Last week HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC – What’s this) issued their full PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Hampshire Constabulary.
PEEL is designed to give the public information about how their local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year. The assessment is updated throughout the year with our inspection findings and reports.
The updated report reveals that Hampshire Constabulary ‘requires improvement’ in respect of its effectiveness at keeping people safe and reducing crime, other areas were deemed as ‘Good’ such as tackling crime and anti-social behaviour.
The overall judgment was that there has been a deterioration on last year, when they judged the force to be ‘good’.
Inspector has ‘serious concerns’
The inspector, Zoe Billingham, reported,
The force should be commended for its commitment to neighbourhood policing and it has improved how it tackles serious and organised crime. It generally protects vulnerable people well.
However, HMIC has serious concerns about the way in which the force is supporting some victims of domestic abuse.
Weakness in support for Domestic Abuse
The inspector went on to say,
It has unacceptably low arrest rates for crimes relating to domestic abuse and a very high proportion (over 60 percent) of domestic abuse cases where cases do not proceed on the grounds that ‘the victim does not support police action’.
The proportion of domestic abuse incidents that result in arrest or formal police action has reduced markedly over the last year and is now the lowest in England and Wales.
This means that some victims of domestic abuse in Hampshire may not be receiving adequate support through the use of police powers of arrest, prosecution or out of court action; far fewer offenders are being brought to justice compared to the rate across England and Wales as a whole.
Avoided ‘inadequate’ rating
The inspector added,
The force would have been judged as inadequate overall in how it protects vulnerable people, had it not already identified the problem and started to take steps to address the concerns before our inspection began.
There remains much for the force to do.
The Inspector presented this summary video of her findings
- ‘Good’ for efficiency – How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
- ‘Good’ for legitimacy – How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Constabulary committed “to getting our approach right”
Hampshire Constabulary say they are pleased to see that steps they’ve have already taken are reflected positively in HMIC’s comments and they remain committed “to getting our approach right”.
Sara Glen, Deputy Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary, said,
“Looking after vulnerable people is a major focus for us all, and whilst we are getting it right in our neighbourhoods, on child sexual exploitation, mental health, and tackling modern slavery, we are all disappointed that our efforts in some areas of domestic abuse have been found to require improvement. This only makes us more determined.
“I am pleased that the full report reflects the positive work Hampshire Constabulary is doing in terms of neighbourhood policing, partnership, taking on organised criminals, and a good response to tackling anti-social behaviour. Our officers and staff are listening to the views of victims and that ‘without exception’ have good knowledge of vulnerability including child sexual exploitation, modern slavery and domestic abuse.
“We have been graded as ‘good’ for legitimacy and efficiency and as ‘requiring improvement’ in the effectiveness section of the report. We have already taken considerable steps to address the areas identified as requiring improvement. This includes improving our arrest rate for domestic abuse incidents from 27% to 40%, and stopping telephone based assessments.
“I would also remind people that a recent joint report on all Hampshire agencies on domestic abuse, published in February 2017, highlighted a ‘strong’ standard of work on domestic abuse and recognised the importance of getting the right balance between arresting people, but also focusing on partnership work and innovative approaches that break the cycle of offending.
“Victim confidence is crucial. I would like to reassure people that our victim satisfaction rate for domestic abuse is 86% and we have spent considerable time looking at the period in question to understand whether anyone was put at unnecessary risk. After reviewing cases, and speaking with victims, we do not believe that this is the case but if anyone does have any concerns, please get in touch.
“Hampshire is the second lowest cost police force nationally and as such we have to innovate to remain effective. Learning lessons as we do this is a key part of that and inspections help us to do that.”
PCC: “Paying close attention to the areas identified by the HMIC”
In response to the report, the Police and Crime Commissioner, Michael Lane told OnTheWight this morning,
“HMIC have judged Hampshire Constabulary as good in many areas. Those areas that HMIC have identified as requiring improvement give a helpful indicator for focus for the Hampshire Constabulary Chief Constable and for me, on behalf of the community, in what will keep residents even safer and protect them from the greatest threats and risk of harm.
“I am paying close attention to the areas identified by the HMIC and the Constabulary’s strategy for the future to ensure it provides the safest options for the communities I serve. I welcome the acknowledgement by Zoe Billingham, our inspector, that the force has moved quickly to address her concerns and that it continues to provide a good service to the communities of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, and Southampton.
“I will always respect the work of HMIC and the quality assurance they provide through their professional understanding of the nature of the business they are inspecting, and also as people who see a wide range of delivery in other environments.”
Full details can be found in the report online.