Cumbria 2017Read more about Cumbria
This is HMICFRS’ fourth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Cumbria 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.
Matt Parr, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
Read my assessment of Cumbria Constabulary below.
I am very pleased with the performance of Cumbria Constabulary in keeping people safe and reducing crime. I am reassured to see that since 2016 it has made changes to ensure it provides an effective service, particularly in relation to how it protects vulnerable people and supports victims.
The force continues to be effective at investigating crime and tackling serious and organised crime, and it has also begun to implement the recommendations from our 2016 child protection inspection.
The force has improved its understanding of the current and likely future demands for its services, has realistic financial plans in place, and makes good use of its resources.
It treats both the public and its own workforce with fairness and respect, and ensures that its officers and staff behave ethically and lawfully.
I commend Cumbria Constabulary on the substantial progress it has made over the past year, and look forward to seeing it sustain its efforts in the year ahead.
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Cumbria Constabulary is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Since our 2016 effectiveness report, the constabulary has made progress in a number of areas. HMICFRS is pleased to see improvements in how the constabulary protects vulnerable people (those who are vulnerable through their age, disability, or because they have been subjected to repeated offences, or are at high risk of abuse, for example). The constabulary continues to be effective in its approach to investigating crime and tackling serious and organised crime.
Our 2017 inspection found that the constabulary has effective processes to ensure that crimes are investigated thoroughly by appropriately trained officers and staff. The constabulary makes good use of intelligence and the forensic examination of digital evidence from mobile phones and computers to support investigations, and updates victims regularly as investigations proceed. The supervision of investigations has improved since our inspection last year. The constabulary understands those people and groups who cause the most harm in communities, and has measures in place to reduce re-offending. Although the constabulary has a daily emphasis on arresting the highest risk offenders, it also needs to ensure that lower risk offenders are being managed as effectively.
Cumbria Constabulary has improved its ability to protect vulnerable people since HMICFRS’ 2016 effectiveness report. Its use of a standardised risk-assessment process provides a consistent means of identifying vulnerable people when they first contact the police. Robust quality assurance has improved the standard of risk assessments which officers submit about vulnerable people and victims of domestic abuse, but there is room for further improvement.
The constabulary is effective at tackling serious and organised crime. It has a good understanding of both local and national threats from organised crime, including newer threats such as modern slavery and cyber-crime. The constabulary has made progress in the way it manages organised crime groups, but it needs to do more to prevent serious and organised crime, and to deter people who are at risk of being drawn into organised criminal activity.
Cumbria Constabulary has the necessary arrangements in place to fulfil its national responsibilities, and to respond in the first instance to an attack requiring an armed response. It has plans in place to test the effectiveness of this capability regularly.
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Cumbria Constabulary is judged to be good in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our overall judgment this year is the same as last year. The constabulary 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.
Cumbria Constabulary has been assessed to be good in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
The constabulary has made progress in developing its understanding of current and future demand for its services, including less obvious demand. This more comprehensive understanding has led to a reallocation of resources to support crime investigations which, if successful, will be extended force-wide. The constabulary is recruiting additional investigators in response to the increase in non-recent abuse allegations, which will also increase capacity on the frontline.
We found that the constabulary’s financial plans are realistic and are based on sound assumptions. Detailed contingency plans ensure that the constabulary understands how it could continue to provide effective policing services with reduced resources. The business improvement unit, now firmly established, is improving the constabulary’s understanding of its change programme and the effect on its workforce. The unit is able to monitor the consequences of change, make adjustments as required, and ensure that the expected benefits are realised.
The constabulary considers a range of options in developing new ideas and working practices. All recent and planned promotion processes have been advertised externally and new projects are in place with both public and private sector organisations to work together and manage shared demand. The single point of access line – providing specialist advice to frontline officers dealing with people suffering from mental health problems – is proving effective in terms of support offered and in reducing demand for additional policing services.
The constabulary has good systems in place to manage the skills and capabilities of its workforce, though it does not yet have the comprehensive understanding required to identify skills gaps and establish future needs. A talent identification and management scheme for all officers and staff is being trialled, and a leadership development programme is in place to support those seeking promotion.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Cumbria Constabulary is 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 constabulary is good at treating all of the people it serves with fairness and respect. It is also good at how well it ensures its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully and, following improvement, is now good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect.
Cumbria Constabulary is good in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
The constabulary is good at treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. Leaders have ensured the workforce has a good understanding of this; reinforced through appropriate training. Robust processes are in place for scrutiny of coercive powers: data is used to improve interactions with the public, though there is an opportunity to improve this further through better use of body-worn video cameras. The constabulary has developed frontline officers’ understanding of unconscious bias and there are plans to extend this to the wider workforce by the end of 2017.
The constabulary is good at ensuring that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. Ethical decision making forms part of their ‘big six’ priorities and decisions are appropriately reviewed. Ethical considerations are included in training programmes and leaders encourage debate within the workforce. The constabulary is still not compliant with national vetting guidelines, but has plans in place to address this. The complaints system is easily accessible and complainants are given detailed information at the beginning and end of an investigation; however, updates could be more detailed and improvements are being made. The constabulary is mostly good at identifying, responding to and investigating allegations of potential discrimination.
Cumbria Constabulary’s approach to treating its workforce with fairness and respect is good. Leaders seek feedback about concerns and there is a strong emphasis on the line manager relationship. An improved interim performance review system now records information on staff progress, skills and development and the constabulary is seeking to improve its identification of high potential officers and staff through a trial talent identification scheme. Significant emphasis is placed on workforce wellbeing. The provision of counselling and psychological profiling where appropriate, together with wider access to occupational health services, are effective measures in managing wellbeing problems. Recognising the warning signs and how to provide support and guidance forms part of supervisor leadership training.
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.
Cumbria – National Child Protection Inspection post-inspection review – published on 21 September 2017
Abuse of position assessment – Cumbria Constabulary – published on 5 October 2017