Cambridgeshire 2017Read more about Cambridgeshire
This is HMICFRS’ fourth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Cambridgeshire 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 requires improvement.
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.
Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
Read my assessment of Cambridgeshire Constabulary below.
I am satisfied with most aspects of Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s performance in keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force has made improvements in its efficiency but needs to make further progress.
The force has made commendable efforts to respond positively to our effectiveness inspection findings in 2016. I am encouraged by what I have seen, but as the force fully recognises, there is still more work to do, in particular:
- to ensure that all crimes are investigated to the standard we expect; and
- to provide a consistent service to all vulnerable people, including domestic abuse victims.
I note that the force is implementing a new policing model that it is expected will provide a long-term solution to enable it to meet emergency calls promptly.
Although the force has made progress in crime recording since our 2014 inspection, it has more to do to meet the required standard.
The force has a good understanding of its current and future demand and it treats members of the public and its own workforce with fairness and respect.
I commend the force for the positive steps it is taking and am confident that Cambridgeshire Constabulary will continue to ensure that the areas for improvement that we have identified will be acted on.
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Cambridgeshire Constabulary requires improvement in its approach to keeping people safe and reducing crime. Its performance has deteriorated in some important areas, which is reflected in its overall judgment for effectiveness. However, the force had identified these areas prior to the inspection and it is implementing a new operating model in 2018. The force believes this will address the shortfalls identified. The force was inspected following a period of exceptional demand in summer 2017, which has since returned to normal levels.
Crimes are not always investigated to as high a standard as they should be and there is an inconsistency in the level and quality of supervision and direction to officers investigating crimes. However, the force makes good use of intelligence to support investigations, and victims are regularly updated as investigations progress. The force has some understanding of those who cause the most harm in communities, but it recognises that it could do more to ensure neighbourhood officers have an up-to-date awareness of registered sex offenders in their area.
The force’s service to vulnerable victims is inconsistent. It provides a high quality of service to vulnerable people with mental health conditions. However, the quality of service to domestic abuse victims is not always consistent and should be improved.
While the force effectively identifies vulnerable people when they first contact the police, and risk assessments and investigations involving victims of domestic abuse are mostly effective, the force does not always have sufficient capacity to prioritise attending all prompt-graded domestic abuse incidents within one hour. This may affect evidence gathering and victim safeguarding, and may undermine the confidence of victims in the police. The new operating model for the force is expected to address this with more officers dedicated to emergency response, which should help improve prompt call attendance at incidents involving vulnerable people.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary has the necessary arrangements in place to fulfil its national policing responsibilities, and to respond to an attack requiring an armed response.
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Cambridgeshire Constabulary is judged to be good in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our overall judgment this year is an improvement from last year. The force is judged to be good in its understanding of demand; its use of resources to manage demand is assessed to be good; and its planning for future demand is also judged to be good.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary is making good progress in improving its understanding of demand for its services, but recognises that it needs to do more, particularly to predict future demand. The force understands the factors that affect demand and uses a risk-based approach to manage and prioritise its response. However, it is not answering all non-emergency calls within a reasonable amount of time, which means some calls are abandoned and potential demands for service may be being missed.
The force uses and allocates its resources well and is developing a new policing model to improve its flexibility and how it matches resources to demand. It has good investment plans and is working well with other organisations to manage demand for services. The force has a good understanding of the operational skills and capabilities of its current workforce and it is identifying future requirements and the resources that will be needed. Leaders are being trained for the future. However, there is an inconsistent approach to performance development reviews. The force is part of a strategic alliance with Bedfordshire Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary, which should increase the opportunities to improve diversity and to identify and nurture talent.
The force has good plans for implementing the changes necessary to deal with an uncertain financial future. It has a prudent approach to savings and good investment plans. The chief constable and the police and crime commissioner work closely with Bedfordshire Police, Hertfordshire Constabulary and with local organisations to help improve efficiency.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Cambridgeshire Constabulary is judged to be good at how legitimately it keeps people safe and reduces crime. For the areas of legitimacy we looked at this year, our overall judgment is the same as last year. The force is judged to be good at treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. It is judged to be good at ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully and good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary is good at treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. The force ensures its workforce receives the training and guidance it needs to develop effective communication skills, use coercive powers appropriately and ensure that unconscious bias does not affect decision-making. The workforce has a good understanding of what constitutes reasonable grounds for stop and search.
The force is developing its scrutiny of the use of force to ensure that is fair. It recognises it needs effective internal scrutiny of use of force and body-worn video camera footage and is taking action to address these areas. The force receives external feedback and challenge, including from two effective external scrutiny groups that assess its use of stop and search powers.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary promotes an ethical culture and ensures that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. Leaders act as positive role models and have an ethical approach to decision-making. However, the force needs to ensure that it complies with national vetting standards.
The force makes it easy for the public to make a complaint and offers extra support to those who need it. It is good at updating complainants on the progress of their complaint and provides them with easily understood information on the outcome. Although it generally identifies and investigates allegations of discrimination well, it needs to improve how those involved are updated on progress.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary is good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect. The force encourages challenge and feedback and is proactive in the way that it identifies and resolves workforce concerns. It provides a comprehensive and accessible wellbeing programme and uses preventative measures to improve workforce wellbeing. Since last year, the force has improved its welfare training for all supervisors. The force is developing fair and effective performance assessment, selection and promotion processes in alliance with Bedfordshire Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary.
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.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary: Crime Data Integrity inspection 2017 – published on 15 June 2017
Abuse of position assessment – Cambridgeshire Constabulary – published on 5 October 2017