A report published today by Government inspectors, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, reviews Nottinghamshire Police’s approach to preventing and investigating crime and antisocial behaviour, tackling serious and organised crime, managing offenders and protecting those most vulnerable.
The report follows an inspection of the force in September 2016 at which time the force was found to be ‘Good’ at investigating crime and reducing re-offending and ‘Good’ at tackling serious and organised crime. However, its work to prevent crime, tackle anti-social behaviour and keep people safe was deemed to ‘Require improvement’ while it was rated ‘Inadequate’ at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims. In conclusion, the overall assessment is that the force ‘Requires Improvement’.
New Chief Constable Craig Guildford said: “I have discussed the evidence, facts and assumptions within this report with my colleagues in the force, and recently with the HMI, in order to fully understand what appears to be a ‘mixed picture’. The inspection was undertaken in the summer of 2016 and the vulnerability issues were immediately addressed.
“The actions taken in response have placed the force in what I believe to be a much more positive position today. In particular, all incidents are now assessed for threat, risk, harm and vulnerability with much greater consistency. Today the force had just 13 ‘open’ domestic related incidents, compared to the 61 evidenced last summer, all of which had been assessed accordingly. This is a strong position compared to many other forces I am aware of.
“It’s a fact that there are a higher number of domestic incidents per head of population in Nottinghamshire than the national average. However, illustrating how well we pursue those responsible, we retain one of the highest arrest rates for these crimes with a significantly strong charge rate and lower than average case attrition. Importantly, we have continued to invest in victim services at a time of increasing fiscal constraint with the support of the Police and Crime Commissioner. That is strong evidence of taking such crimes seriously, working hard to achieve the right outcomes and in protecting the vulnerable.
“Our broader partnership arrangements on public protection have changed since last summer and we have had a Peer Review by Lancashire Police in addition to developing a solution on a second Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub with the City Council. Again, these are all positive steps to help protect the vulnerable and to share information expeditiously. Furthermore, of the structural changes undertaken, additional investment has been undertaken in Public Protection.
“We have a large team who are investigating historic child abuse allegations going back decades and I am reassured by the level of effort and investment in this area which is an important aspect to keeping people safe and protecting the vulnerable.
“I am committed to Neighbourhood Policing and having been around all our partners I am utterly convinced that we are as one. It is fair to say that Neighbourhood Officers are allocated some calls from the public. This is absolutely right as most are ASB related and specific to their areas. We have continued to invest in our neighbourhoods with our partners and I am committed to maintaining neighbourhood officers and PCSOs despite the current financial challenges. I have heard similar anecdotes from officers in other forces and my commitment to neighbourhood policing remains absolute.
“Crime Recording is a national issue and my experience elsewhere has made me acutely aware of this. Nottinghamshire has not seen as high an increase as many other forces have seen since making changes to its recording practices. I have been assured that immediately after the findings were shared last year that we have audited ourselves and have completed our back-record conversion.
“Working with other East Midlands forces in a regional collaboration, along with Operation Vanguard Plus, which offers lifestyle support and mentoring and help with accommodation and training opportunities to deter people from a life of crime; the Domestic Abuse team and the Integrated Offender Management teams provide a targeted focus on early intervention by police and partners to break the cycle of reoffending.
“Nottinghamshire Police is a place of extremely hard working and dedicated people. We want to do the best for the public we serve, and keep people safe. We work well with partners both locally and across the region to prevent people from reoffending and find innovative and cost-effective ways of providing a range of services through joint working. We have also established an embedded and well-developed understanding of dealing with the threats caused by serious and organised crime groups.
“Supporting vulnerable people is one of my force priorities, and we need to continue to work closely with all the other agencies that also have a part to play. Engaging with the people we serve is vital, to ensure we can understand what matters locally. Neighbourhood teams have a huge part to play in this, as they are the bedrock of community policing, and we have to adapt accordingly. Local officers working in a specific area who know their community groups, retail outlets, and schools enable effective problem-solving.
“The nature of crime is changing; we have to deal with the areas of greatest threat, harm and risk to the public. Many of these crime types are not physically happening on the streets of Nottinghamshire. For instance, cyber-crime, fraud, child sexual exploitation offences are being enabled by technology, from offenders’ homes wherever those homes may be. We need to make sure we have the skills and the resource in place to deal with these emerging threats.
“HMIC recognises that the force has effective specialist capabilities and is generally well prepared to deal with complex and strategic threats. Our regional firearms governance arrangements are well-defined and regular training and exercising is carried out in preparation of a potential terrorist attack.
“I have seen first-hand the changes the force has made and the hard work that is shown by officers and staff every day, despite the difficult challenges that they face. This view is endorsed by the HMI Billingham.
“However, we are never complacent and I intend to ensure that we continue to address each and every one of the HMIC’s recommendations as I lead the force into the future. I am very optimistic by what I have seen, by what I see on a daily basis and we are completely committed to improving ourselves with consistency across all areas during 2017.”
Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, added that while he accepted the conclusions of the report, there were many positive examples of police performance in the report.
He said: “While I accept the findings of this report, I’m a bit disappointed that it doesn’t recognise the steps that were already in place at the time of the inspection and those that have been implemented since then, which are designed to address the issues that it raises as ‘requiring improvement’.
“It does highlight many positive points, including a good standard of offence investigation and the work to tackle serious and organised crime which was also found to be ‘good’. The way in which the force works with partners to reduce re-offending was complimented and HMIC found that it is adequately prepared to manage the risk posed by dangerous and sexual offenders.
“Considering the current emphasis placed on emerging issues such as terrorism, I was also pleased to see that HMIC notes the effective specialist capabilities that are in place.
“Nottinghamshire has just welcomed a new Chief Constable. I have already spoken to him about this report and know he has plans in place.”
A copy of the report can be found HERE
Nottinghamshire Police: Corporate Communications 0115 967 2080
Paddy Tipping, Police and Crime Commissioner – Sallie Blair 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Thursday 2nd March 2017