Police Accountability Board Minutes 10 May 2022

1. Welcome and introductions


PFCC Stephen Mold (SM)

Paul Fell (PF)

Louise Sheridan (LS)

CC Nick Adderley (NA)

D/Chief Supt. Paul Rymarz (PM)

T/Chief Supt, Adam Ward (AW)

D/Supt Lee McBride (LM)

Colleen Rattigan (CR)

Sarah Crampton (SC)


  • SM welcomed everyone to the meeting.
  • Apologies were accepted from Nicci Marzec and DCC Nickless.

2. Previous minutes and action log

  • Minutes of previous meeting were circulated with the meeting papers. No changes have been requested
  • Outstanding actions from the Action Log have been updated.

3. Budget Conditions Letter Update

Force strategic priorities/matters of priority update

The Chief Constable adopted a suite of performance measures and targets relating to Force Strategic priorities for 2021/2022.

The Commissioner requests a presentation/report that shows performance against these measures and targets at year end

  • Sarah Crampton provided a presentation along with a summary report on the Forces performance against the 4 ‘matters of priority’
  • The Commissioner complimented her and her team on the quality of the report stating that it was the best one we have seen.


  • This year, the Force has been focussed on identifying the individuals and locations that have been blighted by anti-social behaviour and worked with agencies or community groups where appropriate to address these issues.
  • Two of the four measures identified to evidence if the priority was performing at the expected level were achieved.
  • There was a discussion on victim satisfaction levels whilst good had reduced slightly. Sarah advised that there have been signs of recent improvements
  • The Chief Constable confirmed that work is underway to withdraw from current arrangement with Leicestershire for the surveying of victims of crime, to be able to provide better insight into this issue locally.
  • Once a new service provider is in place the Force will be able to gain greater insight into the causes of victim dissatisfaction and why in the area of ASB this has been declining.
  • T/ACC Ash Tuckley will lead on this piece of work.
  • The Chief Constable was content that the Force Control Room are providing reassurance and managing caller expectations but there will always be some instances where a complainant won’t ever be satisfied.
  • Focus on keeping victims informed will be key to improving satisfaction rates along with an improved online offering – contact us whenever you want however you choose.
  • In addition, more work is being done with Neighbourhood policing teams to educate residents n what is a police matter and what isn’t.

Knife crime

  • All four measures identified to evidence if the priority was performing at the expected level were achieved.
  • The Force has maintained the strong momentum from 2020/21 into this year to focus on the pursuit of key offenders.
  • Knife crime levels have fallen in the county, but it is accepted that there is still much more to do.
  • The Force clearly understands the nature of the demand with ‘threat of use’ making up the majority of offences recorded.
  • A high-profile media campaign in Autumn 2021 challenges the perceptions of knife crime and focussed on the consequences of carrying a knife.
  • The Force has seen a doubling of stop and searches conducted for a blade and 1,176 knifes were seized; an increase of 17.4% on the previous year.
  • A Knife Crime Nominal Matrix is now embedded identifying the riskiest knife crime perpetrators – A third of offences relate to OCGs.

Domestic Abuse

  • Six of the seven measures identified to evidence if the priority was performing at the expected level were achieved.
  • The Force has recognised the importance of getting to incidents quickly to protect the victim and take positive action including arrest.
  • The Force understand who the most vulnerable victims are, and specialist teams are available to work with these victims to keep them safe.
  • DA levels are down by 7% year on year but up 2.9% on pre covid levels.
  • Overall victims have decreased by almost 6% and repeat victims are down from 43% to 41.9%, during the last year.
  • D/Chief Supt. Paul Rymarz confirmed that a lot of work has been done on correctly recording DA offences with an increasing focus on positive outcomes for victims using DA Protection Orders and referrals to Project PIPA


  • Six of the nine measures identified to evidence if the priority was performing at the expected level were achieved. One measure showed no change.
  • Serious and Organised Crime is a complex area, and the Force has seen a greater use of powers to tackle organised criminality with increasing success.
  • Cannabis grows have featured as an increasing area of drug trafficking, but the Force secured one of its largest single seizures of cocaine (700kg worth an estimated £78 million)
  • The protracted nature of some investigations is likely to result in positive outcomes secured in the next financial year rather than the data for 2021/22.
  • The county has previously seen a small number of high-risk firearms incidents linked to organised crime. Targeting the removal of weapons and associated paraphernalia has been a core focus this year.
  • The seizure of illegal weapons is most critical in protecting communities and the Force have seen some good success here.
  • A dedicated surveillance team has been recruited and is expected to provide even better results in supporting the Force attempts to reduce the impacts of serious and organised crime.
  • There was a discussion about plans for the use of Force drones to help detect even more cannabis grows. These are drones equipped with infra-red technology and speculatively flown.

Action – The Chief Constable to provide the Commissioner with an update on the drone project and when it will be launched.

  • There was a discussion about the Citadel project in Kettering and plans to expand, understand what the user base is and extrapolate up.
  • There was a discussion about the drug profile of users.
  • There was a discussion about repeat victims of fraud.
  • The Commissioner was keen to understand what more could be done collectively to tackle this issue, particularly the most vulnerable and provide them with more support.
  • D/Chief Supt. Rymarz confirmed that a recent peer review by the City of London Police rated our approach as good.
  • The Force has a specialist Fraud department but the challenge here is that we continually lose our police officers to large financial institutions such as Barclaycard and Santander. Who have large corporate offices in Northampton and neighbouring Milton Keynes.
  • The force has a plan to continually upskill our Fraud Investigators to upskill them and increase our capacity.

The Force also has Prevent officers – working with institutions on education support ideas i.e., Op Repeat.

Service delivery including Response times

  • Five of the nine measures identified to evidence if the priority was performing at the expected level were achieved. One measure showed no change, Two measures are do not have full year data (April to Sept 2021 only)
  • There was a discussion about the amended local target to a national target, relating to response times, which the Commissioner did not recognise.
  • The Chief Constable reiterated that the target was changed to accommodate the changed model of policing and the continuous balance between quality of investigation and ability to get to incident as fast as possible.
  • The Force has a young in-service Response team but every week that passes officers get more experienced.
  • The Chief Constable accepts that response times are important, and he is looking at mores ways to improve them including geo fencing, and cluster locations. This work is already underway.
  • Overarching aim to ensure that resources are in right location, build experience and knowledge. Coupled with the support of technology the Chief Constable was confident that this would push response times down.
  • There is also a renewed focus on supervision, making sure officers are out and that the sergeants have a grip of resources.
  • It was agreed that the Chief Constable would write to the Commissioner with the rationale for changing the Response time target.

Action – Chief Constable to write to the Commissioner with the rationale for changing the Response time target.

  • the Commissioner was assured that Northamptonshire police had demonstrated some significant improvements across a range of areas.
  • Of the 33 targets set, 23 had been achieved including all those relating to knife crime.
  • The Commissioner requested some additional scrutiny and context on the targets that were missed slightly or were not achieved at the next performance update.
  • The Force is going in the right direction, but focus should now move on how they get from good to great.

Assurance statement:

The Commissioner thanked Sarah Crampton and her team for the quality of the data and supporting papers. The paper provided the Commissioner with an assessment of how the Force had performed against the targets and measures set as part of the Chief Constable’s agreed matters of priority for 2021/2022.

There were a number of areas that resulted in discussion. Satisfaction with victims of anti-social behaviour has dropped. The Commissioner was pleased with a recently piloted approach to dealing with ASB which had seen early signs of improved levels of satisfaction but stated that he felt more needed to be done to better understand this issue. He was assured that recording of crimes overall and for high-risk matters such as domestic abuse was robust.

The Commissioner acknowledged that there had been a change in the operating environment that had affected response times but was concerned about the drop in performance. While accepting that the Force response times for emergency calls was below the national NPCC target of 15 minutes he made clear he did not accept the change to this national target from a local one mid-year and reinforced to the Chief Constable the importance of response times..

Overall, the Commissioner was assured that performance was moving in the right direction in many areas, with work still to do in others.


4. Integrated Offender management

The Commissioner requests an update on the process of IOM in Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire as a whole.

The paper ought to articulate what IOM is, how it is delivered in the County and the Northamptonshire Police contribution to this.

The Commissioner would like to understand how the process of offender management works in the County and how it can be better and most effectively supported.

  • An update on the Integrated Offender Management programme was provided in advance of the meeting.
  • Rather than read from the report verbatim, D/Supt Lee McBride provided an additional presentation to add context and bring the programme to life.
  • The Integrated Offender Management programme went live in October 2021 however Northants Police began planning the operational delivery framework in March 2021.
  • The Programme is resourced by a full-time sergeant and 8 police constables. The team are supported by a scheme co-ordinator which is temporarily funded by the OPFCC.
  • Kate North, Head of Northamptonshire Probation Delivery Unit leads on the probation side.
  • The IOM team have recently put a bid together so that they can co locate in Wellingborough and in the Bridge Street office in Northampton. This improves the way they deal with intelligence and make quicker and more informed decisions.
  • Lee explained that the IOM scheme identifies 8 crucial pathways to offending: lifestyle, attitude, behaviour, employment/training/education, relationships, drugs, alcohol and accommodation.
  • The team focus on these in the hope that they can change the person’s life around.
  • As of 4th May there were 107 offenders being supported by the programme.
  • A scoring matrix system identifies those most likely to reoffend.
  • 43 offenders ‘fixed cohort’ are considered to present a significant risk and are therefore prioritised for statutory management
  • There are 28 offenders in the ‘flex cohort’ and 11 in ‘flex 18 – 24’ who are considered likely to re-offend.
  • All fixed and flex cohort offenders engage in a minimum of three meetings a week.
  • 10 offenders are DA perpetrators and 11 are managed via Serious Crime Prevention Orders.
  • Offenders in the IOM are de-selected if there is a significant reduction in offending and pathways have been successfully stabilised.
  • A GPS tag has also proven to be successful amongst service users
  • There was a discussion about future developments.
  • Kit Malthouse MP has been instrumental in the implementation of electronic monitoring. Currently 12 police forces piloting, and it is widely anticipated that this scheme will be extended across all area within England and Wales.
  • Northants Police is not one of the trial forces and is keen to see the results of the trial when released by the MOJ.
  • Future improvements/developments are expected to be realised from the Observatory, and from increase information sharing data between the police and probation service – should go live in August 2022
  • The Commissioner expressed his thanks to D/Supt McBride and offered additional funding should it be required.
  • D/Supt McBride thanked the Commissioner and would discuss with Neil Moloney.
  • It was agreed that when the evaluation of the IOM programme is completed later in the year it will come back to the Accountability Board.

Assurance Statement :

The Commissioner received a paper outlining the progress of integrated offender management in the County and welcomed the positive work that had been undertaken over the last 6 months. The briefing that accompanied the paper demonstrated some positive case examples of some of the early successes.

He also welcomed the positive commitment and support from the Probation Service.

Overall, the Commissioner was pleased with progress and asked for an update report to be provided in 6 months’ time.

5. Stop & Search

The Commissioner requires a report concerning stop and search powers and their use in Northamptonshire.

As well as presenting data on the use of stop and search over the last three years in Northamptonshire, the report should provide a commentary on the considered effectiveness of stop and search in the policing of the County, as well as demonstrating areas of stop and search where the data presents disproportionality or potential disproportionality, with commentary on the understanding of why this might be the case

  • T/Chief Supt. Adam Ward provided an overview on the use of Stop and Search over the past three years in Northamptonshire.
  • Northants Police has not seen any significant increase in drug related S&S but has seen a large increase in S&S for bladed articles, firearms and other weapons.
  • This is largely due to the prioritisation of knife crime and the work being lead under Op Sceptre to reduce knife and violence related crime.
  • 96% of S&S incidents are capture using Body Worn Video.
  • Complaints are monitored through the Stop & Search Scrutiny Panel.
  • There was a discussion about the number of Stop and Searches conducted.
  • The Commissioner was keen to understand why other forces had carried out more citing West Yorkshire 3 times bigger but 8 times more S&S, and Essex which is 2.5 bigger but conducts 10x more S&S.
  • T/Chief Supt. Adam Ward advised that S&S should accord with criminality and in Northants is target led.
  • Whilst it is difficult to prove that S&S works, he instinctively and professionally knows that it does.
  • There was a discussion about No Further Action rates.
  • For example, if there was a report of a knife seen being carried by a group of people and they were stopped and searched. If 4 people in that group were searched and only 1 person was found to be carrying a knife the NFA rate would be 75%. That could rise to 100% if the person carrying the knife was a minor with no previous incidents. To avoid criminalising the young person the police could choose to NFA but seize the knife and put a Police Protection Notice in place to ensure additional support from other agencies could be put in place.
  • There was a discussion about the effectiveness of S&S and specifically ‘find’ rates.
  • T/Chief Supt. Adam Ward confirmed the find rate for Northants police is higher than the national average.
  • Overall, the use of Stop and Search has proven to be an effective tool especially in targeting USG, OCG and County Lines in Northamptonshire.
  • The Increasing number of searches of under 18’s corelates with the increase in the number of young people carrying knives and dealing drugs.
  • For example, Op Revive in Wellingborough has been successful in taking dangerous weapons and knives off the streets.
  • The the average age of drug runners being recruited and used by OCGs is 15 – 16 years.
  • There was a discussion on disproportionality. This is a really complex subject which is not helped by the fact that ONS data is wildly out of data. Currently working to a census conducted in 2011
  • When refreshed later this year we should see a massive change in proportionality.
  • There was a discussion about the IOPC National Stop and Search Learning Report released in April 2022.
  • The report contained 18 recommendations aimed at improving policing practice so that black, Asian or other ethnic backgrounds are safeguarded from S&S that are influenced by stereotyping and bias.
  • Forces have been issued recommendations and must provide a response within 56 days unless they have a valid reason not to do so.
  • T/Chief Supt. Adam Ward advised that ownership of the 18 recommendations has been assigned to the S&S SME to consider.
  • Each recommendation will be scrutinised to see if Northants police can improve its working practices and if required provide a plan to implement the recommendations.
  • A report will be provided to the Force Assurance Board in due course which will look at a refreshed review of effectiveness and disproportionality conducted when the ONS 2022 data is available.
  • A summary of both change/planned change to implement recommendations from the IOPC report.
  • It was agreed that this report will be reviewed at a future Accountability Board when appropriate to do so.

Assurance Statement:

The Commissioner welcomed the paper from the Force on this subject. He noted that it was interesting that the Force received very few complaints relating to stop and search and in some cases, in areas affected by high crime levels, members of the public regularly asked officers to conduct these searches in greater numbers.

 The Commissioner was pleased with the increases in the seizures of knives and weapons recovered from stop and search activity.

 There was a discussion about disproportionality relating to black members of the community and while this is lower in the County than nationally there was still some evidence that this existed. The Commissioner challenged the Force to better understand this and address or evidence it and was assured that work is ongoing to do so.

6. A.O.B

  • No further business was raised.