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Essex 2018/19

Read more about Essex

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

Essex Police was inspected in tranche one 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 – Essex Police

Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary

HMI's observations

I am pleased with the performance of Essex Police in keeping people safe and reducing crime.

The force is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. It is good at investigating crime and has continued to improve how it identifies and protects vulnerable people. It does this through more effective joint working with partners and greater use of protective powers.

Essex Police is ambitious in its planning for the future and wants to be at the forefront of innovative practice. The force understands its demand well. It uses this information to develop robust financial and workforce plans to make sure it uses its resources as efficiently as possible.

The force continues to uphold an ethical culture and promote standards of professional behaviour well. But it has more to do to assure itself that it has the capacity and capability to root out corruption.

Overall, I commend Essex Police for sustaining its positive 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?

Last updated 02/05/2019

Essex Police is good at reducing crime and keeping people safe.

The force is good at investigating crime. Its investigations give satisfactory results. In 2017, we found the force should supervise investigations better. Its specialist departments have got better at guiding and supervising investigations. But investigations by uniformed response officers could be improved with better guidance.

Essex Police is good at protecting vulnerable people. It identifies vulnerability when people first contact the police. It actively looks for hidden harm. Increasing demand has stretched the force’s ability to respond to emergency and non-emergency calls. But it is working to rectify this by increasing capacity and improving efficiency.

In 2017, we assessed the force as good at:

  • preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour; and
  • 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 02/05/2019

Essex Police is good at operating efficiently and providing a sustainable service to the public.

It is good at meeting current demands and using resources. It analyses demand routinely. The high levels of demand put pressure on officers and some internal procedures make this worse. The force’s improvement programme is seeking better ways of working, including more joint working that will reduce demand.

The force is good at planning for the future. The demand forecasts it made in the past have proved accurate. It invests in ‘spend to save’ projects. These will help it free up capacity and funds that can be used in other priority areas. The force tells the public about its work and understands their expectations.

View the two questions for efficiency


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

Last updated 02/05/2019

Essex Police is good at treating the public and its workforce legitimately.

The force’s counter-corruption strategy is effective. In tackling abuse of position for a sexual purpose, it is improving links with organisations that support vulnerable victims of crime.

Less positively, the force needs to improve how it ensures its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. We saw the force has an ethical culture. But it failed to vet its workforce before the national deadline, despite hard work by the vetting unit. It says it will be up to date by late spring 2019.

In 2017, we assessed the force as good at treating the public and 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.

Key facts – 2019/20

Force Area

1,417 square miles


1.86m people
up8% local 10 yr change


94% frontline police officers
92% national level
3.04 per 1000 population
3.69 national level
down6% 10yr change in local workforce
down5% 10yr national change

Victim-based crimes

0.07 per person
0.06 national level
up21% Local 5 year trend
up9% National 5 year trend


47p per person per day local
59p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

  • With the second lowest cost of policing nationally, our ambition to improve service quality by maximising very limited resources is a significant challenge.
  • Increasing volume and complexity of crime is causing a high demand for services.

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.