Summary of consultation responses: Policing inspection programme and framework 2021/22
- Overview of consultation responses
- Summary of responses
- 1. Do these proposed thematic inspections cover those areas that are of most concern to you at the moment?
- 2. Are there any significant new or emerging problems in policing that HMICFRS should consider in its inspection activity?
- 3. How else could HMICFRS adapt the way in which it acquires information to take account of current circumstances and risks to public safety?
- HMICFRS response
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Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) independently assesses and reports on the effectiveness and efficiency of police forces in the public interest.
We recently ran a consultation on our proposed programme of policing inspections for 2021/22. The purpose of this consultation was to make sure that we continue to focus our inspection work on what matters most to the public.
The consultation asked for views on whether the proposed programme covered the right themes and areas of policing. In particular, we sought responses to the following consultation questions:
- Do these proposed thematic inspections cover those areas that are of most concern to you at the moment?
- Are there any significant new or emerging problems in policing that HMICFRS should take into account in its inspection activity?
- How else could HMICFRS adapt the way in which it acquires information to take account of current circumstances and risks to public safety?
Overview of consultation responses
We published our proposed 2021/22 framework for consultation on 13 April 2021. The consultation period was initially set for four weeks, to close on 19 May 2021.
Following representation from the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, we agreed to extend consultation by seven days. This was to allow enough time for newly elected police and crime commissioners (PCCs) to respond. The consultation period ended on 26 May.
We received 48 responses:
- 22 from police forces;
- 10 from PCCs;
- 11 from other organisations; and
- 5 from members of the public.
Summary of responses
1. Do these proposed thematic inspections cover those areas that are of most concern to you at the moment?
The vast majority of responses to the consultation supported our proposed programme of inspections. Of the 45 responses to this question, 43 indicated broad agreement that the proposed thematic inspections cover those areas that are of most concern. The other two responses raised issues which we either already inspect through our rolling PEEL inspections, or which we have previously inspected and reported upon.
2. Are there any significant new or emerging problems in policing that HMICFRS should consider in its inspection activity?
Several different matters were raised in response to this question. Many of the responses reinforced the importance of themes that are already included in our planned inspections set out in the framework. These include:
- domestic abuse;
- digital forensics;
- advancing equality, diversity and inclusion in policing;
- ethnic disproportionality in the criminal justice system; and
- serious youth violence.
Other problems that were mentioned included:
- backlogs of criminal cases awaiting trial;
- the effect of the pandemic on the criminal justice system;
- reduced partner agency resources and its effect on police services (a problem which was exacerbated by the pandemic);
- increase in online crime/fraud; and
- knife crime and youth violence.
We will consider these and will either reflect them in the design of our planned inspections, or consider them as potential priorities for future years.
3. How else could HMICFRS adapt the way in which it acquires information to take account of current circumstances and risks to public safety?
Responses to this question included the following themes:
The demand placed on forces by the inspectorate
We consulted on the changes to the PEEL programme in our 2020/21 consultation and we were reassured by the responses we received. Many forces welcomed the changes made to our PEEL programme and the introduction of our continuous inspection model. They said that it will allow HMICFRS to gain valuable insight and identify causes of concern without delay.
We will review this approach over the coming year to ensure this approach is working effectively.
Changes to the way we inspect
Most forces who replied stated that a hybrid approach to inspection was working well. A blend of remote and on-site fieldwork provided an opportunity to reach more of the workforce and was perceived to use resources efficiently.
As we now begin to return to ways of working which are closer to how things were before the pandemic, we will continue to monitor our approach to ensure the safety of our staff and those who we inspect.
A few of those who responded stated they would welcome more engagement with civil society groups, grassroots organisations and the public when designing inspection methodology.
Our 2021/2025 strategy is designed to address this matter. The strategy focuses even greater attention on consulting and working with others, and on assessing how well interdependent systems are working to improve public safety.
We are grateful for all the responses to the consultation and to those who gave their opinion. Throughout this process, our objective has been to make sure that we continue to focus our inspection work on what matters most to the public. While we outlined our proposed framework of inspection activity in the consultation, we were open to considering other priorities and ways of working.
A clear majority of respondents agreed with our proposed thematic inspections, and that they cover those areas of most concern. Although broadly, we had already considered these emerging issues in our planned inspections, we will give further consideration to our inspection design to reflect these concerns where possible.
A proportion of those who responded acknowledged the benefits of a blend of remote and on-site fieldwork, as it provides an opportunity to reach more of the workforce and is an efficient use of resources. We will continue to monitor the effectiveness of this approach in the coming year.