Avon and Somerset 2018/19Read more about Avon and Somerset
This is HMICFRS’s fifth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Avon and Somerset Constabulary. PEEL is designed to give you information about how your local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary was inspected in tranche three and we found:
the extent to which the force is effective at reducing crime and keeping people safe is good.
the extent to which the force operates efficiently and sustainably is outstanding.
the extent to which the force treats the public and its workforce legitimately is good.
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Wendy Williams, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
I am very pleased with the performance of Avon and Somerset Constabulary.
The constabulary is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. It is also good at investigating crime and tackling serious and organised crime. It identifies and responds well to incidents involving vulnerable people and works effectively with other agencies to protect them.
The constabulary is ambitious in its planning for the future and wants to be at the forefront of innovative practice. I am very impressed with its use of technology to understand changing demand. It uses this information very well to influence its development of finance and workforce plans for the future.
Senior leaders ensure that the workforce understands the importance of treating the public and each other with fairness and respect. The constabulary continues to uphold an ethical culture and promote the standards of professional behaviour it expects.
Overall, I congratulate Avon and Somerset Constabulary for its excellent performance over the past year. I am confident that it is well equipped for this to continue.
How effectively does the force reduce crime and keep people safe?
Avon and Somerset Constabulary is good at reducing crime and keeping people safe.
The constabulary is good at protecting vulnerable people. Officers and staff have a good understanding of what makes a person vulnerable and they are good at identifying vulnerable people at first contact. They also know how important it is to prioritise the needs of vulnerable people.
As well as focusing on criminal justice outcomes, the workforce understands the need to offer a wraparound service when they encounter vulnerability.
Call handlers communicate well and express empathy. We note the presence of mental health nurses in the constabulary’s control room, to review incidents and offer advice.
The constabulary is committed to building relationships with teachers and children so that any warning signs of abuse, exploitation or neglect are more likely to be spotted early on. It is also working to improve its understanding of potential threats to vulnerable people in cases other than domestic abuse.
The constabulary has trained its staff so that they feel confident in dealing with incidents involving people with mental health conditions. The constabulary also plans to train a number of officers as mental health tactical advisers.
The constabulary is effective at protecting victims of domestic abuse. It is monitoring a slight fall in the number of its arrest rates and bail for suspects of domestic abuse.
As part of the constabulary’s neighbourhood strategy, neighbourhood teams work to safeguard vulnerable victims. And the constabulary makes good use of protective powers where prosecutions haven’t been possible.
The constabulary manages well the risk posed by registered sex offenders. It actively seeks to reduce their risk to the public.
In 2017/18, we judged Avon and Somerset Constabulary to be good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour. We also judged it to be good at investigating crime, and good at tackling serious and organised crime.
How efficiently does the force operate and how sustainable are its services to the public?
Avon and Somerset Constabulary operates efficiently, and its services are sustainable.
The constabulary is outstanding at planning for the future. Its understanding of demand is becoming increasingly sophisticated.
A hallmark of this constabulary is its impressive use of technology. It has a strong track record of accurately assessing future demand for its services. Now, new modelling programming allows it to accurately predict demand from anywhere between 24 hours and up to 12 months.
The constabulary is also innovative in communicating with the public; we note its use of Facebook community groups and online forums to reach people, and its tailoring of online messaging to reach different communities.
The constabulary’s priorities are clear, and it is making sure that it focuses all change and transformation activity on policing priorities.
The constabulary has a very good track record of making savings. It has discontinued joint ventures that were no longer proving to be beneficial. It is seeking to make efficiency savings through a series of service reviews. It is also working to address the savings that it has yet to identify for its medium-term financial plan.
As well as making savings, the constabulary is committed to investing in a way that supports its priorities. Recently, it was successful in gaining funding for tackling escalating knife crime when initially it had been excluded from this funding.
The constabulary is ambitious in its plans to transform the ways in which it uses its estate. It uses co-locating to good financial effect.
In 2017/18, we judged the constabulary to be outstanding at meeting current demands and using resources.
We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the force’s performance in this area.
How legitimately does the force treat the public and its workforce?
The constabulary is good at treating the public fairly. Its leaders understand the value of policing by consent, and of treating the public with fairness and respect. The workforce knows about these values and understands them.
The constabulary consults with the public before setting priorities. Crucially, the public can let the constabulary know about their concerns, which it then considers for action. This approach has led to improvements in practice.
The constabulary uses its communications team well to reach communities that might not otherwise make contact. We note its positive outreach efforts with members of the Muslim community.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s supervision of use of force could be more challenging. Currently, it can’t always be sure that force is being used fairly and appropriately.
The constabulary has more of an understanding of its use of stop and search powers. Nonetheless, it should carry out a rigorous review to understand the high levels of disproportionality relating to stop and search that are continuing to occur in Somerset.
The constabulary is good at maintaining an ethical culture. And it is working towards a comprehensive assessment of its corruption risks. The workforce has a good appreciation of the harm caused by those who abuse their position within the constabulary.
In 2017, we judged Avon and Somerset Constabulary to be good at treating its workforce fairly.
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.
We have not published any other reports about Avon and Somerset in this PEEL cycle.