Our inspection assessed how good Lincolnshire Police is in 11 areas of policing. We make graded judgments in 10 of these 11 as follows:
We also inspected how effective a service Lincolnshire Police gives to victims of crime. We don’t make a graded judgment in this overall area.
We set out our detailed findings about things the force is doing well and where the force should improve in the rest of this report.
Important changes to PEEL
In 2014, we introduced our police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy (PEEL) inspections, which assess the performance of all 43 police forces in England and Wales. Since then, we have been continuously adapting our approach and during the past year we have seen the most significant changes yet.
We now use a more intelligence-led, continual assessment approach, rather than the annual PEEL inspections we used in previous years. For instance, we have integrated our rolling crime data integrity inspections into these PEEL assessments. Our PEEL victim service assessment also includes a crime data integrity element in at least every other assessment. We have also changed our approach to graded judgments. We now assess forces against the characteristics of good performance, set out in the PEEL Assessment Framework 2021/22, and we more clearly link our judgments to causes of concern and areas for improvement. We have also expanded our previous four-tier system of judgments to five tiers. As a result, we can state more precisely where we consider improvement is needed and highlight more effectively the best ways of doing things.
However, these changes mean that it isn’t possible to make direct comparisons between the grades awarded in this round of PEEL inspections with those from previous years. A reduction in grade, particularly from good to adequate, doesn’t necessarily mean that there has been a reduction in performance, unless we say so in the report.
HM Inspector’s observations
I am satisfied with some aspects of the performance of Lincolnshire Police in keeping people safe and reducing crime, but there are areas where the force needs to improve.
These are the findings I consider most important from our assessments of the force over the last year.
Crime recording needs to improve
The force requires improvement in recording crime. The force needs to improve its crime recording processes to make sure crimes reported to it are recorded correctly – particularly those related to violent offences, domestic abuse or behavioural crime.
The force must improve how it responds to the public
The force doesn’t currently have the capacity in its call handling teams to meet the demand for service promptly. It doesn’t answer non-urgent calls effectively and so it has a high call abandonment rate. Its response to vulnerable people isn’t consistent and isn’t always based on an effective risk assessment. I note that the force has a plan to increase staff numbers in its control room to help manage this demand.
The supervision of investigations is inconsistent and needs to improve for the force to be able to give victims a good service
Some investigations lack supervisory oversight. Investigative opportunities are being missed and not all investigations are being dealt with promptly. This may result in a lack of victim confidence and offenders not being brought to justice.
The force needs to improve how it scrutinises officers’ use of force
The force doesn’t fully understand its use of force. It needs to improve recording so it can analyse the tactics used and if they are being applied fairly and consistently. External scrutiny and transparent reporting will help the force build trust and confidence from the public and provide learning opportunities for officers.
The force should review how it manages sex offenders
Lincolnshire Police needs to improve its management of sex offenders. It should make sure it has the capacity and capability to mitigate the risk that sex offenders pose to the public.
The culture of the force has improved
Leadership of the force is inclusive and ethical. Staff feel valued and have a sense of belonging. It is pleasing to see that workforce well-being and positive workplace culture are at the heart of everything the force is trying to achieve.
I acknowledge that the force is on a journey, having recently exited a ten-year contract with a private provider. It is also undertaking significant programmes of changes across the organisation, which are designed to improve service for the public. Historically, Lincolnshire Police has been one of the lowest-funded forces in England and Wales, and this is still the case. The report should be read in this context.
My report sets out the detailed findings of this inspection. While I acknowledge the good work officers and staff have already carried out to keep the public safe, I look forward to monitoring the force’s progress towards addressing the areas for improvement I have outlined.
HM Inspector of Constabulary
Reducing crime assessment
We have identified seven themes underpinning a force’s ability to reduce crime effectively which, taken together, allow an assessment of the extent to which the force is doing all it can to reduce crime. This is a narrative assessment, as police recorded crime figures can be affected by variations and changes in recording policy and practice, making it difficult to make comparisons over time.
Lincolnshire Police’s analytical capacity is limited. It therefore struggles to make best use of data and analysis to establish, tackle and prevent crime and antisocial behaviour.
It has strong and effective strategic relationships with local authority partners and continues to develop them at a tactical level. The force needs to make sure that all its partnerships are effective. Each agency should remain accountable for its own demand, while continuing to work collaboratively towards common issues.
Effective recording of crime underpins the force’s ability to understand threat, risk and harm, as well as its demand. Accurate recording demonstrates legitimate policing and transparency to the public.
Other factors contributing to the force’s ability to reduce crime are:
- answering emergency calls (999) for service promptly;
- diversionary opportunities for young people at risk of criminalisation;
- reducing reoffending through its integrated offender management programme; and
- officers’ ability to recognise vulnerability, put safeguarding in place and share public protection notices with partner agencies for ongoing support.
I am pleased that the force is addressing the right areas of policing toreduce crime.
But the following areas may negatively affect the force’s ability to reduce crime:
- The force doesn’t always record reports of violent crime, particularly domestic abuse and behavioural crimes.
- The force needs to ensure that outstanding suspects are arrested promptly to prevent further risk.
- The force doesn’t always identify repeat or vulnerable victims at the first point of contact.
- Call handlers don’t always use the THRIVE risk assessment to prioritise the force’s response to incidents.
- The force doesn’t always give crime prevention or scene preservation advice at the first point of contact.
Until the force improves its recording of violent crime, recognition of vulnerability at the first point of contact and prompt management of outstanding suspects, it won’t be able to effectively reduce crime.
Providing a service to the victims of crime
Victim service assessment
This section describes our assessment of the service Lincolnshire Police provides
to victims. This is from the point of reporting a crime and throughout the investigation. As part of this assessment, we reviewed 90 case files.
When the police close a case of a reported crime, it will be assigned what is referred to as an ‘outcome type’. This describes the reason for closing it.
We also reviewed 20 cases each when the following outcome types were used:
- A suspect was identified, and the victim supported police action, but evidential difficulties prevented further action (outcome 15).
- A suspect was identified, but there were evidential difficulties, and the victim didn’t support or withdrew their support for police action (outcome 16).
- The police decided that further investigation against a named suspect wasn’t in the public interest (outcome 21).
While this assessment is ungraded, it influences graded judgments in the other areas we have inspected.
The force answers emergency calls quickly but needs to improve the time it takes to answer non-emergency calls and identify repeat and vulnerable victims
When a victim contacts the police, it is important that their call is answered quickly and that the right information is recorded accurately on police systems. The caller should be spoken to in a professional manner. The information should be assessed, taking into consideration threat, harm, risk and vulnerability. And the victim should receive appropriate safeguarding advice.
The force answers emergency calls quickly but needs to improve the time it takes to answer non-emergency calls. When calls are answered, a structured triage approach to assess risk isn’t always used and the victim’s vulnerability isn’t always assessed. Repeat victims aren’t always identified, which means this information isn’t considered when considering the response. Call handlers don’t always give victims advice on how to prevent crime and preserve evidence.
The force doesn’t always respond promptly to calls for service
A force should aim to respond to calls for service within its published time frames, on the basis of the level of prioritisation given to the call. It should change the call priority only if the original prioritisation is deemed inappropriate, or if further information suggests a change is needed. The response should take into consideration risk and victim vulnerability, including information obtained after the call.
On all occasions, the force responds to calls by sending appropriately trained staff. But it doesn’t always respond within set time frames. Victims weren’t always informed of delays and so their expectations weren’t always met. This may cause victims to lose confidence and disengage from the process.
The force’s crime recording requires improvement to make sure victims receive an appropriate level of service
The force’s crime recording should be trustworthy. The force should be effective at recording reported crime in line with national standards and have effective systems and processes, supported by its leadership and culture.
The force needs to improve its crime recording processes to make sure that all crimes reported to it are recorded correctly and without delay.
We set out more detail about the force’s crime recording in the ‘crime data integrity’ section below.
The force allocates investigations to appropriate staff
All forces and constabularies should have a policy to make sure crimes are allocated to appropriately trained officers or staff for investigation or, if appropriate, not investigated further. The policy should be applied consistently. The victim of the crime should be kept informed of who is dealing with their case and whether the crime is to be investigated further.
We found that the force allocated recorded crimes for investigation in accordance with its policy. In nearly all cases, the crimes were allocated to the most appropriate department for further investigation.
The force doesn’t always carry out prompt or thorough investigations
Police forces should investigate reported crimes quickly, proportionately and thoroughly. Victims should be kept updated about the investigation and the force should have effective governance arrangements to make sure investigation standards are high.
In most cases, the force carried out investigations promptly but didn’t always complete all relevant and proportionate lines of inquiry. Investigations weren’t always effectively supervised and often didn’t have a clear investigation plan. Victims were usually updated throughout the investigation. Victims are more likely to have confidence in a police investigation when they receive regular updates.
A thorough investigation increases the likelihood of perpetrators being identified and a positive outcome for the victim. In most cases, victim personal statements were taken, which give victims the opportunity to describe how the crime has affected their lives.
When victims withdrew support for an investigation, the force didn’t always consider progressing the case without the victim’s support. This can be an important method of safeguarding the victim and preventing further offences from being committed. The force didn’t always consider using orders designed to protect victims, such as a domestic violence protection notice or domestic violence protection order.
The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime requires forces to carry out a needs assessment at an early stage to decide whether victims need additional support. The force doesn’t always carry out this assessment to consider victims’ needs for more support.
The force doesn’t always assign the right outcome type and while victims’ wishes are considered in most cases, an auditable record isn’t always held
The force should make sure it follows national guidance and rules for deciding the outcome type of each report of crime. In deciding the outcome type, the force should consider the nature of the crime, the offender and the victim. These decisions should be supported and overseen by leaders throughout the force.
When a suspect has been identified and the victim supports police action, but evidential difficulties prevent further action, the victim should be informed of the decision to close the investigation. Victims were always informed of the force’s decision to not take further action and close the investigation. However, the force often used outcome 15 incorrectly.
When a suspect has been identified but the victim doesn’t support or withdraws their support for police action, an auditable record from the victim, confirming their decision, should be held. This will allow the investigation to be closed. We found an auditable record of the victim’s decision was absent in some cases. This means that victims’ wishes may not be fully represented and considered before the investigation is closed.
When a suspect has been identified, and the police decide that further investigation isn’t in the public interest, the victim should be consulted and informed of the decision.
Victims were informed of the force’s decision to take no further investigative action and the outcome was used appropriately.
Crime data integrity
Lincolnshire Police requires improvement at recording crime.
We estimate that Lincolnshire Police is recording 88.2 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 2.7 percent) of all reported crime (excluding fraud). This is broadly unchanged compared with the findings from our 2020 inspection, where we found 90.3 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 1.7 percent). We estimate that, compared to the findings of our 2020 inspection, this deterioration means that the force recorded 1,300 fewer crimes for the 12 months to 31 March 2022. We estimate that the force didn’t record more than 7,200 crimes during the year covered by our inspection.
We estimate that the force is recording 84.6 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 4.3 percent) of violent offences. This is broadly unchanged from our 2020 inspection findings of 87.3 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 3.0 percent).
We estimate that the force is recording 98.1 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 2.4 percent) of sexual offences. This is broadly unchanged from our 2020 inspection findings of 98.6 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 0.9 percent).
Areas for improvement
The force often fails to record reports of violent crime, particularly domestic abuse and behavioural crimes
The force records an estimated 84.6 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 4.3 percent) of violent crime. In particular, it is failing to record harassment, stalking and controlling or coercive behaviour crimes. Some are domestic abuse crimes, which can involve vulnerable victims. The force must record crimes to ensure the victim is safeguarded and the offence is investigated.
Areas for improvement
The force needs to improve how it records crime when antisocial behaviour is reported
The force is failing to record crimes and tackle problems when antisocial behaviour is reported by victims. As part of our victim service assessment, we reviewed 49 antisocial behaviour personal incidents. From these incidents, we found that the force should have recorded 16 crimes but had recorded 3. Victims of antisocial behaviour often experience abuse and torment for substantial periods of time and crime is often committed by neighbours. Failing to record crimes and provide an effective service to tackle antisocial behaviour can mean victims live in fear in their own homes while being subjected to long-term abuse and torment by people living next door or in the local community.
Areas for improvement
The force needs to improve how it records equality data
The force’s data for victims of crime shows that age and gender are well recorded. Ethnicity is less well recorded and other protected characteristics are almost never recorded. The force should collect this information to understand the extent to which each protected group is affected by crime, how this differs from those without the protected characteristics, and whether a different approach is needed for these victims.
In this section, we set out our main findings that relate to how well the force records crime.
The force records sexual offences effectively
The force records sexual offences well. Sexual offences are some of the most serious crimes a victim can experience. It is very important that crimes are recorded accurately to make sure victims receive the service and support they expect and deserve. Although rape crimes are well recorded, the force should take more care to differentiate between an unconfirmed report of rape and a rape crime and ensure that none are missed or misclassified.
Recording data about crime
Lincolnshire Police requires improvement at recording crime.
Accurate crime recording is vital to providing a good service to the victims of crime. We inspected crime recording in Lincolnshire as part of our victim service assessments (VSAs). These track a victim’s journey from reporting a crime to the police, through to the outcome.
All forces are subject to a VSA within our PEEL inspection programme. In every other inspection forces will be assessed on their crime recording and given a separate grade.
You can see what we found in the ‘Providing a service to victims of crime’ section of this report.
Engaging with and treating the public with fairness and respect
Lincolnshire Police is adequate at treating people fairly and with respect.
Areas for improvement
The force should improve its internal and external scrutiny processes for use of force and use learning to ensure that it is being used fairly and appropriately
The force has plans to align its scrutiny of use of force to its existing arrangements for stop and search. But it lacks external scrutiny of use of force. This means the force is missing opportunities not only to improve but also to help communities understand how force is being used and to build trust and confidence.
It is important that forces maintain regular oversight of the way their officers use force. Monitoring comprehensive sets of data and information will help them to understand whether officers are using force appropriately, and the reasons for any disproportionate use on people from ethnic minority backgrounds. We found little evidence of Lincolnshire Police maintaining this regular oversight.
National guidance requires officers to make a record every time they use force. The force needs to improve in this area. Accurate records will allow it to better understand how, when and which tactics are being used. This will provide opportunities for improved learning.
Robust internal monitoring and external scrutiny will help to reassure the public that use of force powers are being used appropriately.
The force should remind itself of the outstanding national recommendations in our 2021 report, Disproportionate use of police powers – A spotlight on stop and search and the use of force.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to treating people fairly and with respect.
The force needs to continue to improve the way it understands the diverse needs of its communities
The resident population of Lincolnshire isn’t as culturally diverse as some other areas of England and Wales. There are central and eastern European cultures present in Lincoln, Boston and South Holland. Many tourists visit the county each year. This transient population is difficult to track and map culturally.
It is important that the force understands the diverse needs of its communities and works with them to build trust and confidence, so it can resolve local issues that are affecting them. The force has conducted a joint strategic needs assessment with local authority partners, which identifies, among other things, areas of high harm and poverty. Its bearing on local policing teams could be valuable. However, its current use by neighbourhood teams and those working with the public the most is limited. In addition, the force should update its community engagement profiles to further its understanding of the diversity of its communities.
We found some examples of officers and staff being proactive in establishing which communities are harder to reach and working to build relationships and trust with them. One example of this is in the east territorial policing area, where officers have been working with local factories and restaurants where a large population of Eastern Europeans work, raising awareness in relation to modern slavery, general safety and laws. This development of relationships is positive as it means communities will be more likely to contact the police when they are in need. We also found that in one area, a police community support officer had been supporting a local dementia charity to seek volunteering opportunities within businesses for those living with or diagnosed with dementia.
Where diverse communities have been established as such, the force has plans in place for working with them. But we found that the understanding of its communities is greater in some areas of the force than others. The force recognises that there are some gaps in understanding, and that it can’t say with confidence that the diversity of its communities, especially those that are harder to reach, is fully known.
While there is still work to do, we are reassured by the activity that the force is carrying out in this key area.
The force empowers local people to get involved in local policing activity
Lincolnshire Police has a strong volunteer structure at various locations. As at 31 March 2022, the force had 168 police support volunteers and 137 special constables.
The force has an effective Mini Police programme. The programme aims to help young people better understand policing and the effect crime and antisocial behaviour has on communities. It is currently working with over 100 of the most deprived schools in the county.
The force also supports the running of stay-safe workshops. This is a multi-agency approach to supplying preventative education to primary, secondary, alternative, and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provisions across Lincolnshire. Every year, the partnership gives evidence-based preventative education on Lincolnshire issues. The force told us that it sees over 19,000 children aged 11–19 and over 12,000 aged 6–11.
The force needs to give refresher training to all frontline officers and supervisors to maintain stop and search standards
A person who is searched is entitled to know what information or circumstances caused the officer to suspect they were in possession of the item being looked for. So, it is important that these reasons are clear and officers accurately record and convey them.
The force provides stop and search training to all student officers. Updates and changes in legislation or practice are given via electronic learning systems. At the time of inspection, there was limited evidence of any refresher training provided to longer-serving officers.
During our inspection, we reviewed a sample of 163 stop and search records from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021. On the basis of this sample, we estimate that 82.2 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 5.7 percent) of all stop and searches by the force during this period had reasonable grounds recorded. This is broadly unchanged compared with the findings from our previous review of records in 2019, where we found 87.9 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 4.1) of stop and searches had reasonable grounds recorded. Of the records we reviewed for stop and searches on people from ethnic minorities, 9 of 11 had reasonable grounds recorded.
In addition to this, our review of body-worn video footage of officers’ encounters with the public was reassuring. We saw people being dealt with politely, respectfully and fairly. It is essential that officers understand the importance of treating people with fairness and respect, as these values are fundamental to legitimate policing. Increased training, closer supervision and consistent reviews of body-worn video will raise standards further, resulting in communities feeling more confident that they are being treated fairly.
Preventing crime and anti-social behaviour
Lincolnshire Police is adequate at prevention and deterrence.
Areas for improvement
The force should make sure problem-solving activity is consistently documented, evaluated and shared to improve the prevention of crime and antisocial behaviour, as well as develop organisational learning
In our last inspection in 2019, we identified that the force should better evaluate and share problem-solving plans. In this inspection we found that evaluation and sharing of problem-solving plans were still limited.
The force must better evaluate its problem-solving activities and make sure staff are aware of what works.
The force is proactive in its approach to safeguarding vulnerable fraud victims
Operation Revive is a scheme made up of volunteers who visit vulnerable and elderly victims or potential victims of fraud. The volunteers give reassurance and crime prevention and safety advice to raise awareness and help prevent them from being a repeat victim.
The force has invested in a pilot problem-solving initiative for the wider organisation
The force has invested in an initiative to motivate, empower and develop individuals within its workforce. The idea behind the programme is to think of existing organisational challenges in the force and for groups of officers and police staff to work together to come up with solutions within a set period. At the time of our inspection, the initiative had found opportunities for improvements within its missing person investigations, developed an improved investigation handover guide, created a peer support network and worked on several other initiatives. The evaluation of the pilot produced positive findings.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to prevention and deterrence.
The force is improving its approach to neighbourhood policing
The force’s neighbourhood policing structure follows the College of Policing’s relevant guidelines. This includes having police officers and staff accessible and accountable to communities. This structure, which has improved since the last inspection, provides a good basis for the force to continue to prioritise the prevention of crime, antisocial behaviour and vulnerability, as well as developing its community work and becoming more effective at working with other organisations and the public.
Neighbourhood staff are deployed to manage neighbourhood demand
Most of the time, we found that frontline neighbourhood staff were deployed to areas where they could work with communities, offering reassurance and building confidence in the force. We found little evidence of neighbourhood staff being used to provide cover for other teams.
Neighbourhood teams use a multi-agency case management system called Empowering Communities with Integrated Network Systems to record problem-solving plans
Neighbourhood policing teams use the Empowering Communities with Integrated Network Systems case management system to record their problem-solving plans across the force. They have a problem-solving hub helping with recording, auditing and managing the plans. Staff within the hub would benefit from enhanced problem-solving and evidence-based policing training to make them more effective.
The local authority and other partners have access to Empowering Communities with Integrated Network Systems but staff reported inconsistent use of it. The force told us that a new working group was being established to find opportunities for improvement. Joint problem-solving with partners and communities is essential for achieving long-term sustainable outcomes.
Responding to the public
Lincolnshire Police requires improvement at responding to the public.
Areas for improvement
The force should improve how it responds to non-emergency public calls for service and reduce the abandonment rate so that fewer callers disengage
The number of calls to the force 101 service that are abandoned is above the required standard.
The force has acted positively on feedback and has produced an action plan to address the issues raised. It is also planning on increasing the number of staff working in its control room during 2023. However, until these improvements are addressed, victims of crime and those requesting a service will continue to experience delays. Delays in calls being answered will lead to more calls being abandoned and ultimately reduce public confidence in the force’s ability to respond.
Areas for improvement
The force should make sure that repeat and vulnerable callers are routinely identified and recorded
Checks to establish if a caller was a repeat victim weren’t carried out in 23 of 71 cases we reviewed. And where the person was a repeat victim, this wasn’t recorded in 2 of 16 cases. Some identification of vulnerability is being missed, and victims may not receive adequate safeguarding to protect them from future harm.
Areas for improvement
The force needs to make sure that call takers give appropriate advice on crime prevention and the preservation of evidence
Victims weren’t given advice on preventing crime in 22 of 49 cases we reviewed or preserving evidence in 13 of 35 cases. This may lead to losing evidence that would support an investigation and missing opportunities to prevent further crimes against the victim.
Areas for improvement
The force should respond to calls for service within its published time frames based on the call prioritisation, record the reason for the delay and update victims
The force has a graded response policy, which is clearly defined. We found a consistent approach in the allocation of incidents to the appropriate team. However, 34 of 57 response and attendance incidents were within the force’s own target time frame, with callers left without a response for several days in some instances.
Also, the force isn’t always updating victims to inform them of the delay. Not attending calls promptly increases the likelihood of evidence being lost, which can have a negative impact on victims and reduce confidence in the police.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to how well the force responds to the public.
The force is effective at answering emergency calls
On 31 May 2022, the Home Office published data on 999 call answering times. Call answering time is the time taken for a call to be transferred from British Telecom to a force, and the time taken by that force to answer it. In England and Wales, forces should aim to answer 90 percent of these calls within 10 seconds. We have used this data to assess how quickly forces answer 999 calls. We do acknowledge, however, that this data has only been published recently. As such, we recognise that forces may need time to consider any differences between the data published by the Home Office and their own.
Between 1 November 2021 and 31 July 2022, Lincolnshire Police answered 87.6 percent of 999 calls received within 10 seconds. Although this was below the standard of answering 90 percent within 10 seconds, this was the 4th highest proportion across all forces in England and Wales.
Figure 1: Proportion of 999 calls answered in under 10 seconds by forces in England and Wales from 1 November 2021 to 31 July 2022
Note: The Metropolitan Police receives 999 calls for the whole of London. As such, City of London Police isn’t included in this chart.
Call takers use THRIVE to assess victims’ vulnerability during initial calls, but this assessment could be more thorough
When a victim contacts the police, it is important that all information is properly recorded and assessed, taking into consideration THRIVE criteria. We found the application of the risk assessment to be inconsistent. In some instances, it wasn’t used at all, which sometimes resulted in inappropriate gradings of incidents. Call takers should make a more thorough assessment of the caller’s vulnerability to inform the prioritisation given to the call and ensure the best response.
The force is making improvements to better understand current and future demand
The force is improving its approach to performance and demand management after introducing Qlik, an analytics and data integration platform. Once fully developed, Qlik will help supervisors and senior leaders to monitor demand and productivity across multiple areas.
The force has recently introduced a new command and control system within the control room, called Guardian. The system can provide mapping and location data to improve the effectiveness of deployments across the force area. Unfortunately the system was introduced towards the end of our inspection activity so we couldn’t observe its full potential. The force is confident it will provide more efficient ways of working and improve the service to the public.
There are few methods for the public to contact the force beyond 999 and 101, with limited routes through Single Online Home. Once Guardian is in full use, the force is hoping to add a digital desk within its control room to help with contact and interactions resulting from various social media platforms.
The force reports that increasing mental health demand is affecting resources
In the year ending 31 March 2022, the force recorded 5,633 incidents involving mental health concerns. This represents 7.4 incidents per 1,000 population, compared to the England and Wales rate of 10.0 incidents per 1,000 population.
Sometimes interactions involving mental health concerns result in the need to remove a person from where they are, and for them to be taken to a place of safety under section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983. In the year ending 31 March 2021, the force detained 0.84 individuals per 1,000 population under section 136. This is above the England and Wales average of 0.52 detentions per 1,000 population, and places Lincolnshire in the top 6 forces for its use of section 136.
Figure 2: Individuals detained by forces under section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983 per 1,000 population in England and Wales in the year ending 31 March 2021
In the year ending 31 March 2021, 641 individuals were detained by Lincolnshire Police under section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983. Of those detained, 486 (76 percent) were taken to a place of safety in a police vehicle. In 34 percent of these 486 cases, an ambulance wasn’t requested to transport the detainee. And police risk assessments considered that police transportation was necessary in 37 percent of these cases due to the behaviour of the individual.
The force should reassure itself that its recording of mental health incidents is accurate. And it should make sure that officers are sufficiently trained in mental health risk assessments and are applying them appropriately. The force should only use police vehicles to transport detainees in the right circumstances. A better understanding of data in this area would help the force to understand and adapt to demand.
Lincolnshire Police requires improvement at investigating crime.
Areas for improvement
The force should make sure all crimes have appropriate investigation plans, with supervisory oversight ensuring that all investigative opportunities are taken promptly
As part of our victim service assessment, we found an absence of appropriate investigation plans, based on authorised professional practice guidance, in 21 of 47 cases we reviewed. In addition, 15 of 54 relevant cases we reviewed lacked supervisory oversight and direction, resulting in cases not being progressed promptly. This means that some investigations may fail, victims will be let down, offenders may evade justice and the force will be subject to further risk.
In our 2017 effectiveness report, we recommended that the force make sure that investigations are properly supervised. This recommendation was to improve quality and progress. This same point was raised in our 2018/19 PEEL report. The quality of supervision and guidance in cases was still a concern in our latest inspection.
Areas for improvement
The force needs to make sure that victim needs assessments are completed in compliance with the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime
The victim needs assessment is an established way to understand what support a person needs during the criminal justice process.
Victim needs assessments were completed in 26 of 52 cases we reviewed. This could lead to victims not getting the support they need to pursue prosecutions and losing faith in the criminal justice process. The force should consider how it can improve its processes so it becomes compliant Code of Practice for Victims of Crime and appropriately assesses the needs of all victims.
Areas for improvement
The force needs to put in place appropriate governance and monitoring processes to ensure appropriate use of outcomes and comply with force and national policies
Of the 20 uses of outcome 15 we reviewed, 9 were incorrect. And 4 of the 20 uses of outcome 21 that we reviewed were incorrect. Additionally, 6 of the 20 uses of outcome 16 we reviewed didn’t have the required auditable record of the victims’ wishes attached. In all areas, we recommend that the force needs to strengthen its processes to ensure these outcomes are robustly supervised and quality assured to comply with national and local guidelines. Effective use and supervision of outcomes will help the force better understand why cases aren’t progressing through the justice system.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to how well the force investigates crime.
The force needs to improve crime governance to solve the problems it has with capacity, capability and standards
The force recognises that the way that it investigates crime needs to be improved.
In the 12 months leading up to our inspection, a revised meeting structure was introduced to add impetus to the importance of investigations and investigative capability across the organisation. However, during our inspection, a number of these meetings were cancelled, resulting in little or no progress against the agenda.
During the same period, the force developed and implemented a crime standards team to improve the overall standard of its investigations. The crime standards team has conducted several audits, reviewed practices and highlighted staff training needs. While some improvements have been recognised, other efforts disappointingly haven’t resulted in any noticeable difference. For example, the supervisor reviews continue to be inconsistent. The force should ensure the team has the appropriate skill sets, capacity and capability to establish and address areas for improvement in a sustainable way across all disciplines.
The crime command has limited performance data, which is a significant challenge for the force in understanding its performance and demand. Supervisors are reliant on performance data through the Qlik analytics and data integration platform. However, the platform’s current capability focuses on individual and team workloads, and wider data capabilities are under development.
To help manage demand and focus time and effort on investigations where a positive outcome for victims is more likely, the force has introduced a proportionate investigation policy. Early indications are that the policy is encouraging staff to finalise investigations more quickly and creating capacity for them to deal with other matters.
The force conducted a crime review across its investigation departments. The review considered both capacity and capability. The proposed changes were due to be introduced in January 2023, outside our inspection window. We will follow this up at a later date. The review was designed to help better align resources, manage demand and ensure investigations are dealt with by appropriately trained resources.
The force needs to continue its efforts to ensure appropriate and effective investigation standards.
The focus on continuing professional development for investigators is improving
Staff within the crime departments spoke positively about the improvements the force has made towards continuing professional development.
The force has introduced a twice-yearly detective conference where internal and external speakers provide training sessions on various subject matters. Also, joint training opportunities are provided with the crown prosecution service, ensuring a consistent approach for victims.
The force should make sure it documents whether evidence-led prosecutions have been considered in all relevant cases
Of the 11 relevant cases we reviewed, we found 6 cases where evidence-led prosecutions had been considered, but there were missed opportunities in the remaining 5 cases. The force should make sure it consistently documents whether evidence-led prosecutions have been considered in all cases where the victim has withdrawn support. This will help to fully understand whether opportunities to protect a victim from future harm or bring offenders to justice have been missed.
Protecting vulnerable people
Lincolnshire Police is adequate at protecting vulnerable people.
Areas for improvement
The force needs to improve how it meets national standards in relation to the use of the domestic violence disclosure scheme
In March 2014, the domestic violence disclosure scheme, often referred to as Clare’s Law, was implemented across all police forces in England and Wales.
The scheme has two elements: the ‘right to ask’ and the ‘right to know’. Under the scheme, an individual or relevant third party (for example, a family member) can ask the police to check whether a current or ex-partner has a violent or abusive past. This is the ‘right to ask’. If records show that an individual may be at risk of domestic abuse from a partner or ex-partner, the police will consider disclosing the information.
The ‘right to know’ element allows the police to make a disclosure on their own initiative if they receive information about the violent or abusive behaviour of a person that may affect the safety of that person’s current or ex-partner.
Standards set out the expectations for all forces when processing domestic violence disclosure scheme requests, with particular reference to the time scales associated with the disclosure of information. The force currently has a significant backlog of requests to consider. It should make sure it follows the standards. It should also improve its process and timeliness for making disclosures so individuals are appropriately safeguarded, risk is reduced and further offences are prevented.
Areas for improvement
The force should consider protective powers and orders in all appropriate cases, and proactively monitor them to ensure ongoing victim safeguarding
During inspection we found that the force wasn’t always considering preventative measures, such as domestic violence protection notices and domestic violence protection orders, in all appropriate cases. We also found limited evidence of ongoing monitoring of such orders when they had been granted. This may mean that victims remain at risk, offenders continue to commit further offences, and the force doesn’t understand its true demand in this area.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to how well the force protects vulnerable people.
Victims of crime are signposted to appropriate support agencies
The force works in partnership with several statutory and third-sector organisations that provide aftercare for victims of crime. An automated referral process has been created to decide the best support service based on the crime type. Victims can choose to opt out of the service. The force suggests that referrals and uptake in services have increased since the process was introduced.
Agencies spoke positively about the relationships they have with the force and the volume of referrals sent through.
The force shares information with schools when children are exposed to domestic abuse
The force has a well-established Operation Encompass process for sharing safeguarding information with schools when children are exposed to domestic abuse. The force reported a positive relationship with the schools, ensuring appropriate safeguarding for children.
The force works with other organisations to keep vulnerable people safe
The multi-agency risk assessment conference (MARAC) is effective. It has good partnership representation at its meetings managing threat, harm and risk. But it is unclear what, if anything, occurs through MARAC for cases with repeat victims. Without a suitable intervention, victims remain at risk and may be subjected to further offences. This means that the force doesn’t understand its demand in this area or what interventions are successful. It may also mean that not all appropriate cases are being referred to MARAC. For example, in the year ending 30 June 2022, Lincolnshire Police discussed 983 MARAC cases. This was lower than the 1,220 cases anticipated by SafeLives, based on 40 cases per 10,000 women in the force area.
The force should reassure itself that the well-being support for staff involved in protecting vulnerable people is appropriate and effective
The force has recently completed an exercise to classify roles it considers as high risk. Additional well-being support for individuals performing high-risk roles is seen as best practice. All roles within the public protection command were classified as high risk.
In addition to the standard well-being provisions available to all staff, those within public protection receive annual psychological assessments, although these aren’t mandatory. The force told us that at the time of inspection, 128 staff had been offered the online questionnaire assessment but 60 had completed it. This may mean that individuals have been exposed to repeated traumatic incidents and may be suffering as a consequence. The force has responded well to concerns raised by the lack of resilience and support for the workforce within its protecting vulnerable persons department. The force has confirmed that it is increasing the number of officers in the department.
Managing offenders and suspects
Lincolnshire Police requires improvement at managing offenders and suspects.
Areas for improvement
The force should improve its performance reporting processes to ensure that outstanding suspects are considered during all daily management meetings including briefings, ensuring that failure to apprehend highest harm individuals promptly is met with scrutiny and accountability
The force has several outstanding suspects (not yet apprehended) named on crime reports and on the police national computer database. The force doesn’t have a clear understanding of the number of outstanding suspects it has, or any residual risk posed by the suspects. There is little oversight or scrutiny to manage and progress cases. Different teams and departments oversee the process in different ways and often in isolation.
Areas for improvement
The force should improve its performance monitoring and reporting processes within its police online investigation team and management of sexual and violent offenders teams to ensure it can recognise where risk needs to be mitigated in any backlog of work so that timely action can be taken
The force should introduce an effective performance framework within its police online investigation team and its management of sexual and violent offenders team. The data currently gathered lacks enough detail to assess risk. For example, the force knows the number of overdue registered sex offender visits it has, but it doesn’t record how long they are overdue. Similarly, the force can’t break down the data to understand how many cases within the police online investigation team need enforcement action, how old they are or the associated risk level.
Areas for improvement
The force should review its sex offender management practices to ensure it adheres to authorised professional practice in the use of double crewed officers making unannounced visits to registered sex offenders
The force doesn’t follow authorised professional practice in its management of registered sex offenders. This is evident from officers conducting visits alone and the habitual use of announced visits.
There is a risk in announcing home visits as well as officers conducting visits alone, including the destruction of evidence, manipulation by the offender, and officer safety. There is also a risk of reduction in the quality of the visit, as one officer, for example, must attempt to check electronic devices while monitoring the offender and their surroundings at the same time. Both practices limit the force’s ability to manage risk effectively and identify further offences.
The deviation from national guidance is due to high levels of demand. The force must be clear on what it expects from staff managing these offenders. If the force chooses to deviate from authorised professional practice, then appropriate rationale should be documented in its policy, including how it will mitigate any risk.
Areas for improvement
The force should make sure it has the capacity and capability to progress all investigations of online indecent images of children effectively and quickly, including referrals and those from peer-to-peer file sharing networks
The force has made substantial progress in reducing its backlog of cases within its police online investigation team. However, it needs to ensure that the measures taken are sustainable and pending cases are regularly reviewed against new information or any increased risk. It is equally important that the force’s investigative practice includes early involvement of children’s services. This is essential in sharing valuable information and affects how quickly effective safeguarding measures are taken.
At the time of inspection, the force didn’t make use of all available systems that detect the sharing of indecent image files. Following feedback, the force said that it intends to begin reviewing a small number of these files with the aim of reviewing more when it can increase the unit’s capacity. This is a positive step but more needs to be done.
The force has developed a wider safeguarding network
The force has a dedicated special constable within the police online investigation team who leads on developing its safeguarding network. The force told us that through this development work, it has identified 25 police officers with a passion for child safeguarding. Those officers have taken up voluntary roles to support this initiative whereby they conduct educational and diversionary visits to children who may have been involved in online image sharing and where the main concern is that of the child’s safety. The officers have had some specialist training to carry out this function. The dedicated victim identification officer, whose role is to identify victims of child abuse and present evidence suitable for suspect prosecution, is also involved. The dedicated officer ensures that images are placed on the child abuse identification database to ensure future safeguarding. This process also helps to remove demand from the police online investigation team.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to how well the force manages offenders and suspects.
The force identifies and manages arrested foreign nationals effectively
The force works with immigration enforcement to identify and manage arrested foreign nationals effectively. The force completes a criminal record check for all foreign nationals in custody. Training is in place for all custody sergeants, including a refresher course.
The force has effective integrated offender management
The force works well with other organisations such as the National Probation Service, independent domestic violence advisors and mental health practitioners to reduce re-offending among its integrated offender management (IOM) cohorts.
In December 2021, the force reviewed its IOM process to align with the revised Ministry of Justice and Home Office IOM strategy published in 2020. Its cohorts include offenders who have committed crimes such as burglary, robbery and theft, a cohort of female offenders and a cohort of offenders aged 18 to 25. Work is also underway to introduce a cohort for domestic abuse perpetrators.
Opportunities exist for the IOM approach to be strengthened further by ensuring neighbourhood teams are actively involved in monitoring local offenders. The rest of the workforce should also have a clear understanding of what IOM does and how it manages offenders.
Risk assessments for the management of sex offenders are comprehensive
We found the active risk management assessments used to evaluate the risk posed by registered sex offenders were detailed and clearly written. The risk management plans with actions to mitigate, manage and negate the risk posed by registered sex offenders are also detailed. As a result of initial inspection activity, the force has made changes to its standard operating procedure to ensure that it is working in line with multi-agency public protection arrangements time frames for the completion of active risk management assessments.
During our review of Violent and Sex Offender records, we found that officers enforced court orders by undertaking checks of mobile phones, laptops and other devices during home visits. However, this only happened for half of the eligible records and the force should look to increase this.
The force uses a polygraph test on a voluntary basis. We found that the test was used in appropriate cases.
There was a mixed picture of supervisory reviews of Violent and Sex Offender records. Some generic reviews included bespoke detail and set case direction. However, we also found some supervisory reviews that were copied and pasted. Doing this may miss opportunities to highlight risk and set risk reducing actions. The force should also look to improve the timeliness of supervisory reviews. As a result of our feedback, the force said that supervisory reviews will be monitored in its monthly performance packs to ensure that any backlogs are addressed. We will continue to monitor this matter.
There was evidence of good partnership with probation, including valuable information sharing and the completion of joint visits to registered sex offenders where required.
The force manages suspects in child sexual abuse image offences thoroughly
The force has access to digital media investigators who can attend scenes where a suspect has been arrested on suspicion of offences involving child sexual abuse images. This allows early triage of devices and allows the force to secure evidence that may otherwise be lost.
Following arrest, a suspect’s welfare is managed by the officer in the case. The suspect is offered a range of safeguarding measures to protect their well-being while in custody, including seeing the liaison and diversion staff member to establish any urgent welfare needs. There is also signposting and support through leaflets and referrals. And the custody sergeant considers any established well-being concerns prior to release.
There are effective processes in place for applying for ancillary orders in all eligible cases. The management of sexual and violent offenders team supports other departments to draft court orders such as sexual harm prevention orders. For example, these orders are managed centrally by a dedicated team to ensure consistent quality and conditions that are tailored to the individual to manage their risky sexual behaviours.
Disrupting serious organised crime
Lincolnshire Police requires improvement at tackling serious and organised crime (SOC).
Understanding SOC and setting priorities to tackle it
The force doesn’t adequately understand the threat from SOC
During our inspection, we found that the force didn’t have the necessary resources, processes or information systems to assess SOC intelligence effectively. As a result, the force doesn’t understand the scale and threat posed by SOC and is unable to effectively prioritise their approach. This doesn’t just affect the force’s understanding of SOC but also their ability to understand and manage the threat from all force priorities.
Lincolnshire police didn’t have a force control strategy for several years. It introduced one in the 18 months following our inspection, under the new command team. The strategy includes SOC as a force priority. The lack of a control strategy meant the force didn’t have a clear plan on its priorities and intelligence requirement, or for how to deploy resources. It is difficult to understand how a force can provide an effective approach to SOC without this plan in place.
We also found that the process to prioritise and co-ordinate the force approach to SOC was ineffective. Force tasking and co-ordination meetings lacked detailed plans to tackle priorities, and there were no intelligence requirements set out to make sure that information gaps were filled. There were limited bids, during these meetings, for force resources to tackle the problems raised.
Areas for improvement
The force needs to increase its resource and capability to effectively analyse the threat from serious and organised crime (SOC)
The force has limited analytical resources. Analysts are carrying excessive workloads and are unable to complete analysis to find new and emerging SOC threats. As a result, the force can’t understand the future threat or demand from SOC.
The force IT systems are difficult to work with. Some staff we spoke to described them as antiquated. We were told that the data and information held within force systems are incomplete or inaccurate. As the systems aren’t integrated, analysis and research must be done across multiple systems. Also, mapping and analytical software is out of date. Some people we interviewed expressed frustration at how inefficient the systems are.
The force gathers limited, and sometimes poor quality, data from partners such as the local authority. This further limits its assessment and analysis of SOC threats.
Areas for improvement
The force should update the serious and organised crime (SOC) local profile to help it, and its partners, to better understand the SOC threat and the approach needed
In 2017, the force produced a SOC local profile, as promoted by the national SOC strategy. But they haven’t reviewed or updated the profile since then. This means that the force can’t show an adequate understanding of the threats and vulnerabilities its communities currently face from SOC. They don’t have a plan to tackle SOC with partner agencies. While some people in the force recognised the benefits of developing this profile, there aren’t enough analysts to do the work.
Resources and skills
In the section above, we stated that the force doesn’t have enough analytical capacity to assess the threat from SOC.
Areas for improvement
The force should ensure that the lead responsible officer (LRO) role is delegated to a wider group of officers with the time and expertise to do it effectively
The LRO role was given to three detective inspectors based within the central intelligence function. The LROs manage all of the serious and organised crime (SOC) threats across the force, which is a considerable amount of work for three officers. Their capacity to develop relationships with local authority partners to prevent SOC and protect victims is limited, which impairs their effectiveness to tackle SOC in a holistic way.
Senior leaders accepted that the LRO role is better assigned to a wider group of officers. This should incorporate the role of policing inspectors and detective inspectors at a local level. The force plans to address this in early 2023.
Most frontline officers and staff we spoke to showed some level of knowledge of the SOC threats faced by their communities. However, we found that the level of knowledge was inconsistent. In one area of the force, officers and staff were able to describe their role in tackling SOC. But their line manager didn’t have the same level of knowledge and wasn’t aware of county lines or the national referral mechanism for vulnerable victims. The force needs to do more to make sure frontline officers and staff have better awareness of their roles and responsibilities in tackling SOC.
Tackling SOC and safeguarding people and communities
Areas for improvement
The force should improve how it records serious and organised crime (SOC) threats and disruptions on the national database
On 1 February 2022, the force had 30 SOC threat assessments. Of these, 20 were mapped OCGs. The other ten related to county lines and had been mapped as SOC vulnerabilities. We were concerned that some of these hadn’t been correctly mapped to categorise them as organised crime groups involved in county lines drug supply. This would affect levels of recorded disruption, which are only measured against mapped organised crime groups.
Lincolnshire Police had the lowest number of disruptions nationally, at 39 in the n12 months to 31 May 2022. Of these disruptions, 36 were pursue events, 2 were prevent and 1 was protect.
The force proactively targets criminal assets
The force economic crime command has the necessary skills, resources and commitment to maximise financial disruptions around SOC. The unit supports officers to exploit illicit finances and has set up processes to maximise opportunities to confiscate criminal assets. One example of this is the seizure of £2.5m of cryptocurrency linked to a major fraud investigation.
The force should promote a whole-system approach to SOC across the workforce
We found that it was often difficult for LROs to get support from other police units and departments in developing and executing 4P plans. Force SOC specialists reported that there was inconsistency in who attended SOC planning meetings. They felt that some units would only attend if they had an interest in a particular issue. SOC practitioners felt that there isn’t a sense of shared responsibility or a whole-system approach to tackling SOC in the force.
The force conducts some operational activity inefficiently
The force has chosen to rely on mobile surveillance capability provided by the ROCU. It contributes to funding the regional surveillance teams. This means the force can’t carry out surveillance on lower-level threats that may exist in its force area. Despite the strategic decision on surveillance, we were told of cases where Lincolnshire Police had asked for support from other forces. This approach to surveillance is expensive.
The force is doing some good work to prevent SOC and protect victims
NPTs that we visited all described their involvement in tackling county lines and being part of the safeguarding response to victims of cuckooing. However, some NPT officers’ knowledge was limited and appeared reliant on training rather than practical experience.
Lincolnshire Police is a member of a local multi-agency intelligence network. This network includes partners, such as the local authority and private sector housing providers. Those involved share information and find ways to reduce the harm caused by SOC. The force also works in partnership with government bodies and the private sector. In one example, the force was able to find and execute warrants at several premises linked to criminal activity because of intelligence work with the Ministry of Defence.
The force has staff within the multi-agency child exploitation team that find children and young people at risk of child criminal exploitation. All children that come to its notice are assessed and given a vulnerability score, which is updated monthly. This assessment informs how vulnerable children are safeguarded.
We were particularly impressed with the force’s work to introduce a training package for taxi drivers, helping them recognise the signs of county lines activity. The training package must be completed by all newly licensed taxi drivers.
Another good example of partnership work involves the force establishing which hostels and poor-quality rental accommodation typically house people who are vulnerable to forms of exploitation, such as cuckooing. The force and local housing partners intervene by sourcing more suitable housing for vulnerable people.
Read An inspection of the east midlands regional response to serious and organised crime – March 2023
Building, supporting and protecting the workforce
Lincolnshire Police is adequate at building and developing its workforce.
Areas for improvement
The force should ensure it has effective centralised systems in place to record and monitor staff performance, skills and capabilities
The force doesn’t have an accurate or effective process for recording its workforce skills, capabilities or performance reviews. The force is aware of this issue and is working towards finding a solution.
The force currently records some skills and capabilities on its human resource system; however, the data quality is poor and outdated, making it unreliable. Some information is recorded on spreadsheets that are held within individual departments.
The force appraisal system ‘pause point’ is stored within personal electronic folders accessed by individuals and their supervisors. Neither senior managers nor the human resource department have immediate access to or oversight of the completion rates or individual performance. Oversight is reliant on the annual force-wide return, the first of which is due at the end of March 2023. Improved governance through a centralised system would help the force to monitor and promote the importance of staff appraisals and completion rates.
Without centralised governance and oversight, the force can’t easily ascertain where there are skills gaps across the organisation, or talented or underperforming members of its workforce.
The force takes part in an effective blue-light collaboration
The force actively takes part in a blue-light well-being group in partnership with Lincolnshire County Council, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service and East Midlands Ambulance Service.
The programme aims to encourage collaborative health and care initiatives that are cost-effective, demonstrate best practice, provide overall improvements to services, and assist with staff recruitment and retention provision across all agencies.
Examples of work progressed by the group are the joint use of fire and rescue welfare vehicles at critical incidents, a health ‘MOT’ lifestyle assessment across all agencies, and a joint trauma risk management framework for monitoring incident types and volume. The group plans to develop the trauma risk management process and enhance independence, through colleagues from one of the other partner agencies acting as trauma risk management practitioners for police colleagues and vice versa.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to how well the force builds and develops its workforce.
The force has an ethical and inclusive culture
Since early 2021, senior leaders have put a strong focus on improving the culture of the force. The force has worked with an external company to conduct an annual cultural stock-take survey to help it understand the behaviours, attitudes and priorities of the workforce. The force is promoting reflective practice and learning rather than a blame culture. The workforce is feeling positive about the changes they are seeing. Analysis of survey results shows an improving picture, with staff and officers saying the culture of the force has improved. This is further supported by the positive morale outcomes within the police federation national survey results, which have improved greatly over the past three years. This was also reflected within inspection activity.
In addition, the force told us that it has trained 100 cultural advocates to promote and support cultural improvement. These advocates offer support to the workforce by working with colleagues, peers and managers to help put the importance of culture at the heart of the organisation. Advocates explore findings from the stock-take annual survey and uncover the things that happen ‘beneath the surface’, that are out of sight but affect what people see, hear and feel about their working environment.
Staff are proud to work for Lincolnshire Police and there is a feeling of belonging in the organisation.
The force has invested in a new equality, diversity and inclusion team
The force recognises the importance of understanding communities and valuing difference. It has recently introduced a new equality, diversity and inclusion team consisting of expert practitioners, a manager, a positive action and engagement officer, and a skills and knowledge facilitator. The team is responsible for upskilling the internal workforce and working with communities to develop and enhance positive relationships.
The team has already had a positive impact within the force by introducing the national ‘Safe to Say’ campaign encouraging individuals to complete a protected characteristics questionnaire. It is also working with the independent advisory group to ensure community work is focused on representing the views of the public. Accurate data collection would also increase the force’s understanding of its communities.
The team aspires to work closely with the human resource team to influence future recruitment campaigns, helping to build diverse representation within the workforce.
The force is working to further improve its workforce well-being support
The force has recently ended its collaborated occupational health provision. Its new structure was introduced near the end of the inspection activity, so we can’t report on it effectively. But early signs suggest the support and interventions available to the workforce are aligned with staff needs.
The force should make sure its learning and development provision has the capacity and capability to meet workforce training needs
Workforce feedback gained during our inspection highlighted that the availability of continuing professional development was limited, particularly for officers and supervisors with public-facing roles.
The force has recently exited a ten-year contract with a private company that provided its training provision. It is now focusing on how to provide the function internally in the future.
Following changes to police entry routes, and the introduction of the Police Uplift Programme for police officers, the force should make sure it has appropriate and sufficient resource to provide all necessary training.
The force was late in its adoption of the policing education qualifications framework. However, we are pleased with the progress it has made and it now is on track to meet the new deadline of September 2023.
Tackling workforce corruption
Vetting and counter corruption
We now inspect how forces deal with vetting and counter corruption differently. This is so we can be more effective and efficient in how we inspect this high-risk area of police business.
Corruption in forces is tackled by specialist units, designed to proactively target corruption threats. Police corruption is corrosive and poses a significant risk to public trust and confidence. There is a national expectation of standards and how they should use specialist resources and assets to target and arrest those that pose the highest threat.
Through our new inspections, we seek to understand how well forces apply these standards. As a result, we now inspect forces and report on national risks and performance in this area. We now grade and report on forces’ performance separately.
Lincolnshire Police’s vetting and counter corruption inspection hasn’t yet been completed. We will update our website with our findings and the separate report once the inspection is complete.
Strategic planning, organisational management and value for money
Lincolnshire Police requires improvement at operating efficiently.
Areas for improvement
The force should develop and implement an effective performance framework for local and national areas of importance
The force has suitable meetings and structures in place to drive performance. But we found that these weren’t operating as effectively as they should. We received many comments from teams across the force highlighting a lack of performance accountability and awareness of the performance framework.
The force has several performance and strategic meetings that should inform performance. However, we found meetings lacked consistent governance, attendance and direction. Expected representation at a senior level was inconsistent, which diminished the meetings’ effectiveness and the implementation of the control strategy. The force should make sure that there is appropriate representation at these meetings.
The force is developing its data. While this is promising, it needs to be supported by performance meetings that have an effective framework and good governance. Without these essential elements, the force will struggle to realise its plans and priorities effectively. This will affect the confidence of the workforce and service to the communities it serves.
The force is implementing a new reporting structure and is seeking to improve performance reporting. The changes need to be supported by an effective performance framework. The force should also make sure that staff are updated of the changes. This will improve staff awareness and provide a clearer direction to the workforce for the journey the force has embarked upon and the speed at which improvements are sought.
Areas for improvement
The force should improve its understanding of demand
The force isn’t managing its demand effectively in several areas. It needs the right people in the right place, who are supported by an understanding of demand pressures. It also needs to make sure that calls for service and investigations aren’t subject to undue delay.
The force doesn’t have the capacity in its control room to effectively meet its incoming demand or to deploy sufficient resources to meet its established response time frames. Also, some specialist areas don’t have enough trained staff. The force doesn’t have a clear picture of demand in areas such as outstanding suspects and its police online investigation team. These areas aren’t supported by effective supervision, which influences the quality of investigations.
The force should develop its new data tool to consider wider data sets to inform demand. It should make sure that the implementation of the new performance framework is informed by sufficient data and wider information. The force should also make sure that there is sufficient support and understanding in its new change team and that its data provision is supported by effective insight, planning and performance to allow it to consider future demand.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to how well the force operates efficiently.
The force should make sure it understands its capability and capacity and makes best use of its resources
The force has invested in areas of policing such as rural crime teams, roads policing and digital forensics to improve how it manages demand by increasing capacity in those areas. Despite this investment, we found that it was experiencing pressures across several other areas within the workforce. Staff report challenges in dealing with their work effectively and the force doesn’t have enough experienced staff and supervisors to improve the quality of service within key areas.
There was no clear system or process that provided the information supervisors needed to consider how best to use the force’s current workforce in relation to the capability held or the capacity they had.
The force doesn’t currently have an effective human resources system that details the skills of its workforce. It lacks an understanding of the capability it has within its resources. The force workforce plan needs to be more detailed to provide a better understanding of its workforce and to allow it to use its resource more effectively.
The force makes the best use of the finance it has available, and its plans are both ambitious and sustainable
The force has a good understanding of its financial position. The force invests in its senior leaders by supporting the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy programme for achieving financial excellence in policing. The chief financial officer supports budget holders and senior managers by ensuring that the finance function is resourced to be fit for purpose, and that specialist financial expertise is available, as necessary.
Lincolnshire is one of the lowest-funded forces in England and Wales and has a good understanding of its financial position. For the 2022/23 period, the force presents a balanced medium-term financial plan. This has been achieved using £3.4m of its reserves. And it plans to use a further £8.4m of its reserves to balance the budget over the life of its medium-term financial plan. A full-service review and priority-based budgeting exercise are being conducted following the transfer of the G4S outsourced services.
It is good to see that the force continues to invest in supporting fiscal awareness through its senior leaders by supporting the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy programme for achieving financial excellence in policing.
The force seeks to improve services by working collaboratively
The force has a good track record for supporting collaboration. It is part of an established multi-functional collaboration with other emergency services, and has invested in a dedicated resource to find and develop collaborative opportunities. It also works with Leicestershire Police, Derbyshire Constabulary, Northamptonshire Police and Nottinghamshire Police. These arrangements include shared services for:
- human resources functions;
- victim surveys;
- regional specialist learning and development; and
- legal services.
Chief officers consider and seek out wider collaboration opportunities. They understand the benefits and how working collaboratively can improve services to the public. The force actively takes part in a blue-light well-being group in partnership with Lincolnshire County Council, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service and East Midlands Ambulance Service.
The force is investing in systems to achieve efficiency savings to improve productivity
We found that the force has invested in its IT infrastructure. It is implementing a new command and control system and has introduced a new crime recording system. The force expects these investments to improve performance. It plans to upgrade its technology but more work is required.
The force wasn’t able to demonstrate that it understood how this investment translated into improved productivity or support for the frontline. For example, existing mobile data terminals aren’t compatible with new systems, vehicle headsets don’t integrate with systems effectively and benefits weren’t being tracked. The force could do more to outline the efficiencies that should be provided through its digital strategy.
About the data
Data in this report is from a range of sources, including:
- Home Office;
- Office for National Statistics (ONS);
- our inspection fieldwork; and
- data we collected directly from all 43 police forces in England and Wales.
When we collected data directly from police forces, we took reasonable steps to agree the design of the data collection with forces and with other interested parties such as the Home Office. We gave forces several opportunities to quality assure and validate the data they gave us, to make sure it was accurate. We shared the submitted data with forces, so they could review their own and other forces’ data. This allowed them to analyse where data was notably different from other forces or internally inconsistent.
We set out the source of this report’s data below.
Data in the report
British Transport Police was outside the scope of inspection. Any aggregated totals for England and Wales exclude British Transport Police data, so will differ from those published by the Home Office.
When other forces were unable to supply data, we mention this under the relevant sections below.
The dotted lines on the Bar Charts show one Standard Deviation (sd) above and below the unweighted mean across all forces. Where the distribution of the scores appears normally distributed, the sd is calculated in the normal way. If the forces are not normally distributed, the scores are transformed by taking logs and a Shapiro Wilks test performed to see if this creates a more normal distribution. If it does, the logged values are used to estimate the sd. If not, the sd is calculated using the normal values. Forces with scores more than 1 sd units from the mean (i.e. with Z-scores greater than 1, or less than -1) are considered as showing performance well above, or well below, average. These forces will be outside the dotted lines on the Bar Chart. Typically, 32% of forces will be above or below these lines for any given measure.
For all uses of population as a denominator in our calculations, unless otherwise noted, we use ONS mid-2020 population estimates.
Survey of police workforce
We surveyed the police workforce across England and Wales, to understand their views on workloads, redeployment and how suitable their assigned tasks were. This survey was a non-statistical, voluntary sample so the results may not be representative of the workforce population. The number of responses per force varied. So we treated results with caution and didn’t use them to assess individual force performance. Instead, we identified themes that we could explore further during fieldwork.
Victim Service Assessment
Our victim service assessments (VSAs) will track a victim’s journey from reporting a crime to the police, through to outcome stage. All forces will be subjected to a VSA within our PEEL inspection programme. Some forces will be selected to additionally be tested on crime recording, in a way that ensures every force is assessed on its crime recording practices at least every three years.
Details of the technical methodology for the Victim Service Assessment can be found here.
999 call answering time
Call answering time is the time taken for a call to be transferred from British Telecom (BT) to a force, and the time taken by that force to answer it. This data was first published on 31 May 2022 showing data from 1 November 2021. The data is available on Performance | Police.uk (www.police.uk)
Detentions under section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983
We took this data from the December 2021 release of the Home Office Police powers and procedures: Other PACE powers publication. The Home Office may have updated these figures since we obtained them for this report.