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The force says...

Staffordshire police force area covers over 1,000 square miles. The geography is varied ranging from the sparsely populated area of Staffordshire Moorlands to urban areas such as the city of Stoke-on-Trent (accounting for 22.6% of the population), Tamworth, Cannock and Burton-upon-Trent. Staffordshire has a population of 1,114,210; a rise of 5.6% compared with 10 years ago, with about 6% from a minority ethnic background.

The force has eleven Local Policing Teams which are coterminous with local authority boundaries, and key specialist staff within its Investigative, Operational and Justice Services departments. Staffordshire Police works closely with emergency services, local authorities, criminal justice and health service partners to safeguard people and communities.

For the 12 months to the end of September 2016 recorded crime has risen by 14.8% and calls for service by 2.5%. While much of this is attributable to less complex crime, the force also recognises the risk from emerging and hidden threats, such as Child Sexual Exploitation, Gangs & Youth Violence and Modern Day Slavery, and it has invested in its capability in assessing and tackling these. Staffordshire Police has also significantly invested in its forensic capability to support the investigation of crime including complex cases. There is an emphasis on protecting all vulnerable people and particularly children and the force is working with partners including academia, to better understand how it can protect those who are most vulnerable.

There has been a 19% reduction in workforce and over £32 million reduction in operating budget since 2010. The force and the office of the police and crime commissioner recognise a future funding gap and have a joint vision for 2020 in place to radically transform all aspects of the organisation to address this. Work is being supported by an ICT partnership with a private sector service provider and external expertise to develop a new target operating model.

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

HMIC says...

Staffordshire Police provides policing services to the county of Staffordshire. The police force area covers 1,048 square miles in the midland of England. Although there are some more affluent areas, Staffordshire has a high level of poverty. Around 1.1 million people mainly live within the urban centres which include the city of Stoke-on-Trent and the towns of Burton-upon-Trent and Stafford. The resident population is increased by university students and the large numbers who visit, socialise in, or travel through the area each year. The transport infrastructure includes major rail stations.

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 3,610 OAs in Staffordshire with an average size of 75 hectares which is smaller than the national average of 87 hectares. While the majority (59 percent) of OAs in Staffordshire are relatively small at under 10 hectares, a smaller proportion (10 percent) are extremely large in size (over 100 hectares) indicating the mixture of urban and rural localities. The smallest OAs are concentrated in Stoke-on-Trent and the numerous towns of Staffordshire 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. Staffordshire has a median house price, based on the OAs that have had a property transaction within the last 12 months, of £151,333 which is lower than the median of England and Wales (£230,358). Staffordshire has 16.2 percent of its OAs within the lowest 10 percent of house prices nationally, while 6.5 percent of OAs are within the top 10 percent of house prices nationally (and 1.5 percent of OAs are within the top 1 percent). This suggests that there are areas of lower value housing and deprivation, with a smaller proportion of affluence and high house prices.

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.

1.3 percent of the very high challenge areas nationally are in Staffordshire. The highest challenge one percent of OAs in the force account for 7.0 percent of Staffordshire’s predicted incidents, these predicted demands are likely to occur in only 2.2 percent of the total area of the force.

Within Staffordshire:

  • the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of incidents is lower than 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 lower than 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 lower than 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 lower than the national level of one percent.

As an indication of the challenge for the police to reach citizens in all parts of Staffordshire we calculated the average travel time and distance from the central point of the force area to the centre of each of the 3,610 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.

Staffordshire has 134 miles of motorways and trunk roads; the average travel distance of 18 miles (longest 36 miles and shortest 0.1 miles) from the centre of the force to each OA is in line with the national average of 17 miles but the average travel time of 35 minutes is higher than the national average of 30 minutes. This demonstrates the size of Staffordshire 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 Staffordshire 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.