Lancashire 2017Read more about Lancashire
This is HMICFRS’ fourth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Lancashire 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 Lancashire Constabulary below.
I am pleased with the performance of Lancashire Constabulary in keeping people safe and reducing crime. However, the constabulary needs to improve in some areas to provide a consistently good service.
It has a clear commitment to protecting vulnerable people, but needs to do more to provide all vulnerable people with an effective service. Our 2017 child protection inspection made recommendations for the constabulary to improve how it protects children from harm.
I continue to have concerns about the constabulary’s crime recording where, in many areas, there is much more to be done.
The constabulary has improved its understanding of the complex demands for its services and has prudent financial plans to meet these demands.
While the constabulary treats the public with fairness and respect, it needs to develop the ability of its managers and supervisors to support the workforce.
I commend Lancashire Constabulary for maintaining the overall standard of its performance and I look forward to seeing improvements in the areas we have identified in our 2017 reports.
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Lancashire Constabulary is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Our 2016 inspection found that the constabulary was good at preventing and investigating crime, protecting vulnerable people and tackling serious and organised crime. This year we found that Lancashire Constabulary remains committed to keeping people safe and protecting vulnerable people. It is making good progress in developing its processes and structures to support this commitment. However, in some areas further improvement is needed to ensure that all vulnerable people are being identified and provided with a timely and effective service.
The constabulary has a clear focus on vulnerability which leaders communicate to the workforce. It works well with partner organisations (such as local authorities, or health and education services) to achieve a well-developed understanding of vulnerability within the county. Call takers identify vulnerable people when they contact the police and conduct risk assessments to determine the most appropriate response. A vulnerable caller scheme provides additional information so that immediate safeguarding action can begin. In general, officers and staff who respond first to vulnerable victims take effective safeguarding measures. However, recording of risk assessments and the quality of information that is supplied to the teams who provide longer-term support need to be improved.
The leaders of all Lancashire’s public sector organisations have agreed that mental health is their main priority. They have developed an action plan to co-ordinate services to support people who have mental health conditions. The constabulary has introduced a helpline to assist frontline officers in responding to incidents involving people with mental health concerns. However, at the time of our inspection this had not been fully implemented and there was limited awareness of it among members of the workforce.
In general, those who investigate serious crimes involving vulnerable people do so thoroughly and provide effective victim care. The constabulary should improve the supervision of investigations of less serious offences, particularly when a vulnerable victim is involved. At a local level there is excellent partnership working. Nine partnership hubs, located in the areas of greatest need, provide co-ordinated support to individuals, families and communities to resolve problems at the earliest opportunity.
Lancashire Constabulary has the necessary arrangements in place to fulfil its national policing responsibilities, and to respond 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?
Lancashire 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 has maintained a good understanding of demand; its use of resources to manage demand is judged to be good; and its planning for future demand is also judged to be good.
Lancashire Constabulary has a good understanding of the current and future demand for its services. As part of a comprehensive change programme, well-established teams consider demand across a broad range of services with the objective of developing a force that can meet the future needs of the public. Since HMICFRS’ 2016 efficiency inspection, the constabulary has improved its understanding of more complex demand. It has a detailed understanding of the demand that comes into the control room. The processes that are in place to manage that demand have been explored in detail to identify inefficiencies and duplication of effort. Changes are being made to improve the call handling service, increasing capacity and capability while reducing cost. A similarly detailed understanding of the complex partnership processes that provide support to vulnerable people allows the constabulary to be more specific in matching its resources to priorities and improve the timeliness of decision making in the services it provides.
Good arrangements are in place to ensure the change programmes are properly co-ordinated and any unintended consequences are identified and avoided. The constabulary is committed to a programme of reducing demand by early intervention. It works with local partner organisations to provide coordinated support to those communities and individuals most in need. Strong relationships exist with public service partners to manage demand collectively. The constabulary is ensuring that it is recruiting and developing the right skills and capabilities within the workforce and among its leaders to support this different approach to managing demand. Lancashire Constabulary has prudent financial plans in place to meet future funding challenges. It also has a well-considered programme of investment to ensure that it can adapt how it operates to provide services in the future that meet the needs and expectations of the public.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Lancashire 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 constabulary is judged to be good at treating all of the people it serves with fairness and respect and ensuring that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully but is judged to require improvement in some aspects of how it treats its workforce with fairness and respect.
Lancashire Constabulary has been assessed as good in terms of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. It is good at treating all of the people it serves with fairness and respect. Leaders understand procedural justice and have made arrangements to provide the workforce with the knowledge and skills they need to treat the people they serve with fairness and respect. This includes training in unconscious bias and in communication skills. The level of internal and external scrutiny on the use of force and on stop and search powers is good. The constabulary complies with the national recording standard for the use of force.
The constabulary is good at ensuring that its workforce behave ethically and lawfully. A well-established ethics panel provides scrutiny, advice and guidance to leaders on the ethical implications of their decisions. Training on the Code of Ethics and regular meetings between staff and managers where they discuss ethical matters serve to remind the workforce of the importance of maintaining the standards of behaviour expected of them. The constabulary has made good progress with a plan to comply with national vetting guidelines.
The constabulary provides a variety of clear information to members of the public wishing to make a complaint through a range of sources. Records of meaningful and timely updates to complainants are inconsistent, however. Generally, the workforce are aware of discrimination, but this awareness is not comprehensive. When we conducted a review of complaint files that contained, or that we thought might contain, allegations of discrimination, we found that the constabulary was good at recognising and identifying discrimination. However, the subsequent investigation of those allegations was less satisfactory. While some positive work is taking place in many areas, the constabulary needs to improve some elements of how it treats its workforce with fairness and respect. The workforce use and value an online forum on which they can provide feedback and challenge leaders. The constabulary also has taken effective action to identify and address disproportionality in recruitment and progression.
Senior leaders promote the benefits of workforce wellbeing and have invested in improving the level of support available to the workforce. However, the level of awareness of wellbeing at lower management levels is inconsistent. This may limit the quality of support on offer to some officers and staff, and affect the workforce’s confidence in the commitment of senior leaders. Arrangements for individual performance management still require improvement. The constabulary has introduced an interim performance development review process. However, the workforce remain unclear about its benefits, and some first-line managers were unclear about how to deal with poor performance. The constabulary has taken steps to make the process of selecting leaders fairer. However, this change has not been communicated effectively to the workforce yet.
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.
Lancashire – National child protection inspection – published on 8 March 2017
Abuse of position assessment – Lancashire Constabulary – published on 5 October 2017
Lancashire Constabulary: Crime Data Integrity inspection 2017 – published on 28 November 2017