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Devon and Cornwall 2018/19

Read more about Devon and Cornwall

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

Devon and Cornwall Police 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.

Download the full report

PEEL: Police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy 2018/19 – Devon and Cornwall Police

Wendy Williams, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary

Contact Wendy Williams

HMI's observations

I am very pleased with the performance of Devon and Cornwall Police in keeping people safe and reducing crime and, in particular, with the improvement in its effectiveness.

The force prevents crime and tackles anti-social behaviour well. Since the last inspection, it has improved how it responds to and protects vulnerable people, working closely with partners to ensure it safeguards victims. But it needs to improve the way it investigates crime through better management of suspects and more effective supervision.

The force’s accuracy in terms of recording crime is assessed as good, and it has made improvements since the last inspection.

Devon and Cornwall Police has a good understanding of current demands for its services. It is using this information to develop sustainable financial and workforce plans for the future – which include a programme to collaborate with neighbouring forces to provide a range of services for support functions.

The force continues to uphold an ethical culture and promote the standards of professional behaviour it expects. However, I am concerned that the collection and monitoring of data to effectively manage performance in its custody facilities is insufficient.

Overall, I commend Devon and Cornwall Police for the progress it has made over the past year, which provides a strong foundation for continuing improvement in the year ahead.


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

Last updated 20/01/2020

Devon and Cornwall Police is effective at keeping people safe.

The quality and supervision of its investigations are better. But more consistent improvement is needed across the force. Workloads are high in some specialist investigation teams and vacancies are affecting capacity in some teams.

All frontline staff now have body-worn video cameras. These are being used to protect vulnerable people.

The force has made good progress in training staff on disclosure. This gives the defence copies of or access to material that could help it or undermine the prosecution case.

The force is good at protecting vulnerable people. The workforce recognises vulnerability and officers attend incidents quickly. But there are delays in responding to some non-emergency calls for service, which the force is addressing.

In 2017, we judged the force to be good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour. We also judged it 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

Devon and Cornwall Police is good in terms of its efficiency and sustainability.

It has detailed plans for the future. These are based on analysis from a range of data. There is a culture of continuous improvement, which senior leaders actively support.

The force works with many organisations to help safeguard vulnerable people. These include the emergency services, local authorities and universities.

The force has a balanced budget for the 2019/20 financial year. Its financial plans are realistic and have been subject to external review. It has a good track record of making savings. This is supported by a change programme, shared with Dorset Police.

View the two questions for efficiency


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

Last updated 20/01/2020

Devon and Cornwall Police is good in terms of its legitimacy, and how it treats the public and its workforce.

The force is good at treating the public fairly. The force has an ethical culture. And officers and staff make fair and ethical decisions.

Senior officers check all incidents in which force is used. And public consultation informs policy reviews.

Senior officers review when stop and search powers are used. And they seek external scrutiny as a way to build trust and confidence. The force now offers better training and guidance in this area. But more work is needed to make sure the workforce understands what reasonable grounds are.

The force’s approach to tackling corruption is mostly reactive. Its counter-corruption unit (CCU) has limited capacity to work proactively. Outdated
IT systems also hold it back.

Devon and Cornwall Police is good at treating its workforce fairly. Chief officers are approachable, receptive to feedback and involve the workforce in matters of organisational justice.

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.

Key facts – 2019/20

Force Area

3,967 square miles


1.79m people
up7% local 10 yr change


92% frontline police officers
92% national level
2.92 per 1000 population
3.69 national level
down9% 10yr change in local workforce
down5% 10yr national change

Victim-based crimes

0.04 per person
0.06 national level
up11% Local 5 year trend
up9% National 5 year trend


50p per person per day local
59p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

  • Devon and Cornwall covers an area of 4,000 square miles, with over 500 square miles of moorland, over 700 miles of coastline and 13,600 miles of roads.
  • The population significantly increases with 45 million overnight visitor stays each year, which increases the demand on services and infrastructure.

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.