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Hertfordshire 2018/19

Read more about Hertfordshire

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

Hertfordshire Constabulary was inspected in tranche two 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 – Hertfordshire Constabulary

Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary

HMI's observations

I am pleased with Hertfordshire Constabulary’s performance in keeping people safe and reducing crime.

Since our last inspection the force has improved how it handles victims’ reports of crime. It now receives and investigates these reports better. It has also improved how it identifies and supports vulnerable people.

Senior leaders understand well the complexity and scale of current and future demand. The force has worked to be more efficient. It has reorganised officers and staff to better meet demand. Sustainable financial plans are in place, including to increase its officer numbers.

The force is consulting widely with its communities to better understand their concerns. It continues to uphold an ethical culture and promote standards of professional behaviour well.

Overall, I commend Hertfordshire Constabulary 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 27/09/2019

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

It is good at investigating crime. It is organised to meet the growing challenges posed by issues such as gang-related violence, child sexual exploitation and cyber crime.

The force is well organised in the way it allocates and investigates crimes. However, in our 2017 effectiveness report (PDF document), we noted that the quality of its investigations was variable. This has since improved. It robustly monitors incidents where a victim may be vulnerable. We are impressed by the support it gives to repeat victims of low-level domestic abuse in particular.

Following a peer review, Hertfordshire Constabulary has increased the number of investigators who deal with rape and other serious sexual offences. It is also analysing how it can better serve victims.

Lately, the force has been carrying out more evidence-led prosecutions. This is a result of its officers’ skill in building such cases when victims are reluctant to co-operate.

The force is highly effective in pursuing suspects of crime. And it is developing innovative practices involving female offenders and prolific, non-violent offenders.

Hertfordshire Constabulary is good at protecting vulnerable people. It is good at understanding and identifying vulnerability, including hidden harm. It responds swiftly to incidents involving vulnerable people.

Under the banner of Operation Sceptre, it has adopted a noteworthy approach to preventing knife and gang-related crime. It also seeks to prevent the unnecessary criminalisation of young people in Hertfordshire.

In 2017, the force needed to review its effective use of body-worn video. It now consistently monitors the use and effectiveness of this.

It is making more effective use of police bail with conditions, leading to better protection for vulnerable victims.

It is well organised in the way it manages convicted, high-risk sexual and violent offenders who pose a risk to vulnerable people.

In 2017, we judged Hertfordshire Constabulary to be good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour, and 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 27/09/2019

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

The force has a thorough understanding of demand, including growth in youth-related and cyber-based crime. It uses innovative models, drawing on a range of data, to identify current and emerging demand.

It has a demand management strategy and action plan to 2025 and has worked to understand the county’s current and future demographics. Its swift response to the rise in county lines criminality is noteworthy.

The change team carries out analysis to make improvements within the force. A recent change to shift patterns in the control room will ensure good response times during times of peak demand.

The force keeps a strong and visible local police presence and is active in community safety partnerships. A forthcoming IT project will see it gathering the public’s views about what matters to them.

Hertfordshire Constabulary continues to recruit to meet the optimum numbers of personnel for its policing model. Significant investments include the recruitment of 75 officers to local policing roles. These will include county lines, cyber crime and specialist safeguarding officers.

The force’s financial plans are based on prudent assumptions. Its tri-force strategic alliance with Bedfordshire Police and Cambridgeshire Constabulary results in significant savings and adds resilience to each force.

In 2017, we identified understanding of leadership skills and leadership development as areas for improvement. The force now has a plan for these. It has also shown a willingness to adopt new approaches to developing its workforce.

In 2017, we judged Hertfordshire Constabulary as good at meeting current demands and using resources.

View the two questions for efficiency


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

Last updated 27/09/2019

Hertfordshire Constabulary is good at behaving ethically and lawfully. Officers and staff understand that ethics underpin everything they do. The force emphasises the Code of Ethics, which is a feature in all force training events. A regional ethics board is responsible for governance, but matters addressed don’t yet sufficiently involve the views of the workforce.

The force doesn’t yet fully comply with all elements of national vetting standards. It does take its vetting responsibilities seriously, however.

It is good at identifying and tackling corruption. While its current staffing levels can deal only reactively with incoming intelligence, it does have enough capacity and capability within specialist teams that seek out and tackle corruption.

At the time of our inspection, the force was re-prioritising part of its corruption prevention work to focus on supporting victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

In 2017, we judged Hertfordshire Constabulary to be good at treating both 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.

Other reports

Last updated 27/09/2019

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

View other reports

Key facts – 2019/20

Force Area

634 square miles


1.2m people
up8% local 10 yr change


93% frontline police officers
92% national level
3.24 per 1000 population
3.69 national level
up1% 10yr change in local workforce
down5% 10yr national change

Victim-based crimes

0.05 per person
0.06 national level
up10% 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

  • The 1.18 million population continues to increase, making it the most densely populated non-metropolitan area in England. 19.2 % of residents are from ethnic minority groups.
  • The force collaborates strongly with Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire to provide protective services and other functions that increase effectiveness and efficiency.

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.