Merseyside 2017Read more about Merseyside
This is HMICFRS’ fourth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Merseyside Police. 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 force is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
The extent to which the force is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
The extent to which the force is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
Matt Parr, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
Read my assessment of Merseyside Police below.
I am very pleased with the performance of Merseyside Police in keeping people safe and reducing crime.
The force continues to protect and support vulnerable people effectively, and it has well-established procedures for dealing with mental health incidents. Its workforce clearly understands the importance of vulnerability. It has successful working partnerships with other public sector bodies and charities. The force is proactive in identifying modern slavery and human trafficking.
The force understands its demand, and is now more flexible in the deployment of its workforce. It has sound financial plans and has developed clear arrangements for working with other organisations.
It treats members of the public and its own workforce with fairness and respect, and has good public scrutiny arrangements. It has also improved the way it consults its workforce.
I commend Merseyside Police for maintaining the standard of its performance since last year, while introducing changes that will help it to sustain an effective service.
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Merseyside Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. During the last year the force has been through a period of change in the way that it provides its services and continues to prioritise how it protects vulnerable people.
In 2017, HMICFRS found that the force is good at protecting vulnerable people and supporting victims, which is consistent with our findings in 2016. We found that officers and staff had a strong awareness and understanding of the importance of vulnerability. The force’s call handlers have empathy and understanding, but the force needs to give them guidance on the identification of mental health problems and general vulnerability, in order to inform correct assessment.
The response provided is generally good. Officers take the required safeguarding actions at incidents and make referrals to other organisations for further action and support. We did note, however, an increase in the use of a delayed response to some domestic incidents through the use of scheduled appointments. The force needs to review this. The force is good at allocating and supervising complex cases, including rape, using trained detectives, but is not always consistent for less serious investigations. The force is aware it needs to be more consistent in the identification, prompt allocation and supervision of these investigations from beginning to end.
The force’s triage car service is a secondary police response, which uses police officers supported by mental health nurses to deal with incidents that involve members of the community who have mental health problems. This is well-established and the force has carried out detailed evaluation of the process and its benefits. The force’s partnership working is strong, strategically and operationally. Its early help hubs have significant potential. They identify problems before they reach a crisis, and reduce demand in the long term. The force has established relationships to safeguard vulnerable victims, but needs to implement a solution to allow the effective surveying of victims of domestic abuse. Its use of powers to protect victims of domestic abuse is very positive.
Merseyside Police has the necessary arrangements in place to fulfil its national policing responsibilities, and to respond initially to an attack requiring an armed response.
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Merseyside Police 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.
Merseyside Police is a good and efficient force. It has strong leadership. Some senior officers have been appointed recently and they bring new experience, as well as providing stability and continued strength in leadership for the force. Its financial plans are based on sound assumptions and the force is on track to meet the savings required.
The force considers that leadership comes from its entire workforce. It invests in ‘one team’ events and is providing individual personality-profiling for the whole workforce. The force is developing its future leadership and has senior officers on externally-supported development schemes. We found that the force had carried out an analysis of skills, but that this did not include the entire workforce.
The force’s assessment of demand for the services it provides is up-to-date and comprehensive. Also, it has processes in place to uncover the sort of demand that would be less likely to be reported. Through its force-wide operating model, the force has become more flexible in its deployment of resources across Merseyside, in order to meet demand for service. Its planning of major events, in particular sporting events, continues to make good use of resources, meeting both public expectations and safety.
The force leadership welcomes workforce ideas and feedback and ensures there is a response to suggestions. However, at the time of our inspection this was not reflected in the opinions of some uniformed officers. The force is improving its recognition of innovative ideas. The force is part of a tri-force collaboration with Cheshire Constabulary and North Wales Police. This collaboration is investing in IT solutions that enable efficient information-sharing between these forces.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Merseyside Police is judged to be good at how legitimately it keeps people safe and reduces crime. For the areas of legitimacy we assessed this year, our overall judgment is the same as last year. The force is judged to be good at treating all of the people it serves with fairness and respect. It is also judged to be good at ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully and good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect.
Merseyside Police has been graded as good at how legitimate it is in keeping people safe and reducing crime. The workforce understands the importance of treating people fairly and with respect, including recognising unconscious bias, using effective communication skills and proportionate use of coercive powers. The force has excellent arrangements for using external scrutiny to improve the extent to which the force treats people with fairness and respect, and effective monitoring of the use of force and stop and search.
Merseyside Police works hard to ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. Leaders promote ethical decision making through clear behavioural expectations and encouraging the use of discretion within an ethical framework. The force has an easy-to-follow complaints process that is easy to access, and complainants receive consistently good service from the force. Well-trained and experienced investigators within the professional standards department identify and respond to allegations of discrimination and conduct good investigations, in line with IPCC guidelines but needs to ensure allegations meeting the mandatory criteria are referred to the IPCC.
Merseyside Police is committed to treating its workforce with fairness and respect. The force encourages and responds positively to challenge and feedback, making changes where possible, or explaining why not. For example, the force has responded promptly to frustrations following changes to the operating model. The force is conscious of the need to reflect the communities it serves and has carried out media recruitment campaigns to try to increase the diversity of its workforce. Wellbeing awareness – particularly regarding mental health – has increased and the force has invested in additional wellbeing resources. The force has improved its processes for managing individual performance, and leaders emphasise the importance of one-to-one meetings. However, the reduced availability of supervisors may hinder the potential value of the process and understanding of performance across the workforce is not yet complete. . The force intends to pilot a new talent management programme and it has undertaken work to improve the way it selects it leaders.
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 – Merseyside Police – published on 5 October 2017
Crime Data Integrity re-inspection 2018 – Merseyside Police – published on 10 April 2018