HMICFRS’s 2020/21 policing inspection programme and framework: for consultation
Response from: Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Hampshire.
1. Do the proposed thematic inspections – of child protection; investigating and prosecuting rape cases; the multi-agency response to suspects and offenders who have mental ill health; serious youth violence; and how well policing responds to two threat areas within the Strategic Policing Requirement, namely serious and organised crime (SOC), specifically through the activity of regional organised crime units, and public order – cover areas that are of most concern to you at the moment?
We agree the proposed thematic inspection proposals are important and topical.
2. Are there any significant new or emerging problems in policing that HMICFRS should take into account in our inspection activity?
Significant changes in criminal behaviours and methods of delivery are evident. HMICFRS inspectors should respond to these changes and focus on what will be required to demonstrate operationally effective, modern, forward looking and sustainable approaches to fit constabularies for the future. The best forces will be innovative, manage risk within resources available and continue to deliver for the community.
The change to growing regional and national partnerships within policing should be recognised through the inspection program. And other partnerships should also be tested for maximising policing outcomes in a holistic environment of public service to the community.
Inspections should therefore cover: innovation; partnerships; skills development to meet new digital and other technology advancements; societal issues such as mental health and hidden crimes (e.g. domestic abuse, child sexual exploitation etc.).
3. How else could HMICFRS adapt the way in which we acquire information, to take account of current circumstances and risks to public safety?
The continuing demand from traditional crimes such as burglaries, theft and vehicle crime do continue and remain at the forefront of the public’s perception of crime.
The approach to tackling those hidden crimes which represent the greatest risk to the public are often not those on the mind of the community as their highest priority. Yet they must continue to be the focus of the Constabulary.
Landing the messages of the Constabulary’s Force Control Strategy will be key, and help inform the public as to what will keep them safer.
Future inspections by HMICFRS should contribute to descriptions of how constabularies address appropriate prioritisation of the greatest threats and risk of harm, and how to educate the public around these threats.
This year, we are also consulting on changes to the PEEL inspection programme. The details of our new approach can be found in Annexes A and B in the consultation document. We welcome your views on these further questions:
4. What do you think of the proposed approach to assessing police forces in PEEL 2020/21 (Annex A)? How could this be improved?
In adopting an approach that is intelligence led and makes better use of the evidence available is welcomed. While it is important to raise concerns where public safety is concerned, the proposed method of publishing the concerns before the report is published gives little time for the force to make changes if needed, and has the potential to damage public trust and confidence, vital, especially in the current climate.
This method could only work if the force is given the opportunity to provide further evidence to refute the claim, and or be given the time to amend any practice ahead of publication. It is the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner to listen to what residents have to say on feelings of safe and policing related issues, it is important the public better understand the inspection process and not just the headlines generate in this way without context.
5. Does the draft inspection methodology (Annex B) include the right inspection areas to gather evidence for a rounded assessment of police forces? How could this be improved?
We agree with the draft inspection areas, however would suggest a further breakdown of vulnerability due to the vast and complex crimes this encompasses as to not overlook or lessen the inspection area. In particular, we’d welcome closer links from HMICFRS around the victim code of practice and the victim voice, not necessarily for grading but for highlighting and sharing good practice identified across forces would benefit forces and victims alike, particularly among the most vulnerable.
6. Do you agree with the proposal to make judgments based on the characteristics of ‘Good’, causes of concern and areas for improvement?
We agree that if a force does not meet the required standards then the grading should reflect this, with the evidential support highlighting failures, areas for improvement and success measures.
7. Do you agree with the proposal to provide judgments at the core question level only?
We agree providing judgements at the core question level provide specificity to the judgements allocated.
8. Which of our proposals, four or five tiers of judgments, do you think will most promote improvements in policing?
We believe the five tier judgement would best promote policing improvements, mimicking a Likert scale to show progression and more achievable development across the judgement scale.
9. Do you have any comments on our proposed approach to inspecting partnership and collaboration arrangements?
We welcome this approach to recognise the partnership and collaborative nature of forces, not only to identify areas for improvement but to share areas of learning and good practice to adopt networks in this area.