Police Accountability Board Minutes 12 July 2022

1. Welcome and introductions


PFCC Stephen Mold (SM)

Paul Fell (PF)

Nicci Marzec (NM)

Louise Sheridan (LS)

CC Nick Adderley (NA)

DCC Simon Blatchly (SB)

Colleen Rattigan (CR)

D/Chief Supt Paul Rymarz (RP)

D Supt Joe Banfield (JB)

Vaughan Ashcroft (VA)


  • 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. Strategic outcomes requirements update

The Chief Constable, as a part of the budget setting process for 2022/23, agreed a set of strategic outcome requirements with the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner. These were set out and agreed in a letter.

The Commissioner requires a report which outlines the progress made against the achievement of these to the end of June 2022.

  • Vaughan Ashcroft advised that a succinct action plan along with reporting and response mechanisms has been developed to demonstrate progress.
  • The Strategic Outcomes letter was only issued in May so important to set that context.
  • The Interoperability programme is now being led by ACC Ash Tuckley and ACFO Shaun Hallam from Fire.
  • A summary report of what has been achieved to date has been compiled.
  • The Commissioner advised that he had been briefed on the report and agreed that we now needed to look forward but that did not mean he was content with the progress that had been made. He wanted greater energy to be put into this and both the Chief Constable and Chief Fire Officer had agreed that more could be considered and done and that was his expectation this year.
  • The new Strategic Board will now work together and at pace to drive forward four key priority areas that have been agreed:
    • The development of the tri-service officer role
    • Community safety/prevention
    • Cadets and volunteers
    • JOT centre of excellence.
  • Work is now underway to scope out how these can be developed in line with the strategic intent of the Police, Fire and Crime Plan.
  • PF will attend the meetings and manage on behalf of the Commissioner’s Office.
  • Once opportunities and timelines have been scoped, these will then be socialised with the Chief Constable and Chief Fire Officer before being brought to the Commissioner to ensure they meet his strategic vision.
  • The Strategic Board are due to meet again in August.
  • A fifth element, the Joint Control room is also being progressed however this is currently governed via the Estates Board.
  • The Commissioner highlighted the potential for industrial action by fire control staff.
  • The Commissioner discussed a couple of options with the the Chief Constable which could help to mitigate any strike action and address the likely increased demand for service through the summer period.
  • Following the discussion, the Chief Constable agreed to scope out some options.

Action – NA to task ACC Ash Tuckley Ash to scope out an Interoperability business continuity plan.

  • There was a discussion about the Chief Constables Matters of Priority as set out in the Force Performance Framework.
  • The Commissioner advised that these will be assessed in line with the National Crime and Policing Measures as well as the local policing performance information that is published quarterly.
  • Having read the report submitted, the Commissioner commented as follows:
  • The Commissioner advised that he would monitor how Response times perform against the national 15 minute target however, in additional he will want to see how the Force performs against the current baseline along with other measures, such as the percentage of Echo trained drivers and improvement in quality measures such as positive outcomes, file quality and victim satisfaction.
  • The Commissioner was pleased with the work being done to promote a strong and inclusive organisation but added that he sees more success at a senior level and would like to see more evidence that this is being embedded at a lower level.
  • On Force Specific Priorities, the Commissioner would like a better understanding of what types of resolutions make up the 14% positive outcome rate; he was particularly interested in the use and number of Out of Court Disposals to ensure these were being used appropriately.
  • The Commissioner was still of the opinion that a 14% positive outcome rate was too low.
  • The Chief confirmed that the scrutiny of outcomes is very robust.
  • Charge and summons make up a big proportion and Northants Police is currently the sixth best performing force in country
  • Historically, the very best outcome rates have never been above 30% and if the Force were less disciplined and less principled, HMICFRS would pick this up as it would be unethical.
  • Legitimacy and ethical recording for a good CDI rating are really important.
  • Dip sampling in terms of restorative justice confirms when it has been used it was because it was absolutely appropriate to do so.
  • However, the Chief agreed that need to look at the need to look at residuum to understand how many make a positive change and how many go on to reoffend.

Action – NA to provide a breakdown on the make-up of the 14% Positive Outcome rate by charge/summons, OOCD etc.

  • There was a discussion about Digital Forensics which is an area of considerable focus through 2022/23.
  • A project team is currently scoping out the future structure and delivery plans and is on check to share these by September in line with the Budget letter requirements. It was confirmed that the report being prepared for September would provide options for the longer-term vision for this function that the Commissioner had been requesting for some months.
  • The Force in working to reduce the backlog in the HTCU with a plan to remove queues by December 2022.
  • The Commissioner asked for an explanation as to what removing the queue actually meant.
  • D/Chief Supt. Paul Rymarz confirmed that it meant no devices were sitting in the queue for longer that their specific SLA (This could be 24 hours, 3 days or 7 days depending on the offence).
  • The ‘Backlog’ refers to anything that has been waiting for months. These are being cleared via an outsourcing agreement and this is progressing well.
  • The Commissioner requested a copy of the SLA which PR agreed to send.

Action – PR to send the Commissioner a copy of the Digital Forensics Digital Policy and SLA.

  • The Chief Constable confirmed he will now be receiving a monthly update from the HTCU and he will share this with the Commissioner in the regular 1-2-1 meetings.
  • UCAS accreditation will cause further delays – CC will brief PFCC in 1-2-1
  • Two posts are yet to be recruited to; this is a highly specialised role and it is important to recruit the right people which is why there is an inherent delay.
  • There was a discussion about vetting. The Commissioner requested confirmation that the additional resource agreed in the Chiefs Investment Proposals were now in place.
  • DCC Blatchly confirmed that they had been recruited and would join as soon as vetting was complete.
  • There was a discussion about MOSOVO; The Commissioner sought reassurance that visits were being managed inline with the Chief Constables agreed target.
  • D/Chief Supt. Paul Rymarz explained that visits work on a cycle which is updated at the end of every month and are being one in a timely manner. The priority will always be very high-risk offenders.
  • The Commissioner cited the target that the Chief Constable had set previously, that no more than 50 visits would be outstanding at any one time.
  • D/Chief Supt. Paul Rymarz confirmed that progress has been made, the number of outstanding visits is nowhere near like it was previously and that most months, outstanding visits are a low double figure then re-set.
  • DCC Blatchly agreed to provide an update on the month by month visit data.

Action – DCC Blatchly to provide the Commissioner with MOSOVO visit data.

  • There was a discussion about records management.
  • Funding has been agreed by the OPFCC over a 4-year period to complete a full records review.
  • 70% of the paper records reviewed so far have already been recorded in NICHE.
  • The Force are hoping to mechanise the remaining transfer but if this is not possible, they will need to recruit an additional staff.
  • The Commissioner suggested the Force look at Digital Assistants which provide robotic automation
  • There was a discussion about Roads Policing.
  • PF agreed to pull a short paper together relating to options for additional speed measurement devices and cameras.
  • There was a discussion about average speed cameras and static cameras.
  • The Commissioner confirmed he is supportive of investing in more average speed cameras but less so on static ones.

Assurance statement:

The Commissioner received a paper in which the Chief Constable updated on progress so far relating to this year’s Strategic requirements, as a part of the budget setting process. There was discussion on several points, notably response times, positive outcome rates, quality of service and digital forensics.

The Commissioner made the point that he was pleased with the measures and KPI that the Chief Constable had adopted for judging activity and success against his measures of success. He made the point that his office had queried some of the actual baselines and metrics as they were open to interpretation and wanted complete clarity and we awaited a response from the Chief Constable on those but agreed with the broad thrust of them.

The Commissioner stated that where the Force had requested additional investment in places like vetting and DFU that vetting, and recruitment was being prioritised as some of these vacancies still existed

The Commissioner was assured that there was progress being made in most areas, for this early stage of the year. He again reinforced his expectation that both the Chief Constable and Chief Fire Officer would ensure there was pace in the operational interoperability work.

4. HMICFRS update

At the February 2022 accountability board, the Chief Constable provided an update paper relating to the 2021 HMICFRS PEEL inspection report.

The request for this report read:

Following the 2021 PEEL inspection and report the Commissioner requires a paper which outlines how the Force intends to address and deliver progress against the AFI and key findings highlighted in the inspection report along with key timescales”

 At that meeting it was agreed that there would be quarterly follow up reports. The Commissioner therefore requires a paper for this meeting with an update since this time.

  • Colleen Rattigan provided an update of the progress on AFIs from the 2021 inspection report.
  • The Force was graded across the 12 PEEL Assessment Framework questions and given 19 AFI’s
  • All Afi’s and recommendations have been aligned to existing governance to avoid duplication.
  • A roadmap for inspection and assurance activity has been developed and is being delivered by Corporate Services. This also covers preparation for new inspection activity and force assurance.
  • The Force is continuing to make good progress against the AFIs related to the PEEL inspection with four AFIs completed and signed off through internal force governance processes.
  • The Commissioner asked the Chief Constable if he was satisfied that all AFI’s have been properly scoped in Q2 so that they will all be signed off in Q3
  • The Chief Constable confirmed that he was assured and confident that the Force will meet the plan.
  • The Chief Constable reiterated his ambition that the Force receives a good grading in each area with a good awarded overall.
  • The roadmap that was presented 3 months ago is on track.
  • Colleen advised that the Force is currently undertaking a peer review by overlaying our assessment against other Forces.
  • This in addition to other preparatory work that will commence from August 2022 will give greater insight and assurance, allowing the Force to develop a mature assessment of its current position and better evidence how it aligns to good when field work commences in Spring 2023.
  • The Commissioner commented on the amount of good work that had been undertaken so far but sought assurance that this was being embedded right across the organisation.
  • The Chief Constable confirmed that he understands where there are capability or educational gaps and is making sure these are closed, particularly amongst front line staff.
  • The Commissioner advised that the next paper should be clearer on timescale so that he can more easily know that activities are on track.

Assurance Statement:

 The Commissioner was assured that the Chief Constable had robust oversight and governance processes in place to deliver against the PEEL inspection AFI’s. He reinforced the point that activity still needed to be delivered but was assured with the Chief Constable comments that all were on track to meet his expectations and will have been actioned by the end of Q3 2022.

The Commissioner requested clarity from the Chief Constable about his comments in the report on the Force being graded as good. The Chief Constable confirmed that it was his intention that the Force would be graded as good in all areas at the next PEEL inspection.

The Commissioner stated he would require a further report in 3 months’ time.

5. Violence Against Women and Girls report

In March 2022 the Chief Constable provided the PFCC with a report outlining progress against the September 2021 HMICFRS report “Police response to violence against women and girls” and a progress update in relation to the Force Strategy and delivery plan for VAWG.

At that meeting it was agreed that this would be subject to a further paper in a quarter.

As such, the Commissioner requires a report that outlines the progress made on both since this time, and that identifies gaps in provision or risks and issues.

  • Detective Chief Supt. Paul Rymarz provided an overview of the paper written by Detective Supt. Joe Banfield.
  • VAWG is one of the Chief Constables Matters of Priority.
  • A formal VAWG strategy and 4P plan has been completed and formally launched and gained significant local and national media coverage.
  • VAWG will be a central part of the Vulnerability Board and a working group ensures all VAWG activity is prioritised and a whole force approach maintained.
  • It was noted that VAWG Vulnerability Board based activity is predominantly internal but there are other forums where the Force work alongside external partners.
  • ACC Balhatchet has plans to develop other groups.
  • The Force is also proactively engaged in the relentless pursuit and disruption of adult perpetrators. The four key strands are:

Op Kayak

  • Is a focussed proactive policing operation focused on the Nighttime Economy.
  • This is an important piece of work which may need some additional funding in this calendar year to ensure momentum is maintained.
  • However, it was agreed that this need to become core business and embedded as part of organisational culture.
  • The OPFCC are currently waiting to find out if it has been successful in the next round of Safer Streets funding, some of which will be used to support NTE activity including the possibility of a second Safer Nights Out Van.

Solar Teams

  • Now work under a single DCI and are dedicated to Rape investigations
  • The team is not yet fully staffed but it is hoped that this team along with other vacancies in the Crime and Justice team will benefit from the planned recruitment of 55 – 60 Officers via the Detective pathway. The first cohort are expected to join the Force later in the year.
  • Likely to be 18 months before fully staffed
  • Detective Chief Supt. Paul Rymarz praised the work of his colleagues in Crime and Justice staff who are doing some really good work despite the staffing challenges.
  • Analytical products have been produced highlighting the top potential sexual offending perpetrators.
  • These are subject to enhanced disruptions and investigations including the development of flags so that the Force is better able to target multiple offences over multiple victims.

Tailored and consistent support to victims

  • is enhanced by VOICE and Serenity (SARC)
  • In addition, it is now embedded practice to pair police officers and Crisis IDVAs on Friday and Saturday nights. Op Motto is designed to safeguard victims of domestic abuse and ensure they are aware of the support available to them.
  • It was agreed that there is an opportunity to expand this activity in the run up to the football World Cup and the Christmas period when DA incidents are likely to spike.

Protecting Vulnerable People Department (PVP)

  • A full review of the Protecting Vulnerable People department (PVP) is underway, and a number of recommendations have been made.
  • Detective Chief Supt. Rymarz advised that Northants was the first Force in country to develop its own VAWG strategy and there is nothing that has come out in national plan that was any better than what had already been implemented.
  • Detective Supt. Banfield has led a restructure of the MASH to create a Super MASH including the management of PPN’s as well as Clare’s law and Sarah’s law.
  • DA and RASSO are the next areas that he will focus on followed by Child Protection and Missing People.
  • To safeguard, investigate, and prosecute at the heart of what the PVP do.
  • The Chief Constable advised that he made need additional investment to support the work being undertaken to drive improvements across PVP.
  • He will discuss with the Commissioner and seek his support but has pledged to find the money from his existing budget should it be necessary to do so.
  • There was a discussion about the use of Domestic Violence Protection Notices (DVPNs) and a change in how these are viewed by magistrates when bail conditions are not an option.

Review of outcomes 15 and 16 in VAWG offences.

 In May, the Force Senior Officer Reviews have specifically focussed on Outcome 15 DA offences.

  • There has been a significant improvement from September dip sample to April dip sample specific to clear rationale provided for the outcome code applied.
  • It was agreed that Detective Supt Banfield would send a supplementary report to the Commissioner and add this information to future reports.

Action – JB to send a supplementary report to the Commissioner regarding the use of outcomes 15 and 16 in VAWG offences and add this information to future reports.

  • There was a discussion on the recent decline in DA demand which was also lower than forecast.
  • The Chief Constable advised that the data is being reviewed to understand why this is the case.
  • Arrest rates at DA incidents are consistently around 31/32% so further work is needed to see why demand appears to have reduced particularly as there is no academic information to support why that is.
  • The Commissioner thanked the Force for the report but added that he would like more data and detail on the internal VAWG is required.

Assurance Statement:

The Commissioner was assured that progress had been made across a number of areas of this important agenda. He welcomed the fact that the Force were cognisant that policing the night-time economy and the risks posed to women was as much a cultural matter as a policing matter and that there will be additional training to support that.

 He welcomed the progress made against the 5 recommendations in the HMICFRS report but stated that he would have expected more detail in the paper on the work against the internal plan

6. A.O.B

  • No further business was raised.