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Cambridgeshire 2018/19

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This is HMICFRS’s fifth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Cambridgeshire 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.

Cambridgeshire 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 good.

the extent to which the force treats the public and its workforce legitimately is good.

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PEEL: Police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy 2018/19 – Cambridgeshire Constabulary

Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary


HMI's observations

I am very pleased with Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s performance in keeping people safe and reducing crime. In particular, I note the improvements the force has made since 2017 in its effectiveness.

The force is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. Since our last inspection, the force has improved how it investigates crimes. It has also developed better ways to make sure it identifies and responds to people at risk. It works closely with local partners, like councils, to protect vulnerable people.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary understands the complexity and scale of demand for its services. It is using this information to develop its financial and workforce plans to meet future needs. It is good at prioritising its use of resources and at making sure it has the right staff available to assist the public when they most need the police.

Senior leaders continue to uphold an ethical culture and promote the standards of behaviour it expects well.

Overall, I strongly commend Cambridgeshire Constabulary on the good progress it has made in the last year. The changes the force has made provide a strong foundation for continuing to keep communities across Cambridgeshire safe.


How effectively does the force reduce crime and keep people safe?

Last updated 20/01/2020

Cambridgeshire Constabulary is good at reducing crime and keeping people safe.

A new local policing structure aims to provide policing services to meet the complex and growing demand of communities. The force’s neighbourhood policing plan follows national standards. Proactive and specialist officers support local teams. These specialist officers are effective at investigating crime and protecting vulnerable people from exploitation. Victims receive support from an extensive victim and witness hub, which is positive practice.

The force has done a lot to improve its ability to investigate crime. But it doesn’t yet consistently supervise all crime investigations. It has made changes that should result in improvements. Its demand hub works well – it carries out several functions, including managing incident demand and investigating 40 percent of reported crime. The force has a good structure that helps it meet the demands of serious and complex crime investigation.

It is good at identifying and understanding vulnerability. It works well with partner organisations to do this. It is improving its ability to identify and respond quickly to victims of domestic abuse. But victims of other priority crimes such as burglary can still experience delays. The force is good at identifying and supporting people suffering a mental health crisis.

In 2017, we judged the force to be good at tackling serious and organised crime.

View the five questions for effectiveness


How efficiently does the force operate and how sustainable are its services to the public?

Last updated 20/01/2020

Cambridgeshire Constabulary is good at operating efficiently and providing a sustainable service to the public.

The force has a clear understanding of the demand for its services. It doesn’t suppress demand. It listens to both the public and its workforce, and acts on feedback. It understands what influences demand. Its new policing model gives priority to the types of demand that represent the greatest risk to the public. Its simplified force structure helps it establish and allocate demand more clearly. It has also invested in technology to improve its efficiency.

The force is able to consider a range of likely scenarios to guide future predictions of demand. It works closely with a range of partner organisations and experts to get a clear understanding of the effect of that demand on public services. It consults the public using a variety of methods. It has carefully designed its policing model, and its workforce plans are in line with force priorities. It continues to recruit to meet the number of officers and staff it needs. But it should make sure it has enough people working in human resources (HR) to support its plans.

The force understands the costs of its services. It has a good track record for financial planning and is on target to achieve the necessary savings. Its collaboration with neighbouring forces helps it provide a more cost-effective service.

View the two questions for efficiency


How legitimately does the force treat the public and its workforce?

Last updated 20/01/2020

Cambridgeshire Constabulary is good in the way it treats the public and its workforce.

It is good at behaving ethically and lawfully. It encourages a culture of learning. Its workforce has a good awareness of most corruption issues, but the force needs to train its officers and staff on the abuse of position for a sexual purpose. Officers and staff know how to challenge unethical conduct.

The force has recently made encouraging progress in improving its vetting procedures. It is good at tackling corruption. It can identify those who are potentially at risk of being corrupted and is effective at taking early action to intervene. It works with other organisations to look for signs of officers or staff abusing their position for a sexual purpose.

In 2017, we judged that the force was good at treating the public fairly. But it still needs to get better at monitoring its stop-and-search data. It needs to develop a better understanding of whether its find rates differ between people from different ethnicities and across different types of searches.

In 2017, we judged that the force was good at treating its workforce fairly.

View the three questions for legitimacy

Other inspections

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.

Other reports

Last updated 20/01/2020

We have not published any other reports about Cambridgeshire in this PEEL cycle.

View other reports

Key facts – 2019/20

Force Area

1,311 square miles


0.86m people
up8% local 10 yr change


93% frontline police officers
92% national level
2.90 per 1000 population
3.69 national level
down1% 10yr change in local workforce
down5% 10yr national change

Victim-based crimes

0.06 per person
0.06 national level
up13% Local 5 year trend
up9% National 5 year trend


48p per person per day local
59p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

  • The force prioritises its activity where harm is greatest. There is an emphasis on protecting the vulnerable by targeting the criminals who prey on them.
  • The force is part of a pioneering strategic alliance with Bedfordshire Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary to help meet the challenges of increasing demand and achieving value for money.

Police and crime plan priorities

A PCP sets out the police and crime commissioner’s (PCC’s) priorities for policing and the resources the PCC has allocated to the chief constable for achieving these priorities.