of 18 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 of Northamptonshire 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 Northamptonshire 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.