Our inspection assessed how good Nottinghamshire Police is in 12 areas of policing. We make graded judgments in 11 of these 12 as follows:
We also inspected how effective a service Nottinghamshire 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 this year has seen the most significant changes yet.
We are moving to 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 will now include 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 this year with those from previous PEEL inspections. 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 pleased with some aspects of the performance of Nottinghamshire Police in keeping people safe and reducing crime. I am satisfied with most other aspects of the force’s performance, but there are areas where it 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 way overall crime is recorded by the force has remained largely the same since our last inspection in 2018. 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 needs to improve the way it responds to calls for service
Call handlers are not always giving callers advice on preventing crime or preserving evidence before officers arrive at a scene. And they are sometimes failing to carry out checks to identify repeat victims.
The force needs to improve its approach to problem-solving policing
The force’s approach to problem-solving work within its neighbourhood teams is inconsistent. We found that most of the time frontline neighbourhood staff are deployed to areas where they can work with communities, offering reassurance and building confidence in the force. But neighbourhood teams are sometimes missing opportunities to involve other organisations and the public in jointly managing and solving problems. Evaluations of problem-solving work would help the force understand what has or has not worked before, and allow it to learn from successful examples.
The force is good at investigating crime
Once a crime is recorded, the force carries out effective crime investigations. Crimes are allocated promptly to officers and staff who have the capacity and capability to investigate them appropriately. Oversight from supervisors is effective, and opportunities for positive outcomes are sought where possible.
The force is effective at recruiting a diverse workforce
The force works hard to recruit individuals from underrepresented communities. In the year ending 31 March 2021, the force recruited the highest percentage (19.5 percent) of new police officers who were Black, Asian or from a minority ethnic group (BAME), compared with the other 43 forces in England and Wales.
The force has made significant progress in supporting the wellbeing of its workforce
The wellbeing measures offered by the force to its workforce have significantly improved since our last inspection. Officers and staff have welcomed the additional support. It is important that the force continues to offer and establish similar initiatives in the future.
The force makes effective use of technology to support frontline policing
The force looks for opportunities to help staff on the front line. Operational staff have been given electronic mobile devices to allow them to perform their role while out on the streets. And the force has sought government funding to enhance its capacity for examining digital devices: it is due to receive two mobile vans equipped with the technology to download material from phones belonging to victims of serious sexual offences. Software (Power BI) is being introduced to help the force understand performance data and demand.
My report sets out the detailed findings of this inspection. While I acknowledge the good work officers and staff have already carried out in other areas to keep the public safe, I look forward to monitoring the force’s progress towards addressing the areas I have identified where the force needs to improve.
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.
The force’s neighbourhood policing structure complies with College of Policing guidelines. It is a good foundation for involving local people and other organisations in the force’s work. The force now needs to build on this by encouraging the use of data from organisations it works with and analysis to help it prevent crime.
The force works effectively with other organisations in its integrated offender management (IOM) programme and safeguarding work.
Thorough recording of crime is vital to making sure victims receive an effective service and are safeguarded appropriately. It also helps the force understand its true demand. The force needs to improve its performance in relation to crime recording.
Other factors contributing to the force’s ability to reduce crime are:
- The force has an effective IOM programme, focusing on people who commit high levels of crime.
- Calls to the force control room are answered promptly and professionally.
- The right people and resources are deployed to respond to incidents.
- Investigations are appropriately supervised, with victims kept up to date throughout.
- The force continues to make sure the makeup of its workforce reflects its diverse communities. I am pleased with the way it has achieved this through its recruitment drive as part of the Government’s uplift programme.
I am pleased that the force is addressing the right areas of policing to reduce 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 such as stalking.
- The force doesn’t always manage the risk posed by all registered sex offenders.
- The force doesn’t always identify repeat victims at the first point of contact.
- The force doesn’t always give advice on preventing crime or preserving evidence at the first point of contact.
- The force should involve the public and other organisations more in its problem‑solving work.
The force must improve its overall crime recording standards to help it better understand which crime types it is reducing effectively.
Providing a service to the victims of crime
Victim service assessment
This section describes our assessment of the service victims receive from Nottinghamshire Police, from the point of reporting a crime through to the end result. As part of this assessment, we reviewed 130 case files as well as 20 cautions, community resolutions and cases where a suspect was identified but the victim did not support or withdrew support for police action. While this assessment is ungraded, it influences graded judgments in the other areas we have inspected.
The force answers emergency and non-emergency calls quickly, carries out a structured risk assessment and prioritises calls effectively
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 get appropriate safeguarding advice.
The force answers emergency calls and non-emergency calls promptly. When calls are answered, the victim’s vulnerability is assessed using a structured process. But repeat victims are not always identified, which means this information is not always taken into account when considering the response the victim should have. And not all victims are being given advice on preventing crime or preserving evidence. This could lead to losing evidence that would support an investigation, and missing opportunities to prevent further crimes against the victim.
The force responds to calls for service in a timely and appropriate way
A force should aim to respond to calls for service within its published time frames, based on the prioritisation given to the call. It should change 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.
Most of the time, the force responds to calls appropriately. But in some instances, we found that attendance was slow and not within the force’s published time frames. In these cases, the victims’ expectations were not met. This may cause victims to lose confidence and withdraw. The victims were not always told that attendance was going to be delayed. For non-emergency calls, the force uses an appointment system. We found that this was used effectively, and for most of these incidents an appropriate staff member was allocated to respond.
The force’s crime recording is not of the standard required to make sure victims receive an appropriate level of service
The force’s crime recording should be trustworthy. It should be effective at recording reported crime in line with national standards and have effective systems and processes, supported by the necessary leadership and culture.
Nottinghamshire Police needs to improve its crime recording processes to make sure crimes reported to the force are recorded correctly.
We set out more details about the force’s crime recording in the ‘crime data integrity’ section below.
The force investigates all recorded crimes and allocates them to teams with appropriate skills
Police forces 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 the allocation and whether the crime is to be further investigated.
The arrangements for allocating recorded crimes for investigation were generally in accordance with the force’s policy, and in most cases the crime was allocated to the most appropriate department for further investigation. But victims were not always informed when it was decided that their crime report would not be investigated further. Updating victims is important to provide an appropriate level of service and to manage expectations.
Most investigations are effective, and victims are provided with appropriate advice and support
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.
Investigations are carried out in a timely manner and relevant and proportionate lines of enquiry are completed. Investigations are appropriately supervised, and victims are kept updated throughout investigations. A thorough investigation increases the likelihood of perpetrators being identified and a positive end result for the victim. Victims are more likely to have confidence in a police investigation when they are kept updated at important stages during the investigation.
Under the Victims’ Code of Practice, forces must carry out a needs assessment at an early stage to decide whether victims need additional support. The result of this assessment, and any request for additional support, should be recorded. The force is not always completing victim needs assessments, which means not all victims will get an appropriate level of service.
The force finalises reports of crime appropriately, by considering the type of offence, the victim’s wishes and the offender’s background
The force should make sure it follows national guidance and rules for deciding the outcome of each report of crime. In deciding the outcome, the force should consider the nature of the crime, the offender, and the victim. And the force should show the necessary leadership and culture to make sure the use of outcomes is appropriate.
Where appropriate, some offenders who are brought to justice can be dealt with through a caution or community resolution. For these outcomes to be correctly applied and recorded, they must be appropriate for the offender, and the views of the victim must be taken into consideration. In most of the cases we reviewed, the offender met the national criteria for using these outcomes and the victim’s views were sought and considered.
Where a suspect is identified but the victim does not support or withdraws support for police action, the force should have an auditable record to confirm the victim’s decision so that it can close the investigation. In some cases we reviewed, there was no evidence of the victim’s decision. This represents a risk that victims’ wishes may not be fully represented and considered before a report of a crime is finalised.
Crime data integrity
Nottinghamshire Police requires improvement at recording crime.
We estimate that Nottinghamshire Police is recording 86.4 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 3.1 percent) of all reported crime (excluding fraud). We estimate that this means the force didn’t record over 13,900 crimes for the year covered by our inspection. Its performance is even worse for offences of violence against the person. We estimate only 83.6 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 4.9 percent) of violent offences are being recorded. These recording levels are broadly unchanged from our findings in 2018. The force’s failings in recording crime mean that victims of unrecorded crimes will often not be safeguarded or referred to support services. And the unrecorded crimes will not be investigated, meaning offenders will not be identified and brought to justice.
Areas for improvement
The force should audit crime recording on a regular basis and have effective governance and oversight in order to fully understand its crime recording performance
The force carries out few crime recording audits and as a result, it is not able to accurately estimate its crime recording compliance. We found that the force did not appreciate that its performance was poor, so had not put in place measures to improve its crime recording. As a result, at the time of the inspection the force’s senior leadership was not aware of the aspects of crime recording that need to be improved. By carrying out regular audits, the force can identify where crimes are not being recorded. It can then take action to record the crimes and address the reasons for them being missed.
Areas for improvement
The force is too often failing to record some reports of violent crime, particularly domestic abuse and behavioural crimes
The force is only recording 83.6 percent of violent crime, which includes harassment, stalking and controlling coercive behaviour. Many of these crimes relate to domestic abuse, which can involve vulnerable victims. It is important to make sure crimes are recorded, so victims can be safeguarded and offences investigated.
Areas for improvement
The force needs to improve the recording of equality data
In the force’s data on victims of crime, age and gender are well recorded, while ethnicity is less well recorded and other protected characteristics are not well recorded. The force should be collecting this information to understand the extent to which each protected group is affected by crime, how this differs from those without protected characteristics, and whether a different response is needed for these victims.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to how well the force provides a service to the victims of crime.
The force is good at recording most sexual offences but is not always recording rape offences correctly
The force correctly records most sexual offences. But we found that reports of rape were not always recorded appropriately. Rape is one of the most serious crimes a victim can experience. So it is especially important that reports of this crime are recorded accurately, to make sure victims receive the service and support they expect and deserve.
The force records crimes against vulnerable people
The force records crimes against vulnerable victims. These crimes are then reported to specialist teams. It is important that crimes against vulnerable victims are recorded, to help safeguard the victims from further offences and identify perpetrators.
The force is poor at recording violent crime
The force does not always record behavioural crimes or those related to domestic abuse, such as stalking and harassment. Many victims of these crimes are victims of long-term abuse. It is important to record these crimes and provide victims with an appropriate level of service, which may include safeguarding and an investigation.
Recording data about crime
Nottinghamshire 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 Nottinghamshire 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
Nottinghamshire Police is adequate at treating people fairly and with respect.
Areas for improvement
The force should improve its internal and external scrutiny processes for stop and search and for use of force, to understand how fairly and appropriately they are being used. Lessons learned from this should be used to improve the way officers use their stop and search powers and how they use force
It is important that forces support thorough oversight of the way their officers use force and use their powers of stop and search. Monitoring a comprehensive set of data and information will help them to understand the reasons for any disproportionate use on people from different ethnic groups. Robust external scrutiny helps to reassure the public that these powers are being used appropriately.
Nottinghamshire Police carries out limited internal scrutiny of its use of force, and use of stop search powers. It has no external scrutiny of its use of force but does have basic external scrutiny of stop and search. This is carried out by a police-chaired working group, attended by a small number of community representatives.
The force should therefore develop external scrutiny processes for its use of force, such as by creating a new scrutiny group or expanding the role of the stop and search scrutiny group. And it should make sure that people involved in external scrutiny processes better represent its communities. These participants should be given relevant data and training in how to understand it. This will help them give confident and effective feedback to support improvements to policing.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to treating people fairly and with respect.
The force needs to make sure all staff understand how to use stop and search powers fairly and respectfully
We reviewed a sample of 220 stop and search records from 1 January to 31 December 2020 during our inspection. Based on this sample, we estimate that only 85.5 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 4.6 percent) of all stop and searches by the force during this period were reasonable. This is a reduction from 93.1 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 4.9) at our last inspection in 2019. Of the records that we reviewed for stop and searches on BAME individuals, 38 out of 48 had reasonable grounds.
A stop and search record is important because it is the only information a person stopped is entitled to see about the interaction. So if this does not contain enough information, they will not have a sound basis for understanding whether the action taken was appropriate or not.
All officers receive training on stop and search during their initial training. While some refresher training has taken place in recent years, there has been no structured refresher training for longer-serving officers.
Officers are required to use body worn video for all stop and search encounters. Compliance with this is improving. Supervisors are required to review all stop and search forms when they are submitted. Officers are given feedback from these reviews to help improve standards. But the force needs to be satisfied that supervisors are examining whether the grounds recorded for stop and search are reasonable, and not just whether all the boxes have been filled in correctly. Supervisors need to be given clarity on the standards required, to help the force make improvements.
The force offers opportunities for local people to get involved in its work
The force encourages the use of volunteers. On 14 September 2021, the force told us it had 113 police support volunteers in a range of roles, and 19 student placement volunteers. The force uses a volunteer scheme to develop new and innovative volunteer opportunities which make use of individuals’ existing skills. These include roles in the finance and facilities departments, among others. This approach helps the force improve the service it offers and gives it extra capacity and resilience.
The force has a police cadet programme. The force told us that there are currently 131 cadets, supported by volunteer cadet leaders. The scheme encourages people aged between 11 and 18 to get involved in community projects and learn new life skills. The force has taken positive steps to make sure that the cadets are from diverse backgrounds and increasingly representative of its communities.
The force has an effective Mini Police programme. Staff were recognised for their excellent work on this at the Queen’s New Year’s Honours event in 2021. The programme aims to help young people better understand policing and the effect crime and anti-social behaviour have on communities. It is currently working with over 20 schools and over 1,000 students.
The force told us it currently has 163 special constables, and continuing recruitment is planned throughout 2022. The force has recently introduced a fast-track route into policing for existing special constables who meet the right criteria and can show they are operationally competent. This is a cost-effective way for the force to recruit police officers.
The workforce understands how to treat the public with fairness and respect, and why this is important
The chief constable has set out expected values for the force. These are ‘professional’; ‘respect for all’; ‘one team’; ‘utmost integrity’; and ‘doing it differently’. The workforce recognises and understands these values. They are reinforced through training for officers and staff. The training emphasises:
In addition to this, our review of body worn video 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.
Preventing crime and anti-social behaviour
Nottinghamshire Police is adequate at prevention and deterrence.
Areas for improvement
The force should consult all its diverse communities using various methods, and expand activities to work with these communities and make sure their needs are identified and used to influence local policing priorities and problem-solving activity
The force, local councils and the PCC all use social media and surveys to consult with the public when setting local priorities. But these narrow consultation methods can result in many members of the public, including those in communities that traditionally have weaker relationships with the police, not being consulted. This makes it harder for these groups to influence or work with local priorities. Seeking wider consultation will help the police better understand and address local issues, and build relationships within the wider community.
Areas for improvement
Nottinghamshire Police should make sure its problem-solving work fully involves organisations it works with, and is regularly audited, assessed and, where successful, formally acknowledged and recognised
The force needs to work closely with related organisations to align efforts and avoid duplication of plans. This is essential to make sure its day-to-day work is effective. The force needs to find a way to share information effectively and securely with the organisations it works with. It currently uses a shared system called ECINS for this. But we found that officers and staff weren’t always using this, as many found it difficult to navigate.
Internally, the force needs to develop plans, record actions taken, and support organisational learning. Problem-solving plans should be audited and evaluated so that the force understands the impact these are having. Examples of good problem-solving work should be recorded and shared for future reference, and achievements in problem solving by officers and staff should be recognised.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to prevention and deterrence.
The force is prioritising the prevention of crime, anti-social behaviour, and vulnerability
The force’s neighbourhood policing structure complies with the College of Policing’s relevant guidelines. This includes having police officers and staff accessible and accountable to communities. This structure, which has been improved since the last inspection, provides a good basis for the force to continue to develop its community work, and become more effective at working with other organisations and the public.
There is a focus on prevention and vulnerability in performance and tasking meetings. Analytical support is available to staff taking part in problem-solving policing activities, but this is currently underused. Better use of analysis and working with partner organisations will help teams understand crime activity in their area and support a more cohesive approach to problem solving.
Neighbourhood staff are deployed to manage neighbourhood demand
Most of the time, we found that frontline neighbourhood staff are deployed to areas where they can 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. The force has predicted that non-urgent demand is likely to increase over the next few years. The force should continue to monitor this situation to make sure it does not have a negative effect on neighbourhood policing. This should include making sure the force has an effective method for recording instances when neighbourhood staff are required to provide cover for other teams.
The force is investing in bespoke training for its neighbourhood officers and staff
Most neighbourhood officers and staff have attended a two-day training course delivered by a renowned problem-solving expert. The force has also produced a guide for its workforce on crime prevention and problem solving.
The force uses the SARA approach to problem solving. This model has four stages:
But we found that rather than following all stages of the model, some staff were starting with the response element. This meant they did not always have a full understanding of the whole problem, and that the actions they proposed may have been less effective in the long term. We also found that the level of detail included in plans, and the overall application of the problem-solving model, were inconsistent.
While problem solving is taking place in some other policing teams, we saw little evidence of other staff or departments using the SARA approach.
Responding to the public
Nottinghamshire Police is adequate at responding to the public.
Areas for improvement
The force needs to make sure that call takers give appropriate advice on the preservation of evidence and crime prevention
Not all victims are being given advice on preventing crime or preserving evidence. This may lead to losing evidence that would support an investigation and missing opportunities to prevent further crimes against the victim.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to how well the force responds to the public.
The force does not always identify vulnerability at initial contact
The force answers calls from the public promptly. It regularly achieves, or exceeds, the national target of answering 90 percent of 999 calls within 10 seconds. In most cases, call handlers use a structured approach for assessing risk based on threat, harm, risk, investigation, vulnerability, and engagement (THRIVE). But call handlers do not always identify vulnerable callers or carry out checks to identify repeat victims. This could result in some people not receiving the right support or level of service.
Response targets are not currently being achieved
While attendance performance is improving, the force is still not consistently meeting its published target response times. For grade one emergency calls, the force target time is 15 minutes in urban locations and 20 minutes in rural locations. Grade two non-emergency calls have a target response time of 60 minutes. When officers attend incidents promptly they can help preserve scenes and identify and collect strong evidence. But if delays happen there is a risk that evidence could deteriorate or be lost. In addition, our audit of crime data integrity found that the force is under‑recording crime, meaning it does not know the full extent of the demand on its control room.
The force has a vulnerability hub within its contact management centre
The teams for mental health, hate crime and missing persons are located together within the contact management centre at the force’s headquarters.
There are mental health workers based in the control room. They have access to health records, which allows them to give professional advice at the time of a call. This allows the force to support people with mental health conditions, or people who are in crisis, more effectively, and to intervene promptly if needed. It also helps manage demand by making sure the person is supported by the most appropriate local organisation for their needs.
The force is increasing the range of channels that crime can be reported through
The force has recently joined the national single online home: a contact platform for police forces, offering digital reporting services and information. It gives people different ways to report incidents and find out what is happening in their area.
Nottinghamshire Police is good at investigating crime.
Areas for improvement
The force should establish processes to make sure that the auditable record of the decision of the victim, and their reasons for withdrawal of support, or their wishes for a caution, is fully documented
Where a suspect is identified but the victim does not support or withdraws support for police action, or in cases where a caution is issued, the force should keep an auditable record of the victim’s wishes. This means that the victim’s wishes can be represented and considered before the crime is finalised.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to how well the force investigates crime.
The force has governance arrangements (through strategy, policy, and accountability measures) that support effective investigations of crimes
The force has governance arrangements, including clear lines of accountability, to make sure it implements strategic investigation plans effectively. The force’s group on improving investigations reviews investigative standards in support of providing the best possible service for the public. This work also encourages more focus on victims and identifies opportunities to improve data quality. In addition, the group drives audits of work related to various themes, such as stalking investigations and compliance with the Victims’ Code of Practice. When improvements are needed, a training package is designed and given to all relevant staff.
The victim and witness assurance group monitors the force’s performance in various important aspects of a victim’s experience. This helps the force offer an effective service to victims and witnesses, while building their confidence to participate in the criminal justice process.
Both of these groups have a clear focus on continuous improvement. They understand the importance of offering an effective service to victims as well as supporting successful investigations. Victims of crime in Nottinghamshire should be reassured by the force’s approach to making sure they receive an effective service.
The force considers evidence-led prosecutions where appropriate
There are three main types of evidence-led prosecutions:
- prosecutions based on hearsay evidence (information heard by a person not directly involved in the offence);
- prosecutions where a victim is unable or unwilling to support a prosecution; and
- prosecutions featuring circumstantial evidence (where there is no account from a victim or direct eyewitness, but other evidence points towards the suspect).
The force regularly looks for evidence-led prosecution opportunities where appropriate, particularly in domestic abuse cases. The staff we spoke to were clear that in these cases the safeguarding and wellbeing of the victim is a priority. The force involves other organisations to make sure continuing support is provided. In the year ending 31 March 2021, the force referred 92 percent of domestic abuse victims to victim support services. This was an increase on the year ending 31 March 2020, when it referred 86 percent of these victims to support services.
Officers work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to improve their work. This involves jointly reviewing some cases where there wasn’t enough evidence to charge someone, or that didn’t end in a successful prosecution. This is an effective way of working, and supports the national strategic priority of stopping violence against women and girls.
The force is making efforts to increase its detective numbers
There is a national shortage of trained detectives. Nottinghamshire Police has introduced several schemes and activities to try and increase its detective numbers. The force offers a graduate entry/fast track programme in which people learn the main skills for being a police officer before taking the accredited detective exam (PIP2). In the year ending 31 March 2021, 46 percent (220 of 476) of the force’s PIP2 investigator posts were filled. The force is also encouraging community support officers to take a qualification in basic investigative skills (PIP1), which allows them to be considered for the fast track to detective process.
The force encourages civilian staff to take on investigative roles and has several police staff investigators with the PIP2 qualification. As part of a recent internal project (Operation Consolidate), some officers have volunteered for investigative roles, to gain relevant experience with a view to becoming qualified investigators. The force has also invested in officers to support people who have passed the PIP2 exam but still need to complete the work portfolio needed for PIP2 accreditation. It is important that the force has enough staff with the appropriate skills and training to carry out serious crime investigations.
As discussed in the Recording data about crime section of this report, the failure to record crimes adequately has resulted in some victims not receiving an acceptable level of service. It also means the force does not have a full understanding of its demand. Failure to record all crime will have a negative impact on the public’s trust, in the force and in policing more broadly. It will also mean that some vulnerable victims are not safeguarded. The force should make sure that when its crime recording processes are improved and the number of crimes recorded that need investigation increases, it has the detective capacity and capability to carry out effective investigations.
There is appropriate wellbeing support for investigation teams
The force has improved its support for its workforce’s wellbeing since our last inspection. Details of this are included in the Building, supporting and protecting the workforce section of this report. Investigators we spoke to were content with their workloads and felt supported by their direct managers.
Protecting vulnerable people
Nottinghamshire Police is good at protecting vulnerable people.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to how well the force protects vulnerable people.
The force has effective governance arrangements (through strategy, policy and accountability measures) to protect vulnerable people
The force participates in several external multi-agency meetings where vulnerability and safeguarding are the primary focus. Internally, the force’s strategic governance is shaped through the child-centred policing meeting and the adult safeguarding scrutiny board. Both of these meetings are chaired by a chief officer. The force has set action plans which mirror the national vulnerability action plan and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) child-centred policing principles. Internal data helps to inform the force’s understanding of the nature and scale of demand that relates to vulnerable people. This data will be strengthened as the force improves its crime recording standards. Operational delivery groups oversee the force’s progress against both local and national action plans and report to its strategic management groups.
The force has a centralised public protection command which covers the whole county area. Specialist teams within this take on responsibility for most vulnerability‑related crime including child protection, domestic abuse, sexual exploitation, and adult safeguarding. Officers in specialist roles have received additional training to give them the skills needed to work with and support vulnerable people.
The force provides continuing safeguarding support for vulnerable people
Every officer we talked to was clear about their responsibility to provide safeguarding support to vulnerable people. The force gives officers appropriate training that helps them recognise and respond to incidents involving vulnerability. Officers are responsible for completing public protection notices (PPNs) for incidents involving vulnerable people. These include PPNs related to young people suspected of being involved in knife crime, vulnerable adults, domestic abuse victims and people thought to be experiencing mental ill health. PPNs are recorded on the force’s computer system, where they are automatically directed to the police team within the multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH). Specialist staff review information held on police systems before sharing it with other organisations such as children’s social care services. Staff generally understand the need to look for signs of hidden harm and some staff have received training related to adverse childhood experiences.
The force works with other organisations to keep vulnerable people safe
The force participates in two MASH. In these, staff from several organisations including social care, health and education services as well as the force are all based in the same building. The pandemic had affected these co-location arrangements, with some organisations encouraging their employees to work from home. Police staff suggested to us that this had made it harder to make progress as effectively and efficiently as before. At the time of our inspection, these arrangements were being reviewed in line with the Government’s recommendations on people returning to the workplace.
Our inspection activity highlighted to the force that both MASH had backlogs of referrals waiting to be recorded and allocated for investigation, and others waiting to be reviewed and closed by a supervisor. We also found that the internal procedures for taking cases through the system meant there was a possibility that risks, while identified, may not be acted upon at the earliest opportunity. We are pleased to report that the force responded to this feedback immediately and put a plan in place to clear the backlogs. It has also reviewed its processes, looking for opportunities to make practices more efficient and improve the work of the MASH.
Managers from the domestic abuse team co-chair a well-established multi-agency risk assessment conference (MARAC) aimed at supporting victims of domestic abuse. In the year ending 31 March 2021, the force discussed 2,008 MARAC cases. This is 188 more cases than the recommended number of 1,820 (based on the charity SafeLives’ recommendation of 40 cases per 10,000 women). We observed that MARAC meetings were well attended by other organisations. The cases discussed were appropriate, and all organisations were working together to safeguard the individuals concerned. Discussions during our inspection highlighted that several of these cases involved repeat victims. The force is carrying out a review of those cases to make sure that opportunities to safeguard have not been missed, and determine whether people can be offered additional support to help them escape the cycle of abuse.
The force has improved its use of protective orders (Clare’s Law)
The force has improved the way it uses the domestic violence disclosure scheme (Clare’s Law). Applications for disclosures under the law’s ‘right to ask’ and ‘right to know’ are considered, and prioritised, by the domestic abuse support unit. The force has recruited two dedicated staff to make decisions and complete disclosures. This helps make sure its approach is consistent. We found that applications were being dealt with promptly and that there was no backlog. Officers are encouraged to take positive action when dealing with domestic abuse incidents. This can include arresting the perpetrator or applying for domestic violence protection notices and orders when appropriate.
In the year ending 31 March 2020, the force had made disclosures for 54 percent of the ‘right to know’ applications it received. This increased to 66 percent for the year ending 31 March 2021.
Clare’s Law: the number of right to know applications and disclosures for Nottinghamshire, between 1 October 2018 and 31 March 2021
In the year ending 31 March 2020, the force had made disclosures for 54 percent of the ‘right to ask’ applications it received. This increased to 66 percent for the year ending 31 March 2021.
Clare’s Law: the number of right to ask applications and disclosures for Nottinghamshire, between 1 October 2018 and 31 March 2021
The force needs to make sure that it continues to maintain and improve the wellbeing of staff involved in protecting vulnerable people
Following a review of its existing provision in 2019, the force has reduced the number of roles it considers to be high-risk, where staff should be eligible for enhanced wellbeing support. The roles currently identified as high-risk are all those in the police online investigation team, the child abuse investigation unit and the sexual exploitation investigation unit. These officers and staff are required to attend twice-yearly psychological assessments.
Officers and staff from other teams have the option to self-refer if they feel they need additional support. It is encouraging that the force recognises the need for additional support within these specialist areas. But its approach may mean that officers and staff working in other high-risk roles may not get access to the support they need.
When speaking to the workforce, we found that many people were unclear about who could access enhanced wellbeing support and when. Since highlighting this to the force, we are pleased to report that it has given further information to all its departments to explain how staff can access support. The public protection command includes details of available support services in a quarterly training package it gives to all its staff.
In addition, the force requires all line managers to have monthly performance reviews (known as ‘career conversations’) with their staff, which should include checking on their welfare and wellbeing. But only some staff confirmed that the monthly meetings were taking place, and only some thought they were of value. Wellbeing is a standing item on the agenda for many strategic meetings. This is an opportunity for senior managers to monitor completion rates for performance reviews, and identify and address any emerging problems.
Managing offenders and suspects
Nottinghamshire Police is adequate at managing offenders and suspects.
Areas for improvement
The force should immediately review its approach to the management of low‑risk offenders to make sure risk is effectively monitored and managed
This should include that:
- court orders are robustly monitored and enforced;
- intelligence gathering is comprehensive and not reliant on information held on police systems alone;
- dynamic risk factors are fully assessed; and
- decisions to manage registered sex offenders reactively and outside Authorised Professional Practice (APP) are made on a case by case basis, considering the risks posed by each individual offender and the evidence available to suggest their risk can be managed in this way. The rationale for each decision should be recorded on the Violent and Sex Offender Register (ViSOR).
Areas for improvement
Within the next three months the force should assure itself, via case file review, that its sex offender management policy results in consistent and timely management of the risk posed by registered sex offenders
Our inspection highlighted a lack of understanding of expected standards for registered sex offender management. This included expectations related to the frequency of visits and the completion of active risk management (ARM) assessments and risk management plans. We found that the force’s local policy did not refer to current national guidance and was not explicit about expectations for its staff. An audit of twelve ViSOR records found that ARM assessments for two high-risk cases were not present or were significantly out of date. In all the cases we reviewed, the police national database (PND) had not been used to determine whether a registered sex offender was travelling to commit offences.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to how well the force manages offenders and suspects.
The force applies for ancillary orders where appropriate and uses these to manage medium, high, and very high-risk sex offenders
Sexual harm prevention orders (SHPOs) are routinely applied for within the police online investigation team. But there is limited consultation between public protection teams and the wider force to make sure that these orders can be managed effectively. This could result in efforts being duplicated or risks being left unmanaged.
The force has recently begun using polygraphs (sometimes known as lie detectors). They are used with people convicted of sexual offences who are released on licence, to help the force understand which offenders are more likely to be deceptive. This can help to target the use of digital tools to review devices owned by sex offenders, focusing on people that a polygraph has shown may be more likely to be committing offences using technology. The force plans to review existing SHPOs to assess whether it would be beneficial to add a requirement for polygraph testing to them. Encouragingly, the use of polygraphs is already being agreed within licence conditions following the release of offenders from prison. This is viewed as a good way of working.
The force also makes effective use of monitoring software attached to offenders’ laptops. This can identify terms and phrases that might indicate offending or a breach of SHPO. This is viewed as a good way of working.
The force’s approach to eligibility for reactive management does not align with the College of Policing’s Authorised Professional Practice
Authorised Professional Practice (APP) states that reactive management (where offenders don’t receive regular home visits) should only be considered for registered sex offenders who have been successfully managed in the community for a minimum of three years and are not subject to a civil order. At the time of our inspection, 539 low-risk offenders were managed reactively, including 177 with civil orders.
Forces can choose to deviate from APP through a local policy. But in these cases there should be adequate assurance that the risk to the public is not increased, and decisions should be made and recorded on a case by case basis. At the time of inspection, the force’s approach did not allow it to monitor or enforce SHPO prohibitions made by the court. It was not making visits to offenders to assess dynamic risk factors, and its annual intelligence review of low-risk RSOs did not include enough database checks. These weaknesses mean the force is not able to gain an accurate understanding of the risk posed to the public. And it can’t assure itself that further offences or breaches of order are not taking place. In response to this inspection feedback, the force has told us it is changing the way it works, but we have not been able to assess this through inspection.
Most neighbourhood policing teams are aware of the registered sex offenders in their area
We found that the force’s neighbourhood policing teams had some awareness of sex offenders living in their area. But it was clear that some teams were overseeing these more proactively than others. Some supervisors we spoke to were positive about the role neighbourhood policing teams can play in managing risk related to sex offenders. They described receiving a monthly update with details of RSOs featuring on the local briefing and tasking system, from colleagues within the public protection command. These supervisors do not encourage neighbourhood officers to visit RSOs unless they are specifically tasked or the need arises. But they do actively encourage the neighbourhood officers to be their ‘eyes and ears’.
The force needs to make sure that all its neighbourhood teams are clear about what is expected from them when monitoring sex offenders in the community. There is a risk that without more clarity, some offenders will not be subject to any police oversight, meaning further offending or increased opportunities to offend could go unnoticed.
The force has an effective integrated offender management programme
The force has a well-established integrated offender management (IOM) programme which is in line with the Government’s 2020 IOM strategy. IOM is intended to reduce the volume of crime and harm caused by the most prolific offenders. The force works closely with other organisations to understand the reasons people offend and help them access specialist support and offender management programmes. The force’s IOM team shares office space with these other organisations. The force told us that at the time of our inspection there were 211 people in its IOM cohort, and a further 40 who are recognised as the most high-risk domestic abuse offenders.
The force makes effective use of voluntary tags when monitoring its IOM cohort. With consent, it uses location data from tagging to monitor where offenders go to help deter them from committing offences. This can include applying a tag to offenders who are alcohol dependent to deter them from committing crime while under the influence of alcohol. Such approaches are viewed as good ways of working.
The force carries out a monthly cost of crime analysis to evaluate the costs and benefits of its approach. An example was given of an offender who had been part of the IOM cohort for 87 months. The average cost linked to their offending per month before being involved in IOM was £9,173. This reduced to £2,213 after they joined the programme. The average cost linked to their offending per year fell from £110,083 to £26,562.
The force has a positive approach to investigating indecent images of children
The force’s online investigation team manages all referrals for indecent images of children. It is responsible for intelligence gathering, search warrant execution and investigation for these cases. At the time of our inspection, there were no backlogs in cases awaiting action. The force has invested in a digital media investigator (DMI) and digital forensic investigative capability for use in all searches. The DMI uses specialist device triage equipment to review the content of devices held by registered sex offenders, alongside router checking technology which can uncover hidden devices. The force also has access to dogs that can seek out electronic devices such as USB sticks and hard drives. This gives the team an early indication of offences that may have been committed and reduces the burden on the digital forensic unit.
There is clear consideration of safeguarding for suspects and their families. The team’s approach is intended to defuse the situation and prevent suicide. Measures taken include wearing plain clothes, arriving in unmarked cars and removing devices discreetly. This approach was described to us as significantly improved, following a previous high rate of suicide among suspects. All the team’s workforce are trained in child disclosure and interview techniques, with one team member allocated this role at each scene.
Disrupting serious organised crime
Nottinghamshire Police is adequate at tackling serious and organised crime.
Understanding SOC and setting priorities to tackle it
The force has effective governance to prioritise its approach to SOC
The force assesses threat and risk consistently. It uses management of risk in law enforcement (MoRiLE) and OCG mapping in an efficient way. MoRiLE also informs the decision-making process for resource allocation. We found that the force’s strategic assessment took account of national and regional assessments.
The force has established meeting structures to prioritise its approaches to SOC. In addition to a monthly tasking and co-ordinating meeting, there are meetings and structures where partners, such as the local authority, are involved. This includes a monthly OCG mapping meeting where intelligence is shared with partners.
Each territorial division has an SOC local profile. Established strategic boards and sub-groups at city and county levels are responsible for progressing the findings and recommendations from these SOC local profiles.
The force has a good level of resourcing to effectively assess threat, risk and harm. The operational approach appears effective. But, because it has no performance framework to make sure it records disruption activity, there is no objective way to measure how effective it is.
Resources and skills
Areas for improvement
The force should make sure that its serious and organised crime (SOC) task force has enough staff to meet SOC demand
At the time of our inspection, 10 of the 33 posts in the SOC task force were vacant. This was seriously undermining the effectiveness of the team’s approach to tackling SOC. We were told that the force is aware of the problem and it is trying to fill the current vacancies.
The force doesn’t have enough trained investigators
Like many other forces, Nottinghamshire Police doesn’t have enough trained investigators to cope with the demand from SOC. This has led to some uniformed officers being allocated complex or serious investigations inappropriately.
Generally, uniformed officers don’t have the training or time to complete lengthy and complicated investigations. As such, they struggle to progress SOC-related investigations.
The force accepts the problem and is trying to increase the number of trained investigators. It plans to run more Professionalising Investigation Programme 2 training courses, but this alone is unlikely to have any meaningful effect. The force should develop a more comprehensive plan for increasing the number of investigators.
The force is struggling to resource some specialist staff roles
In common with other forces, Nottinghamshire Police is finding it difficult to retain police staff who work in some specialist SOC roles. This is most acute in financial investigation and cybercrime, where trained and accredited staff are pursuing
better-paid careers with other local organisations. This continual need to recruit and train new staff creates inefficiencies.
The force doesn’t have enough trained staff and technology to effectively examine digital devices in a timely way. It also doesn’t have enough staff trained to conduct drug field testing. However, the force is now increasing the number of officers and staff who are trained to do this work. And it is investing in new technology to allow mobile examination of digital devices.
The force should make sure that personnel understand the importance of taking a 4P approach to tackling SOC
We found an inconsistent approach to the use of LROs within the force. In some cases, we found that SIOs were also performing the LRO role. This may be necessary in some cases. But it has the potential to make disruption activity focused on pursue activity, to the detriment of the other elements of a 4P plan. Wherever possible, the SIO and LRO roles should be distinct and separate.
We found some neighbourhood police officers had limited knowledge of what SOC disruption meant, despite awareness training being provided for county lines and child sexual exploitation and abuse. Officers had little knowledge of 4P plans to undermine organised crime, and the focus appeared to be on enforcement activity. This was predominantly given through Operation Reacher, which is discussed later in this report. Adopting a predominantly pursue approach reduces the opportunities to disrupt and prevent SOC and keep the public safe.
Tackling SOC and safeguarding people and communities
Areas for improvement
The force should improve how it records disruptions on the national database
In the 12 months to 31 May 2022, The force recorded 113 disruptions on the national database. All the disruption events were recorded as pursue activity; there were no prevent, protect or prepare disruptions recorded.
However, we found evidence that the force had been involved in prevent and protect activities, which weren’t being recorded as disruptions. The Operation Reacher teams have a separate database for recording their activity, but we weren’t confident that this activity was categorised and properly recorded as disruptions on the national database. This means the force may be involved in more disruption activity than is being recorded. The force’s own performance management regime doesn’t appear to have highlighted this problem, which may show a lack of an effective performance review process.
The force should raise the awareness of what serious and organised crime disruption activity is and how it should be recorded. This will help to better understand its performance in tackling serious and organised crime.
The force effectively disrupts SOC in local communities
In 2020, the force created 12 Operation Reacher teams, following a pilot in one area of the force. The Operation Reacher teams are made up of uniformed officers but are focused on addressing intelligence that needs immediate action. The teams have the skills, numbers and time to effectively target SOC threats. They obtain and execute search warrants, carry out arrests and, when appropriate, partake in co-ordinated overt enforcement activity, including working with other agencies.
The work of these teams is designed to help the force build community confidence in areas where OCGs have historically established themselves. This includes using social media to effectively publicise its enforcement and wider patrol activities. The force has published the Operation Reacher successes, with achievements that include more than 2,000 arrests, 4,000 stop searches and 500 search warrants executed. The Operation Reacher teams also monitor the activity of SOC offenders who are subject to serious crime prevention orders, carrying out enforcement around breaches. We were impressed with the force’s commitment to investing in this operation.
The force needs to improve how it seizes, stores and disposes of criminal assets
We found evidence of criminal assets not being seized or being inappropriately returned to suspects because of insufficient storage facilities. People we interviewed told us that some officers didn’t understand their powers to seize criminal assets, resulting in missed opportunities to disrupt organised crime. The force doesn’t have an effective process for managing and disposing of criminal assets, which is adding to storage problems.
The force is aware of the problem and the missed opportunity to generate income that can be reinvested in policing. The force is considering ways to improve, including the creation of an eBay account.
The force uses a range of tactics to disrupt SOC
The force uses ancillary orders and serious crime prevention orders effectively to manage the criminal behaviour of offenders. Nottinghamshire Police is also one of a few forces that have sought a gang injunction with the local authority, to limit the behaviour of known gang members. We encourage further use of this legislation, where it is justified and appropriate.
We found some evidence that Nottinghamshire Police tackled OCGs involved in modern slavery and human trafficking. One example is Operation Pintail, which saw the arrest and prosecution of eight individuals involved in this type of criminal exploitation. The operation also resulted in the seizure of significant criminal assets including multiple properties.
The force actively works with partners to prevent people being drawn into SOC
The force’s approach to county lines drug dealing has changed. There is now greater emphasis on safeguarding vulnerable people who may have been groomed, exploited or coerced into committing organised crime. The force works with the local authority and some charities to support those vulnerable people identified as at risk. Increasingly, these individuals are being recognised as victims, not perpetrators.
The force and its aforementioned partners have a child criminal exploitation panel and a serious youth violence panel. The purpose of these panels includes the sharing of information to help find those most at risk of exploitation by OCGs and putting diversionary action in place.
The force considers people involved in urban street gangs to be those who may become involved in OCGs later in life. The force uses early diversionary tactics to work alongside local authority partners with these individuals and their families. The force and its partners commission the work of two charities, the Chayah Development Project and The Pythian Club, to supply outreach workers to support young people caught up in organised crime and defuse inter-gang tensions when they arise.
Read An inspection of the east midlands regional response to serious and organised crime – March 2023
Building, supporting and protecting the workforce
Nottinghamshire Police is adequate at building and developing its workforce.
Areas for improvement
The force should make sure that its internal ethics panel is inclusive and relevant to the workforce at all levels. Staff should be encouraged to raise ethical concerns, and outcomes should be published
Ethics panels are a useful forum for discussing challenging ethical issues. They give staff an opportunity to raise issues that may otherwise remain unspoken.
Nottinghamshire Police has an ethics panel, but it is not effective. The workforce is unaware of its existence.
The force should further develop its existing panel, making sure it is inclusive and relevant to all the workforce. It should consider using external panel members where appropriate (for example, to benefit from specialist expertise). Topics discussed at the panel should be made available to the workforce.
The force is making progress in creating a workforce that better represents its communities
The force has made significant progress in recruiting officers from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
The force actively works with underrepresented communities and encourages potential candidates from these to join Nottinghamshire Police.
Applicants registering an interest in joining the force are monitored through a barcoded application process. BAME applicants are offered additional support related to completing the application and interview processes. Staff associations, including the Black Police Association, also offer candidates support and help address any concerns they may have about joining the force.
In August 2021 the force introduced a ‘widening access’ course to encourage BAME candidates to apply for officer and staff positions. The bespoke two-week course focused on making policing more accessible for people from different communities. It included familiarisation visits, coaching and advice and aimed to address any concerns people had before the application process. The first course of ten candidates resulted in seven people applying for roles within the force, and five securing roles. Further courses are scheduled for 2022.
There has been a rise in the number of BAME police officers the force recruits. Of all new police officer joiners in the year ending 31 March 2021, 19.5 percent were from a BAME background, compared with 9 percent in the previous year (ending 31 March 2020). This was the highest proportion of BAME police officer new starters within forces in England and Wales for the year ending 31 March 2021.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to how well the force builds and develops its workforce.
The force has made good progress in supporting the wellbeing of its workforce
At our last inspection, we issued a cause of concern related to the wellbeing measures the force offered to its workforce. The force has since made significant improvements to the wellbeing services and support it provides.
The force has created an internal wellbeing communications plan and a programme of events for staff. The events cover topics such as mental health awareness, financial considerations, physical wellbeing, and sleep support. The force seeks feedback from attendees so it can evaluate the events and make sure they benefit the workforce. There is also a dedicated intranet page where staff can access information to help them manage their own wellbeing. Both the communications plan and intranet page have helped raise awareness about wellbeing among the workforce.
The force has introduced over 100 wellbeing champions – trained staff who colleagues can approach for advice and signposting if they need additional support. The force has also taken part in a review of regional occupational health provision to make sure its workforce is receiving the best possible support when this is needed. The review has identified opportunities for improvement which the force is keen to support. Wellbeing is also included within supervisor training. This aims to give managers the skills to identify potential problems early and offer appropriate support.
Wellbeing features in most of the strategic and tactical meetings held by the force. There is a quarterly strategic wellbeing board chaired by the deputy chief constable, which includes monitoring data such as sickness and absence levels. This allows the force to track patterns and trends, resulting in appropriate themes being considered for inclusion within the annual plan. Staff we spoke to were positive about steps the force has taken and said there has been a noticeable change in how the force views and supports wellbeing. This was supported by findings from the internal staff survey.
The force should continue to embed its appraisal system
In our 2018/19 inspection we identified an area for improvement related to how the force managed and monitored individual performance. In September 2020 the force invested in a new performance appraisal system called ‘career conversations’. This was intended to form part of promotion processes and support talent management. At the time of this inspection, not all elements of the system were fully in use or understood by everyone. Senior leaders told us the new appraisal system would form part of promotion processes in 2022.
The force has attempted to explain the purpose and benefits of the revised appraisal process to its workforce. But officers and staff remain unsure about what happens once appraisals are completed, how the intended next stages may affect them, and how talented people are identified. Although ‘career conversations’ was introduced in September 2020, at the time of the inspection the completion rate for appraisals was only 77 percent.
The force should look for opportunities to speed up the incorporation of ‘career conversations’ into its promotion processes, and clarify how the system will help it identify and support talent. The force needs to renew its efforts to help and encourage the workforce to use the new system, to make sure its value is understood and increase completion rates. This will help the organisation and its workforce achieve the benefits of the system more quickly.
The force is building its workforce for the future
The force has made quick progress on Operation Uplift, the Government’s project to increase police officer numbers. The force has achieved its Uplift quota one year ahead of target, meaning it now has more officers policing Nottinghamshire.
The force also carries out analysis to better understand why individuals may leave the organisation – considering possible factors including ethnicity, gender, and length of service. Exit interviews are an important part of this process.
The force has increased the number of BAME police officers it recruits.
Of all new police officer joiners in the year ending 31 March 2021, 19.5 percent were from a BAME background, compared with 9 percent in the previous year (ending 31 March 2020). This was the highest proportion of BAME police officer new starters within forces in England and Wales for the year ending 31 March 2021.
Proportion of BAME new police officer joiners in forces in England and Wales, for the year ending 31 March 2021
Staff are proud to work for Nottinghamshire Police
During our inspection, officers and staff we spoke to were enthusiastic about the work they did and expressed pride in working for the force. Most of the officers and staff we met described the force as a positive place to work, and one which had made noticeable improvements in recent years. But despite good efforts by the force to create a fair and ethical culture, some of the workforce believe that unfairness remains, and perceive there to be a culture of favouritism. These officers and staff do not feel that recruitment and progression processes are consistently fair. Examples included some people being promoted while other credible candidates were overlooked.
The force should assure itself that its values extend throughout the organisation. It needs to tackle these perceptions of favouritism, while encouraging people to have the confidence to speak up or challenge in a professional way.
The force has several staff associations and representative groups. These include Unison, the Police Federation, the Black Police Association (BPA), the LGBT+ Police Network and the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Police Association. These representatives felt that the force worked well with them and listened to concerns raised by their members. They described the force as being inclusive, consultative, and open to professional challenge. For example, representative groups have participated in meetings about workforce considerations for COVID-19, and jointly funded wellbeing projects with the force.
Strategic planning, organisational management and value for money
Nottinghamshire Police is adequate at operating efficiently.
Areas for improvement
The force should improve its understanding of resource and workforce capability
During our inspection we identified practices which indicate that the force does not effectively manage the personnel it has at its disposal. These included response teams picking up demand from several other parts of the force – for example, work handed over at the end of the day by teams who do not work 24/7 shift patterns.
There are several teams carrying out proactive policing work, but a lack of leadership oversight is resulting in duplication of effort and crossover among these. And the movement of experienced officers from response to investigations work is increasing the demand placed on sergeants in response and crime investigation roles.
The force should review its operating model to make sure it is fit for purpose – both now and in the future when the force expects demand to increase.
In this section we set out our main findings that relate to how well the force operates efficiently.
The force must make sure it can achieve efficiency savings and improve productivity through the introduction of new systems
The force is still suffering from a failed collaboration and contracting out of its back office functions (including payroll, purchasing and human resources) through the multi‑force shared services centre, which involves several police forces. It has taken some time to unpick previously agreed arrangements and to understand what is required to make necessary improvements.
In April 2022, the force is due to introduce a new HR system. But it is not clear whether the force has the skills within its workforce that it will require to make the most of the opportunities the new system will bring.
The force’s ICT strategy was established in 2019. But there are few detailed delivery plans or costings to provide confidence that the force is on track to achieve its strategic ICT objectives.
The force’s performance management process needs to show a wider understanding of demand
The force has a strong focus on performance, with regular performance meetings held at strategic and local level. But performance data and scrutiny processes have been adopted locally without sufficient clarity about their purpose and how they should be used. These processes tend to produce data without the context of any deeper analysis or supporting information. This does not help supervisors understand the reasons for increases in demand, and reduces opportunities to increase performance in priority areas.
The force does not have an awareness of capability in all teams, resulting in silo working
Since the last inspection, the force has invested in additional teams to meet demand. All are performing to a high level as individual teams, but the teams could work together better to improve efficiency and effectiveness throughout the force. For example, proactive ‘reacher teams’ consisting of a sergeant and six officers operate in allocated neighbourhoods, but they have not been placed according to demand. And when out on patrol, these teams do not consider whether they are simply displacing criminality into another area. The street offences task force performs well, but it is not part of the Violence Against Women and Girls strategy, despite its work overlapping with this. And the two knife crime teams (city and rural) focus on known violent criminals and travelling criminality, but do not work with each other, or with the roads crime team or their colleagues in the wider East Midlands region.
The force actively seeks opportunities to improve services by working with other organisations
The force has a good track record of looking for ways to work with other organisations, and it has reviewed its existing collaboration agreements to make sure these are achieving what was originally agreed.
There has been some positive work related to the new £18.5m force headquarters. The development and running costs for these will be jointly funded by the force, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service. But we were told that the force has no plans to look for potential further efficiencies that this collaboration could bring.
The force makes the best use of the finance it has available, and its plans are both ambitious and sustainable
The force’s financial plans are well-aligned with its other corporate plans, particularly its workforce plans. The force has improved its financial position since our last inspection, but still faces some challenges. It has a balanced budget for 2021/22 and for 2022/23, but for the years after this there is an increasing gap between projected income and projected expenditure.
In 2023/24 there is a projected budget shortfall of £0.9m, which grows in each subsequent year. This would result in a cumulative deficit of £8.1m by 2025/26 if no further savings or efficiencies are found.
The force makes good use of ICT to support frontline policing
The force is involved with national police ICT programmes, such as the single online home platform and the Emergency Services Mobile Communication Programme. The spending necessary for these has been included in financial plans, and workforce feedback on the technology is very positive. The force is also investing in other new ICT, namely Power BI (for business intelligence), Pronto (which enables access to force systems on mobile devices), and its new HR platform.
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 elsewhere on our website.
We collected this data directly from all 43 police forces in England and Wales. This data is as provided by forces in May 2021.
Workforce figures (including ethnicity)
This data was obtained from the Home Office annual data return 502. The data is available from the Home Office’s published police workforce England and Wales statistics or the police workforce open data tables. The Home Office may have updated these figures since we obtained them for this report.
Further information and documents
Download the PDF report
Nottinghamshire PEEL inspection 2021/22
More about Nottinghamshire Police
You can find more about Nottinghamshire Police on our dedicated force page.
What Nottinghamshire Police says
Nottinghamshire Police covers the county of Nottinghamshire, an area of 834 square miles. It currently has 2,238 officers and 1,465 staff, including PCSOs, around 163 special constables, 113 police support volunteers, 19 student placement volunteers and 131 police cadets.
Around 1.1 million people mainly live in the urban centres which include the city of Nottingham, as well as the towns of Mansfield, Worksop and Newark-on-Trent.
Read more from Nottinghamshire Police.
Read the press release
Nottinghamshire Police has improved, but further changes needed
Find out more about HMICFRS’s work and other inspection areas
Find out how well other forces have performed during their PEEL assessment.
You can view the recommendations for all forces made by HMICFRS on our Progress against recommendations page. This shows how much progress has been made on these recommendations.
Data and methodology
Detailed information about the inspection methodology.