Gloucestershire PEEL 2017
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Gloucestershire Constabulary requires improvement at keeping people safe and reducing crime, although it has made a great deal of progress since 2016. Gloucestershire Constabulary has improved its approach to preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour, but it needs to go further still to provide its communities with a consistently good service in this area.
Leaders have a clear vision for crime prevention which sets out the changes needed to improve services. Some of these changes have already been made to allow neighbourhood officers to focus more of their time and effort on preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, rather than reacting after it has occurred. Officers and staff understand what matters to local communities and are responsive to their needs. However, the force needs to improve the consistency of its problem-solving work and make greater use of analysis and evidence to prevent crime effectively.
The force should also address shortcomings in its investigation of crimes. It attends the majority of incidents promptly when this is appropriate, and generally makes informed decisions based on risk to victims. Most crimes are investigated to a satisfactory standard and the force makes good use of intelligence. Nevertheless, there are inconsistencies in the quality of investigations and in the supervision provided to investigators. We found that some cases are still being allocated to officers who do not have the right skills or experience, which sometimes means that victims do not receive the level of service that they should.
The force is good at protecting vulnerable people and supporting victims, which is a strength. It identifies vulnerable people effectively when they first contact the police. The force generally investigates crimes involving vulnerable victims to a good standard, and provides effective support to people with mental health conditions. However, it should improve its management of registered sex offenders in order to protect the public from harm.
The force has improved the way it responds to serious and organised crime since the last HMICFRS inspection in 2016. It has a better understanding of organised crime threats and this is starting to have a positive effect on its ability to disrupt organised criminals. It is also good at identifying those who may be vulnerable to being drawn into serious organised crime or gang activity. However, it is yet not clear whether new structures and processes will lead to positive results, as there has not been sufficient time for the force to evaluate the effectiveness of its disruptive activity. Gloucestershire Constabulary has the necessary arrangements in place to fulfil its national policing responsibilities, and to respond to an attack requiring an armed response.
How effective is the force at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe?
Gloucestershire Constabulary requires improvement at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe, although it has made progress in this area since 2016.
- understands the changes needed in the current resourcing structure to improve its approach;
- has a good understanding of its communities and effectively assesses threats using community intelligence; and
- uses a good range of methods to engage with the public, and provides opportunities for them to influence policing priorities locally.
However, the force should evaluate and share effective practice routinely, both internally and with partner agencies, to continually improve its approach to the prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour. The force also has a considerably higher rate of anti-social behaviour incidents per 1,000 population than the England and Wales average.
Areas for improvement
- The force should evaluate and share effective practice routinely, both internally and with partner agencies, to improve continually its approach to the prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour.
- The force should improve its ability to analyse information and intelligence to provide a better understanding of crime and anti-social behaviour in Gloucestershire and enable it to focus activity effectively.
How effective is the force at investigating crime and reducing re-offending?
Gloucestershire Constabulary requires improvement at investigating crime and reducing re-offending.
- attends incidents promptly, and makes informed decisions based on risk to victims;
- is generally good at assessing reports of fraud; and
- has achieved good investigative outcomes since 2015 in comparison with other forces.
The force is also good at reducing re-offending, and is improving its ability to identify and manage arrested foreign nationals.
However, the force should take steps to understand why victims do not support police action in a high proportion of crimes it investigates.
The force should also ensure that it:
- appropriately trains and supports all those carrying out investigations;
- promptly allocates crimes to investigators with the appropriate skills, accreditation and support to investigate them well;
- records information more consistently in investigation plans; and
- regularly supervises investigations to improve quality and progress.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that all crimes are allocated promptly to investigators with the appropriate skills, accreditation and support to investigate them to a good standard.
- The force should ensure that all those carrying out investigations are provided with appropriate training and support.
- The force should ensure that there is regular and active supervision of investigations, including investigation plans, to improve quality and progress.
- The force should take steps to understand the reasons why a high rate of crimes fall into the category ‘evidential difficulties’ victims do not support police action.
How effective is the force at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims?
Gloucestershire Constabulary is good at protecting vulnerable people and supporting victims. The force is good at:
- identifying vulnerable people when they contact the police;
- responding initially to incidents involving vulnerable people, particularly domestic abuse victims and those with mental health problems; and
- investigating crimes involving vulnerable people.
The force also:
- understands the needs of people with mental health problems;
- has effective, well-developed relationships with partner organisations which enable it to support vulnerable people and address the needs of victims;
- is introducing body-worn video cameras for frontline officers.
The force has the highest rate of individuals detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act of all forces, but is making changes to reduce the number of detentions.
The force needs to improve how it manages dangerous offenders, and reduce the backlog of visits for high and medium-risk registered sex offenders. It should also ensure that it:
- makes better use of analysis to understand patterns in offending against vulnerable people;
- manages effectively the risks posed by registered sex offenders; and
- strengthens its process for obtaining feedback from victims of domestic abuse includes those victims who do not support police action.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that the risks posed by registered sex offenders are managed effectively.
- The force should ensure that its process for obtaining feedback from victims of domestic abuse includes those victims who do not support police action.
How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime?
Gloucestershire Constabulary requires improvement at tackling serious and organised crime, although it has made progress in this area since 2016.
Since our 2016 inspection, the force has improved:
- its understanding of serious and organised crime;
- its ability to tackle dangerous drug networks effectively; and
- processes for identifying those who may be vulnerable to being drawn into serious and organised crime or gang activity.
However, the force should:
- make better use of existing intelligence assets and community teams to proactively understand threats;
- be more systematic in its approach to prioritising activity aimed at tackling organised crime, to target its resources more effectively;
- make more use of regional organised crime unit capabilities, minimising their duplication at force level; and
- improve its understanding of the impact of its activity on serious and organised crime.
Areas for improvement
- The force should develop further its approach to prioritising activity aimed at tackling organised crime, using organised crime group mapping, MoRiLE (the ‘management of risk in law enforcement’ process developed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council) and professional judgment to make informed decisions about how to target its resources.
- The force should make maximum use of regional organised crime unit capabilities, and minimise their duplication at force level.
- The force should develop further its serious and organised crime local profile. This should be done in conjunction with partner organisations to deepen its understanding of the threat posed and inform joint activity aimed at reducing the threat.
- The force should improve its understanding of the impact of its activity on serious and organised crime through the 4 Ps (prevent, pursue, protect and prepare), and ensure that it learns from experience to maximise its disruptive effect on this work.
How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?
National threats often require forces to work together, across force boundaries. These threats include terrorism, large-scale disorder and civil emergencies. We examined the capabilities in place to respond to these threats, in particular a firearms attack.
- works constructively with other organisations in response to national threats;
- has developed tried and tested procedures to support flood victims;
- tests its skills in training exercises; and
- has developed a good understanding of the threat to the public from an armed attack.