Police Accountability Board Minutes 10 October 2023

Welcome and introductions



PFCC Stephen Mold (SM)

Louise Sheridan (LS)

Paul Fell (PF)

Helen King (HK)

David Peet (DP)

CC Nick Adderley (NA)

ACC Ash Tuckley (AT)

Vaughan Ashcroft (VA)

Colleen Rattigan (CR)

Insp. Ross MacDonald (RMacD)

Sarah Crampton (SC)



  • SM welcomed everyone to the meeting.

Apologies were accepted from DCC Balhatchet.


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.


Strategic Outcomes Requirements Letter Update


The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner agreed a Strategic Outcomes Requirements letter with the Chief Constable as part of the budget setting process for 2023/2024.


The Commissioner requires a report outlining progress against the contents of this letter to this point.


  • Colleen Rattigan provided an overview of the paper which was taken as read.
  • Delivery is managed within the Strategy and Innovation Unit.
  • The next key deadlines are developing the functionality and cobranding of and the Co-location of FCR.
  • A paper at the next Accountability Board will provide an update on the recent HMICFRS debrief.
  • Inspector James Elliot will be moving from FCR to Crime Command and working on the feedback from the inspection.
  • Highlights against the letter as follows:



  • The additional investment in ANPR and Roads policing is delivering real benefit.
  • There has been a 300% increase in positive outcomes alongside notable reductions in burglary. A positive outcome in relation to ANPR is where a vehicle hit is made and as a result of stopping that vehicle there is some sort of positive intervention. This could be vehicle seizure, an arrest or a traffic process.
  • There is a local tactical plan to tackle increased vehicle crime which has increased by 6.8 %. The national increase is nearer to 20%.

Response times and visibility


  • Visibility remains high at 67.8% overall. (7.8% over target)
  • There has been a notable improvement to Grade 2 response following the shift pattern change.
  • Officer recruitment remains on track to be over 1501 which will meet the Commissioner and Chief Constable’ target.

Effective Justice


  • The Force continues to be ranked 1st for Director’s Guidance compliance (file quality).
  • This is good news.
  • The Commissioner agreed to raise the wider issues with CJS and CPS timeliness at the LCJB when it next meets.
  • Northamptonshire currently ranks 37th for the percentage of cases completed within the 28-day SLA. (Currently averaging 41 days, an improvement from 53.5 days in the previous quarter).

Action – SM to raise CJS and CPS timeliness at the next LCJB on 3rd November.


Moving on to the Commissioners questions on the paper provided:


  • There was a discussion about the ‘Active Incident Risk Matrix’
  • The Commissioner asked how this is being used.
  • AT advised that it was set up to look at outstanding risk and demand.
  • For example, if there are 150 jobs in the FCR queue; what does that actually mean; Are they all low risk or of the 150, are 100 low but 50 really serious.
  • The matrix uses an algorithm to show that at any one point in time what the actual risk is.
  • AT offered the Commissioner the opportunity to see how the Matrix works and the Commissioner was pleased to accept this kind invitation.

Action – LS to arrange for AT to demonstrate the ‘Active Incident Risk Matrix’ to the Commissioner.


  • The Commissioner asked if the new four on, four off, Response shift pattern had made a difference.
  • AT confirmed that there is a clear correlation between the new pattern and a positive impact on outstanding demand.
  • He confirmed that the shift pattern change is not the only reason as the Force also had more deployable resources, but all of this information will be reviewed.
  • Response officers carry on average around 10 crimes each. This is not considered to be significantly high.
  • The Chief Constable commented that whilst some officers were unhappy with five on, three off they do like the four on, four off part of the new pattern and will get the benefit of this pattern every 16 weeks.
  • In addition, Response teams are bigger which is also improving officer visibility and the Force has the lowest sickness rates in the country, aided by the wrap-around wellbeing programme, funded by the Commissioner as a part of Force investment proposals in 2023/2024.
  • The Commissioner asked about the Domestic Abuse review and what insight it gives to the Force approach to increased arrests for DA offending.
  • CR advised that the review is looking at the end-to-end process, including how the case is dealt with as it travels through the system.
  • AT advised that there is no evidence nationally as to what best practice is so HMI look at the region and take the highest performing Force as having the best approach.
  • Northants does it slightly different. Response deal with low level DA with the oversight of a DS.
  • The Chief Constable confirmed that there have been a couple of cases where DS oversight has not been as good as it could have been.
  • The review will check if oversight is robust and ensure Response is not overworked by picking up DA cases.
  • There was a discussion on Cyber Enabled Fraud.
  • The Commissioner wanted to understand how the learning from this group is being used to better protect the public, provide advice, and reduce the risk of them being a victim of this crime type.
  • CR advised that she will update him outside of the meeting.

Action – CR to provide an update on how the learning from the Economic Crime Unit is being used to better protect the public from becoming a victim of this crime type.


  • On ANPR, the Commissioner asked if there are any risks in relation to single points of failure in the human infrastructure about the use if ANPR captured data.
  • He also wanted to know if there is a plan nationally to use AI given the astonishing reads per month.
  • It was confirmed that the clustering of VIFs match the demand and harm areas around Northampton, Wellingborough, Kettering and Corby and the arterial routes in between.
  • There is also an increase in activity towards the south and west of the county.
  • CR offered to check the positive outcome rates definitions. (s136 stop, drugs, wanted, disqualified driver etc).
  • PF considered that 50% – 60% success rate is very good ANPR hit and that the Force might want to do something positive comms wise with this.
  • The Chief Constable commented that the joint work here has reaped reward. First the cameras were funded and installed, then the Road Policing Team has been established.
  • The Force is ahead of the game in terms of ANPR and road policing capability.
  • There was a discussion about how this can keep improving given that the Surveillance Camera Commissioners Office limit where the cameras can be placed.
  • There is a piece of work to be done on where the expansion of the network can go next.
  • There was a discussion about the Neighbourhood Policing Team Blueprint.
  • AT confirmed that he would welcome the opportunity to update the Commissioner further on this.
  • PF confirmed he has the report. He will read it in the next week and discuss next steps with the Commissioner.

Action – PF to update AT on the best way forwards with the NPT Blueprint once he has had a chance to read the report and brief the Commissioner.


  • There was a discussion regarding Access to information to help prevent crime.
  • Recognising that this was a good initiative, the Commissioner asked if there were any timescales for the work that was now in train.
  • CR agreed to check and update the Commissioner.

Action – CR to check the timescales for the Access to information work and update the Commissioner.


  • On Road safety, the Commissioner asked about the unmarked speed enforcement vehicle. He was interested to know how it is deployed and the level of any complaints about its use.
  • The Chief Constable advised that he has plans to review its effectiveness.
  • AT confirmed he is 99% confident that the speed enforcement vehicle is where it should be.
  • The Commissioner added that he has received a number of verbal complaints from councillors at local meetings about its deployment.
  • The Chief Constable was surprised by this as speeding is one of the things local councillors complain about the most however, he agreed to check that it was being parked legitimately.
  • The Commissioner stated that the evidence of deployment on red routes would be useful and also confirmation that it is appropriately parked. He would like to see the report when finalised.

Action – NA to share the review of the unmarked speed enforcement vehicle when complete. Also to share the locations where and the frequency of it’s deployment and how this matches with areas of KSI and/or consistent levels of speeding.

  • There was a discussion about Safer Streets 5 and what it will fund.
  • PF agreed to update AT outside of the meeting.
  • On Vehicle crime the Commissioner asked what is the Forces overarching prevention approach to this crime type.
  • AT confirmed that the Force has prevention at the heart of its strategy.
  • There is no obvious pattern or offenders for this crime but Observatory data is being used to try and identify any specific individuals or places.
  • C/Insp Scott Little is now the thematic lead.
  • PF questioned if there was a need for a holistic acquisitive crime strategy.
  • AT confirmed that the Force has individual strategies for tackling each acquisitive crime and felt that one overarching strategy will be too broad.
  • PF asked where strategy for the other ones are, and how can the Commissioner s Office work collaboratively with the Force, those through Safer Streets.
  • The Chief Constable agreed that it would be worth looking at burglary, robbery, and vehicle crime. To see if there was a need for a holistic Force crime prevention strategy..
  • There was a discussion about positive outcome rates for DA.
  • At confirmed the WLP charge more offenders and the NLP use more OOCDs.
  • Culturally the approach to DA on the LPAs is different and that needs to be reviewed.
  • There was a discussion on OOCDs being a positive outcome but measured as an alternative positive outcome.
  • The Chief Constable confirmed these are only issued after a thorough investigation.
  • Due to the backlog of cases, the Criminal Justice System is currently struggling to et good outcomes for victims so an OOCD should be seen as a good thing whether or not it is classed as a detection nationally.
  • There was a discussion about the concept of action taken.
  • SC advised that there is a broad definition of outcomes and the challenge is that everyone is working to a slightly different interpretation of what a positive outcome actually is.
  • Clarity from the government on what this should be going forwards would be helpful.
  • There was a discussion about the benefits of the EI, the ACE team and CIRV.
  • AT confirmed this is reviewed under the leadership of the Deputy Chief Constable who heads up the Vulnerability Board to ensure the good works continues under any future evaluation.
  • There was a discussion about ‘missing children’ in the County. The Commissioner is keen to do more intervention work at level 2.
  • On Positive Outcomes and Quality Investigations, the Commissioner asked what could be done to improve on the 14% positive outcome rate.
  • On Offender Management, the Commissioner was concerned that the outstanding number of visits had increased from the minimum target of 50 that the Chief Constable had set.
  • The Chief Constable agreed to look into this and report back to the Commissioner.

Action – NA to review the outstanding number of MOSOVO visits and report back to the Commissioner on how these will be reduced to within the target he has set.


Assurance Statement:


An overview of the written report was provided to the Commissioner.

 He welcomed the reduction in the number of outstanding incidents and some signs of improvement in response times but reiterated that response times were something he would continue to monitor for improvements. He also recognised the considerable efforts that had been put into increased time out of station and visibility which was positive.

 ANPR performance was particularly noted and the contribution it was making to keeping residents safe and the improvements in traffic enforcement were pleasing.

 The Commissioner welcomed the work to create a crime prevention hub to put easily accessible advice at the fingertips of all staff to support reduced victims and he looked forward to seeing the results of this.

 In relation to reducing victims he looked forwards also to seeing the results of the work the Chief Constable promised in relation to the consideration of a holistic crime prevention strategy and approach by the Force.

 The Commissioner was assured that progress was being made across the board in relation to the requirements in the Strategic Outcomes Letter and there was greater “grip” on some of the issues that had been in place for some time.


Force matters of priority performance update.


The Chief Constable has adopted a suite of performance measures and targets relating to Force matters of priority for 2023/2024.

The Commissioner requests a presentation/report that shows performance against these measures and targets to this point.


  • Sarah Crampton provided an overview on the performance data.
  • The paper provided was taken as read.
  • Overall crime is down YOY by 1.2%.
  • Victim based crime is down by 0.8% and is at its lowest level since December 2022 however theft offences remain the crime group with the largest YOY increase (up 10.8%) but showing signs of slowing.
  • Looking at the outliers, the Commissioner asked about blackmail offences which had been above average levels, peaking in June.
  • SC explained that this crime type had been largely under reported but because of increasing confidence, victims are now reporting blackmail offences to the police. The numbers were low and many related to scam type offences where victims were contacted stating that the offender had compromising information in relation to them and unless they paid a sum of money this would be released on the internet / social media.
  • Shoplifting was also an outlier and although stabilising, offences remain high.
  • Whilst the Retail Crime Partnership and Op Elegance have had significant success, PF felt that on behalf of the OPFCC he felt that the Force response to shoplifting is poor.
  • The Commissioner asked if the force response to shoplifting was still appropriate given the rising levels and the impact on local businesses.
  • He advised that he was not looking for an immediate answer but welcomed a discussion on what more could be done adding that success in this area would also increase positive action rates.
  • AT advised that post investigation work is improving, and analysis of different demographics is being explored.
  • The Commissioner noted that the downward trend on victim satisfaction levels continues and has done so over a long period of time. He asked if there was going to be a deep dive on what is causing this.
  • The Chief Constable confirmed that there would be a deep dive into satisfaction levels as this was a concern.
  • The serious violence measure of A&E admissions relating to injuries from bladed or pointed weapons are reducing.
  • Neighbourhood crime is is seeing increases and while the Force data still looks positive against the 2019 Home Office baseline the Commissioner made the point that he has an expectation these levels will continue to be addressed with the aim of reducing them. These are the crime types that affect and matter to large parts of the population.
  • On serious and organised crime, the profile shows a greater proportion of disruptions assessed as moderate.
  • Multiple disruptions are planned in the forthcoming weeks of action.
  • There was a discussion on Burglary.
  • Recent months are showing reductions following targeted operations in key areas.
  • Burglary rates had increased by 10.6% YOY but was now 3% as a result of the displacement and disruption activity which has resulted in some key nominals being locked up. Some of whom have now been sentenced.
  • Thefts from vehicles are now seeing a more sustained reduction but thefts of vehicle have increased in the summer.
  • There has been increased focus on Watford Gap and the A14 Truck stops in response to Op Barric offences led by the Road Crime Team.
  • Approximately 4% of all West LPU vehicle crime occurs at Watford Gap and Swam Valley Services. This will be addressed with Safer Streets funding (Round 5).
  • Data quality on vehicle related crime is improving including the types of vehicles being targeted and the MO which allows the Force to link the cases together.
  • On ASB, overall demand continues to fall, and incidents are 15% lower YOY.
  • The expected summer peak did appear but was well below forecasted levels.
  • Work is progressing on the Immediate Justice pilot as part of the additional funding received in conjunctions with the Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan being developed by the Home Office.
  • On Serious Organised Crime, SC confirmed that the Force are looking at what constitutes a good intelligence log, particularly with new in-service officers supporting them to provide best quality evidence.
  • On Firearms offences, the Commissioner noted that whilst weapon discharges remain low, Handguns remain the most referred to weapon in reports and the Force are above the national average for recorded offences per 100,000 population.
  • SC confirmed this is not a risk and the offences recorded are dominated by threat, not use.
  • The Home Office are currently looking at data quality in this crime type. Northants crime recording is robust.
  • The Commissioner asked if the Force had a plan to improve its performance in relation to Fraud and Cybercrime.
  • The Chief Constable confirmed he was looking at apprenticeships and closer working with financial institutions to tackle fraud.
  • SC confirmed that Repeat victimisation is falling across all VAWG crime types (DA, Rape and other sexual offences).
  • The use of DVPOs is increasing rapidly to the point where the Force has returned to a positive position.
  • The Commissioner asked if the Force clearly understood why DA demand has reduced.
  • A DA review is underway and will provide more data and insight on what else can.
  • Research shows that the earlier you intervene and arrest, reoffending is less likely, and victims are more likely to pursue.
  • The Chief Constable confirmed he has pushed hard on this.
  • On Night Time Economy, there has been another positive increase in safeguarding potential victims over the summer.
  • This is in relation to Operation Kayak teams intervening with men and vehicles during the BTE and safeguarding women.
  • In addition, the closure of Bridge Street as a result of the recent fire has also had a positive effect as it is closed to vehicles.
  • Other environmental changes such as the market square closure have had a positive impact.
  • Facial recognition works continues with the potential to use in the NTE on known sexual predators.
  • On this, the Commissioner commented that the Force has a small window of opportunity to use it and demonstrate a positive impact.
  • Positive outcomes for rape offences continue to increase which given the nature of the crime and vulnerability of the victims is important.
  • The Commissioner was pleased to note that VAWG conviction rates at court are increasing. This is a trend that is NOT mirrored regionally or nationally.
  • The force conviction rate is 80.7% ranking it 6th nationally.
  • ADR knife crime is at its lowest level and this has been the case for a significant length of time.
  • The nature of offences remain stable with 1 in 4 crimes are threat to kill.
  • August saw volumes significantly below expected levels, likely to be the lowest quarter on record.
  • The Chief Constable confirmed he is cautiously optimistic that the Force will continue to make marginal gains.
  • DP asked if there was any double counting in the data given that threats were significantly higher.
  • SC confirmed there is no double counting and offered to give more context outside of the meeting.
  • Robbery levels have increased throughout 2022 and 2023 but are still below pre covid levels and stabilising.
  • There is a 3-month pilot looking at putting all robbery into CID on the West LPA to try to improve response and detections.
  • There are some early positive signs emerging.
  • The pilot will run until the end of the year before being evaluated.
  • Work concentrated on U18s and repeat perpetrators is positive.
  • Suspects are being identified earlier and supported by CIRV.
  • SC confirmed that 999 demand remains high.
  • The FCR continue to answer 999 in under 10 seconds which is above national average. (98.5% of 999 are answered in less than 1 minute with 88% under 10 seconds in August)
  • 6% were answered in over 60 seconds. National average is 3.6%.
  • G1 demand is at unprecedented levels.
  • The average response time for G1U incidents was 50 seconds slower over the last 12 months and 22 seconds slower on G1R.
  • Response times are now improving as the new response team shuft pattern is embedded.
  • The larger teams have increased officer availability to deal with the increased demand.
  • On G1 performance SC explained that whilst there are national targets for the time set, individual forces set their own parameters which makes it difficult to compare.
  • Definitions need to be clearer to ensure fair comparison on performance for example, Merseyside start the clock when a resource is allocated. Northants start when the call is received.
  • Crime workloads increased slightly in August.
  • Overall satisfaction with the service received is declining.
  • Being kept informed is the main driver for dissatisfaction levels increasing.
  • The Chief Constable reiterated that the workforce is still young in service and in training.
  • He is driving forward customer care and contact work using the Tesco model.
  • Work is also being done to understand if customer expectations have changed. The Force need to understand and react to that if it has.


Assurance statement:


The Commissioner was assured with several areas of the Force performance.

 He was pleased with reducing response times and better visibility but made mention that response time was an area he will continue to monitor.

 He noted the recent reductions in burglary offences and the fact that they were still significantly lower than four years ago.

 It was recognised that the Force/County is not an outlier in any of the National Home Office Policing and Crime Measures, which is welcomed and positive.

The Commissioner was concerned about the increase in shoplifting offences and the Force approach to this. He asked the Chief Constable to look at a review of this approach. He also expressed his concerns and the continuing decline in victim satisfaction and asked for more detailed plans as to what the response to this would be.

 He noted and was assured that improvements continued to be made in several areas of performance.


Budget Monitoring Report


The Commissioner requires a budget monitoring report from the Chief Constable in relation to the delegated budget to Northamptonshire Police for 2023/2024 to this point in the financial year.


This report should include an update on the implementation of all agreed investment proposals for 2023/2024.


  • Vaughan Ashcroft presented an overview of the report that was taken as read.
  • The Force is currently forecast to underspend by £944k in 2023/24
  • Key contributory factors include officer recruitment profiles, income form Op safeguard, income from commercial frameworks and investment interest due to base rate increases.
  • Police officer and staff pay awards of 7% has been factored in (£391k)
  • The Commissioner asked why establishment of PCSO continues to be below what is required adding that their value in NPTs should not be underestimated.
  • The Chief advised that PCSO recruitment has been affected by the Police Officer Uplift programme, with many choosing that route into policing.
  • In addition, a few that have applied have failed vetting.
  • There is also uncertainty nationally about the role of the PCSO which has also had an impact on recruitment.
  • PF commented that PCSO’s have not been at establishment numbers for 3 years now and it is unlikely that this position will change before the end of the current financial year.
  • There was a discussion about the impact this is having in the sponsored PCSO scheme.
  • The Chief Constable was asked to consider if police officers could be deployed in high crime, urban areas to free up PCSOs for the sponsored scheme or to be deployed in rural areas.
  • The Chief agreed to give this consideration.

Action – NA to consider more innovative ways to attract PCSO’s or free up more of the current ones to become sponsored PCSO or to be based in rural areas.


  • On local policing VA explained that there was a better understanding of overtime.
  • Overtime claims were substantially lower in August. This trend is expected to continue as more officers complete their probation and there are fewer abstractions as part of their initial training.
  • There was a discussion about the overspend in Force Control room.
  • This is covered this year but will be a pressure in future years.
  • Although there is an overall underspend in Crime, Public Protection and Intel, there was a small overspend in Crime Command after reserves movement.
  • The Commissioner asked if the vacancy in Record Management will affect the backlog plan which he had previously funded.
  • VA advised that the clearing of the backlog is going well and that the Force may have overestimated the number of people needed to clear it.As such, it is possible, not all of the funding ring fenced for this will be required.
  • The Commissioner considered it a success that the Force had invested in the problem early in order to solve it more quickly.
  • There are forecast overspends on overtime for protecting vulnerable people.
  • This is due to vacancies within this command however, these should be filled in the next few months although retention of staff has been a factor.
  • HK asked if the Force think the vacancy factor will continue to be an issue and needs to be reviewed for 24/25 budgets?.
  • VA considered that it could be although the vacancy factor was 2.5% in other areas it is 7%. VA confirmed the vacancy provision is being reviewed for 24/25 staffing budgets.
  • There has been an overspend in the Operational Support Command.
  • The Chief Constable advised this is largely due to the cost of taser cartridges – the Force has more officers to train.
  • It is hoped that the Force will switch to VR ones shortly which will reduce the cost.
  • VA advised that there is likely to be a significant pressure on the DDaT budget which is already overspent.
  • This is due to the uncertainty on the cost of Oracle licences which is not yet included in the forecast. This is being investigated by DDaT colleagues who have identified that the Force is not paying enough for licences, so costs are likely to go up.
  • HK asked if this will apply to NFRS as well.
  • VA confirmed that DDaT are looking at cloud solutions as well as other things to bring down the costs across all three organisations.
  • There was a discussion about the Good Sam app.
  • The Commissioner asked if there is a go live date.
  • HK confirmed that the contract is in the signing list this week.


Assurance Statement:


The Commissioner thanked VA for his paper and presentation. He recognised the hard work that is undertaken to ensure that financial controls are robust. He was positive about the reduction in overtime spend and the lack of volatility in the budget.

 The Commissioner raised concerns with the Chief Constable about PCSO recruitment and requested that the Chief Constable explore additional options to recruit back to Force establishment levels.




  • HK reminded the Force that due to the under establishment of PCSOs, the Commissioner has taken £900k back from their budget in 2 years. She suggested the PCSO recruitment or alternative plans do need to be resolved and it cannot keep putting this underspend in reserves without a plan to utilise and resolve it. This sum is currently available in the neighbourhood policing reserve to support initiatives.