Hertfordshire 2017Read more about Hertfordshire
This is HMICFRS’ fourth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Hertfordshire 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.
Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
Read my assessment of Hertfordshire Constabulary below.
I am pleased with the performance of Hertfordshire Constabulary in keeping people safe and reducing crime, and in particular with the improvement in its effectiveness.
I am reassured to see that the force has taken prompt and effective action to address a serious failing that we identified in our 2016 effectiveness inspection. It now identifies vulnerable people effectively when they first contact the police.
Subsequent risk assessments are also good, and, although it needs to make further improvements, its overall direction of travel is positive.
While it has taken positive steps to improve its crime recording since our 2014 inspection, more still needs to be done.
The force has worked hard to improve its assessment of demand since my last assessment and now has a good understanding of its current and future demand.
The force uses its resources well and has detailed plans for the future.
Hertfordshire Constabulary treats members of the public and its own workforce with fairness and respect.
Overall, I commend Hertfordshire Constabulary for the improvements it has made this year.
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Hertfordshire Constabulary is good at keeping people safe and at reducing crime.
It has acted decisively to address a specific failing identified in 2016 and, although it needs to improve its approach to protecting vulnerable people further, its overall progress is positive.
Hertfordshire Constabulary is good at investigating crime. Its approach to initial investigation is effective; it attends incidents promptly when this is appropriate, and makes informed decisions, based on the risks to victims. The force makes good use of intelligence and updates most victims regularly as investigations progress.
The force has a good understanding of those who cause the most harm in communities and takes positive steps to reduce re-offending. While it does not always supervise crimes fully, or investigate them to as high a standard as necessary, it has put in place good quality-assurance processes to address any shortfalls.
The force has taken prompt and effective action to address a serious failing that we identified in our 2016 effectiveness inspection. It now identifies vulnerable people effectively when they first contact the police. Subsequent risk assessments are also good. However, the force needs to do more to ensure that it has officers and staff with the right skills and expertise to investigate crimes against vulnerable victims and to ensure they are kept safe. In particular, the supervision and quality of investigations involving some victims of rape and domestic abuse need to improve. During our inspection, we found examples of vulnerable victims being let down by poor investigative practice and the force has already taken steps to address this.
The force could also do more to comply with the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime, to ensure that every victim gets the quality of service from the police that they have a right to expect.
Hertfordshire 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?
Hertfordshire 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 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.
Hertfordshire Constabulary’s understanding of the demand for its services is developing well. Since 2016, the force has commissioned external expertise and purchased analytical systems to improve its assessment of current, complex and future demand, which will inform options for a new policing model. The force demonstrates a good commitment to managing and prioritising its response to changes in demand. It filters demand using a risk-based approach and has improved this since 2016 through better management and quality assurance processes. The force needs to make sure that it uses this improved approach consistently.
The force uses and allocates resources well. It is developing a new local policing model to improve its flexibility and how it matches resources to demand. The force has a good understanding of its current workforce’s operational skills and capabilities. It is identifying future requirements and has plans to resource them appropriately. The force invests well, and works with others to manage demand for its services. Leaders are being trained for the future. Opportunities to improve diversity by working with under-represented groups and identifying and nurturing talent should increase as a result of the force’s collaborative working in its strategic alliance with Bedfordshire Police and Cambridgeshire Constabulary.
The force faces financial challenges and has a detailed plan of how it intends to implement change. It has contingencies in place, and is developing an updated local policing model. The new chief constable (who was appointed in October 2016) and the police and crime commissioner are working closely within the established strategic alliance, as well as with local partner organisations – the Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust and the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service – to achieve greater efficiencies.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Hertfordshire 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 the previous two years, in which we judged the force to be good in respect of legitimacy.
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.
Hertfordshire Constabulary is good at treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. The force is committed to ensuring that its workforce has the skills it needs to treat people fairly and respectfully, for example by providing training in effective communication skills, the appropriate use of coercive powers and what constitutes reasonable grounds for stop and search. It is also improving the workforce’s understanding of how to recognise and overcome unconscious bias.
The force is improving its internal scrutiny of use of force. It receives challenge and feedback from external scrutiny groups that have a diverse membership that includes young people. Scrutiny of stop and search could be improved by reviewing body-worn video camera footage and by including more young people in the community stop and search panel.
Hertfordshire 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 people to make a complaint and offers extra support to those who need it. Most complaints are investigated well, although not all allegations of discrimination are conducted in a timely way.
Hertfordshire 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. The officers and staff we spoke with felt that their wellbeing is a priority for the force. The force is developing fair and effective performance assessment, selection and promotion processes in alliance with Bedfordshire Police and Cambridgeshire 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.
Abuse of position assessment – Hertfordshire Constabulary – published on 5 October 2017
Hertfordshire Constabulary: Crime Data Integrity inspection 2017 – published on 28 November 2017