Police Accountability Board Minutes 11 May 2021

1. Welcome and introductions


PFCC Stephen Mold (SM)

Nicci Marzec (NM)

Paul Fell (PF)

Louise Sheridan (LS)

Stuart McCartney (SMc)

CC Nick Adderley (NA)

DCC Simon Nickless (SN)

ACC Pauline Sturman (PS)

Colleen Rattigan (CR)

Sarah Crampton (SC)

Laura Jones (LJ)

Apologies were accepted from ACC Blatchly

SM welcomed everyone to the meeting.

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. Force strategic priorities performance update

  • The Chief Constable adopted a suite of performance measures and targets relating to Force Strategic priorities for the performance year 2020/2021.
  • The Commissioner requests a paper outlining the end of financial year performance against these targets and measures.
  • He also wishes the report to reflect the new Force strategic priorities and associated agreed targets and measures for those, with the current baseline.
  • Before reporting on the 2020/21 Priorities, the Chief Constable confirmed that four new ‘Matters of Priority’ have been agreed but due to the PCC elections have not yet been published externally.
  • Quality of life issues that affect the public will set the tone for the next 12 months.
  • Whilst not listed as a strategic priority, the Force remains committed to residential burglary and the investment into the dedicated burglary team will continue.
  • This was welcomed by the Commissioner who is keen to see that improvements made in areas such as burglary are maintained.
  • The Commissioner is keen to consult more regularly (not just when setting the precept) with the public on matters of concern such as Anti-Social Behaviour and knife related crime.
  • Turning to the papers which provide the end of year performance update, the Commissioner complemented the quality of the reports provided.
  • The only thing he would like to add is a narrative on the Forces performance against national targets to reflect the National Crime and Policing Measures when finalised.
  • Sarah Crampton presented from the report.
  • 2020/21 saw the Force respond robustly to changes in crime recording rules effective from April 2020. All crime is being recorded accurately and with integrity.
  • Officer proactivity has increased by 32% which is driving the increase in recorded crime: ‘100 doors 100 days’ campaign and the launch of Interceptors for example.
  • Stalking and harassment offences have also increased by a third. This has been attributed to better understanding of offender behavioural patterns and increased reporting on the Dash forms. Northants is not an outlier in this regard.
  • Similar picture with public order which has seen a 60% increase, largely driven by better categorisation of Anti-Social Behaviour.
  • There was a discussion about a proposal to work with Northamptonshire Business Crime Partnership (NBCP) on shoplifting offences.
  • Whilst the Chief Constable is broadly supportive, it is important to reflect that this proposal will also have an impact on recorded crime. The proportionate investigation policy will apply which in some cases may not involve a full investigation or lead to a conviction.
  • It was agreed that Paul Fell would discuss with ACC Sturman to progress.

Action PF to discuss NBCP proposal with Pauline Sturman

Residential Burglary

  • There have been further reductions on the 32% reduction seen in 2019/20 with 1,681 fewer victims in the past 2 years
  • During the year significant nominals have been identified, apprehended and brought before the courts resulting in lengthy custodial sentences.
  • There was a discussion about the Forces performance relative to its Most Similar Group (MSG) and when compared with other Forces nationally which are also starting to show improvements.
  • DCC Nickless advised that P & I work, the use of taskings, improved IOM, and target hardening via by the Safer Streets funding are all additional benefits that provide optimism.
  • All targets were met for residential burglary this year

Domestic Abuse

  • A second domestic violence scheduled appointment car has provided welcomed support to victims by ensuring long waits have been significantly reduced.
  • In turn, the Force have been able to increase the number of domestic violence protection orders (DVPO’s) secured at court.
  • More victims have come forward to report abuse this year and arrest against offenders of high-risk victims in consistently 70% or above
  • Domestic violence victims are most satisfied with the service provided of any crime group. (+87%).
  • There was a discussion about evidential difficulties and positive action rates more generally across the piece. It was agreed that positive action rates needed to improve and this is reflected in the Force targets for this coming year.
  • The Commissioner is prepared to invest in this area and asked Paul Fell to instigate a Deep Dive into Evidential Difficulties at a future Accountability Board.
  • DCC Nickless commented that there is some more work to do with regards to repeat victims as there is some evidence that the offence of stalking is being wrongly recorded. There are occasions where CPS may not charge a second offence so need to look at the difference between recording and prosecuting.
  • There is also some housekeeping required on the filing of secondary crimes.
  • Only two out of eight targets achieved.

Action – Paul Fell to ensure that an evidential difficulties deep dive is on a future accountability board agenda.


  • More offences were recorded in 2020/21 due to significantly more non-recent offences being reported this year. (1 in 4 offences are non-recent)
  • There is an expectation that RASSO offences will increase as the Nighttime Economy of pubs and clubs reopen.
  • The Force has two established SOLAR teams, with experienced officers supporting victims of rape and serious sexual offences.
  • The Force has focussed on providing the best service it can to the victims and investigate crimes as quickly as possible.
  • The Force is above the national average for conviction rates (86%) and whilst Covid-19 has significantly reduced the number of cases going to court, this has not prevented the Force securing charges against more offenders this year and achieving its highest positive outcome ratio for many years.
  • Three out of four target met.

Knife Crime

  • During 2020/21 the Force has recorded more possession offences and those linked to less serious violence. This has been driven by increased police proactivity in two priority areas; Wellingborough and Northampton.
  • Analysis throughout the year has identified growing links with Serious and Organised Crime
  • A growing proportion of knife crime is emerging from within a domestic situation. Whilst this is more commonly threat rather than use, this will be a focus for the Force in the coming year.
  • Superintendent Adam Ward is leading a Task and Finishing Group on knife crime.
  • Taking positive action is a key deterrent to dissuade people from carrying weapons and the Force is committed to removing weapons from individuals using a range f tactics including stop and search powers and surrender bins
  • However, need to look at how we approach the Home Office and judiciary to impose tougher sentences.
  • There was a discussion about £100k of funding which the Commissioner provided last year to tackle knife crime and has remained largely unspent.
  • Chief Superintendent Ash Tuckley reviews all cases and Knife Crime will be a force priority this year.
  • Need to look at how we approach the Home Office and judiciary to impose tougher sentences and if 33% is domestic related need to get into this area to reduce repeat victimisation.
  • The Commissioner is keen to support the Force in finding ways to tackle knife crime and content for £100k funding to be rolled over and will add to if necessary.
  • One of two targets were met.


  • Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation has fallen this year in line with national reductions. This has been influenced by Covid-19 limiting the number of channels for identifying and reporting abuse.
  • It is anticipated that CSE reporting will rise sharply this year with a return to more ‘normal life’.
  • To adapt, the Force has conducted more telephone based MOSOVO visits during the first lockdown although in person visits have now resumed.
  • Overdue visits peaked in December but are now falling and should be maintained at lower levels during the coming year.
  • Missing children overall have increased this year including those missing multiple times and with CSE risks. This is a concern and is now a focus of the Prevention and Intervention department overseen by the Vulnerability Board.
  • Robust plans have been drawn up under the P & I agenda around the top 10 missing children. (Profile changing to more females)
  • The Commissioner was concerned that none of the three targets were met this year and wanted to know why this was the case.
  • The Chief Constable cited the complexity around missing children as an example.
  • The County has had significant issues with social care and safe and supported accommodation. Some young people are tremendously vulnerable, and a lot of missing children are linked to County Lines. This is not just a police issue to resolve and he is optimistic that working more closely with partner agencies coupled with the increased focus on knife crime as a strategic priority will help reduce the proportion of missing children with CSE concerns and the rate at which they are repeatedly reported as missing.
  • The Chief Constable is confident that MOSOVO will continue to improve as a result of the leadership team that is in now in place. Although the target was not met, the Force is much improved from two years ago and has tighter governance and structures in place to manage the growing number of Registered Sex Offenders.

Serious and Organised Crime

  • Serious violence is reducing but those at the upper end of the harm spectrum including homicide have increased compared with 2019/20.
  • The Force has robustly managed these investigations and sought charges where evidence has allowed.
  • Fraud and cyber-flagged demand has increased significantly both nationally and within Northamptonshire in response to changing shopping habits due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Tier 4 Frauds are now dealt with by a small team rather than sitting with Local Policing.
  • There was a discussion about Action Fraud – one of the most common types of complaints is that the police are not interested in fraud and pass lower level investigations to Action Fraud who then provide a poor service.

Action – Paul Fell to consider how we can lobby for a better service from Action Fraud and how we better communicate with victims of lower level fraud.

  • There was a discussion about OCG’s and County Lines numbers in the report.

Action – Paul and Sarah to discuss so can better understand as comparative data doesn’t make sense.

  • Four of the nine targets were met

Killed and Serious Injury Road Collisions


  • The significant reduction of traffic on the roads in 2020/21 due to the Covid-19 pandemic has halved the numbers of people involved in road traffic collisions.
  • However, the Force has delivered a robust and sustained enforcement throughout the year even when other Forces were not.
  • This was evidenced in the first lockdown when reduced traffic flow led to a small number of people driving recklessly and endangering other road users who were often key workers.
  • In addition, Op Journey has been hugely successful in targeting defective, overloaded and uninsured vehicles.
  • It culminated with the Christmas Drink/Drug Drive campaign and the naming of individuals who were found guilty at court.
  • Activity has been boosted by increased investment into ANPR
  • Both targets were met.

Response times

  • The Force has exceeded performance against national targets for G1 incidents and improved against 2019/20 though was just short of the stretch targets set by the Chief Constable for 2020/21.

 Neighbourhood visibility

  • Neighbourhood officers and PCSO’s have spent more time out of station than in previous years and therefore are more accessible and more visible to the community.
  • The focus on priority locations (areas identified as most at risk from criminality, harm and generating most demand) have seen a near doubling of time spent in them during 2020/21 by Neighbourhood teams.
  • Enhanced visibility in these areas will remain a priority for the coming year.
  • One of the two targets was met this year.

CJ Outcomes

  • The Force has seen its overall positive outcome ratio remain stable.
  • Higher harm crime types such as rape, robbery, residential burglary, violence with injury and sexual offences have improved compared to 2019/20
  • The Commissioner advised that he will be incorporating more CJ outcomes into his Police and Crime Plan and was pleased with the better use of data and intelligence generally.
  • No target was set but the Force is seeking to achieve positive outcome rate of at least 14% in 2021/22 to bring them into line with their peers, with a stretch ambition to achieve 20%.

Assurance statement:

The Commissioner agreed with the direction of intended travel on the Chief Constables agreed 4 Strategic Priorities for 2021/2022. These covered many of the areas of concern that have been previously highlighted in local consultations.

 He made the point there were areas that were not defined priorities this year, but where he still expected performance to be maintained or improved, such as residential burglary. The Commissioner was assured by the Chief Constable that this would be the case.

 Reflecting on last year’s performance the Commissioner noted that there had been some notable measures of success but that there was still improvement to be made in certain areas, notably relating to personal crime and positive actions and outcomes.

 The Commissioner was pleased to see that many of these were covered in the Force internal targets for the year and made the point that he was looking for a wider range of these internal targets to be met this year, in comparison with last year.


4. Hate Crime

  • The Commissioner requests a report in relation to Hate Crime. This report should outline the reported rate of Hate Crimes or Hate incidents over a three-year period, to include total numbers as well as a breakdown by incident and victim type, outcome rates and victim satisfaction levels.
  • The report should identify any trends over this period. It should also provide a description of the approach taken by the Force to the supporting of victims of this type of crime/incident.
  • Laura Jones, Prevention Manager provided an update on all Hate Crime and Hate Incidents over the past three years.
  • The data shows a 37% increase of all Hate Crime Occurrences and an 88% increase of all Hate Crimes.
  • Racially motivated Hate amounted for over 73% of all Hate occurrences.
  • Some of the reasons for the increase in reporting of hate crime have included more hate crime occurring during lockdown, national and international events including ‘Black Lives Matter’ and general awareness raising to build confidence in reporting.
  • Overall victim satisfaction has seen a steady increase in the past three years. A benchmarking exercise of 19 Forces found Hate satisfaction in Northamptonshire was 12% higher than the average from other Forces.
  • The Force has developed a Hate Crime Champion network and currently has 35 The Crime Champions.
  • There was a discussion about Victim Ethnicity (Officer perceived) and a question as to why there was a group where ethnicity was recorded as unknown.
  • It was explained that some victims may not wish to state their ethnicity or younger in-service officers may not wish to ask. Will feedback as an expectation to Officers to at least have a guess rather than tick unknown.
  • There was a discussion about Stoke Hate UK who provide 24/7 helpline for victims.
  • Laura has a proposal for bringing a help line in county. Sitting with CSP’s in the North and West Unitaries. Also discussing with Voice.
  • There was a discussion about the statutory definition of alternative lifestyle – not reported nationally but picked up locally following the tragic murder of a goth- attacked because of dress or way they look.
  • The Commissioner commended the work that had been done in this area and the partnership with Voice.
  • The Commissioner would like to do more in this area. Evidence to show that the Force take Hate Crime seriously, but positive outcome rates suggests that there is more work that could be done.

Assurance statement:

The Commissioner welcomed the level of understanding and focus that the Force could demonstrate on this agenda.

He noted the increase in offences over the last three years but was assured that the crime recording was ethical.

Overall the Commissioner was assured on the activity of the Force on this subject.


5. A.O.B

  • There was a discussion about the possibility of new members joining the Police, Fire and Crime Panel now that the elections are complete.
  • The Chief Constable welcomed the opportunity to be involved in any training new panel members might require.
  • The Chief Constable offered his formal congratulations to the Commissioner upon his re-election with over 102k votes and looks forward to three more years of working together.

No further business was raised.