Police Accountability Board Minutes 13 April 2021

1. Welcome and introductions


PFCC Stephen Mold (SM)

Nicci Marzec (NM)

Paul Fell (PF)

Helen King (HK)

Louise Sheridan (LS)

Stuart McCartney (SMc)

CC Nick Adderley (NA)

DCC Simon Nickless (SN)

Assistant Chief Officer Paul Bullen (PB)

Vaughan Ashcroft (VA)

Colleen Rattigan (CR)


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. Budget conditions letter update

  • The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner agreed a budget conditions letter with the Chief Constable as part of the budget setting process for 2020/2021.
  • The Commissioner requires an end of year highlight report outlining delivery against the matters agreed in this letter.
  • A quarterly update report presented throughout the year has provided detail relating to progress in each section.
  • VA confirmed the report provided at this meeting is the concluding update on progress against the budget letter with separate accompanying reports that look deeper into specific areas as requested by the Commissioner.

Police officer uplift

  • The Force is currently on track with its recruitment plan.
  • There was a discussion about attrition rates as there have been three months where there have been more than the projected number of leavers.
  • Pension changes which come into effect in April 2022 could also impact on the number of officers who decide to retire and leave the Force next year.
  • It was confirmed that work is underway to understand why more officers have left than was originally anticipated and the likely impact of the pension changes.
  • Paul Bullen has actioned this to review projection figures which have always been accurate previously.
  • The Chief Constable advised that it may be necessary to recruit an additional two or three cohorts of student officers in the next 12 months to fulfil the Force’s uplift ambitions. However, he wants a clearer picture before he can consider this further.
  • The Commissioner asked if the maturity data could be reinstated when reporting on officer numbers. This additional information provided valuable insight both in terms of length of service and experience as well as context to the challenge that the leadership team face to upskill and develop the workforce.

Action – NA to ensure maturity data to be added to future Uplift Performance Highlight report.


  • Burglary performance in this quarter and across the year has remained strong.
  • Year-end figures show a reduction of home invasion burglary of over 18% and builds on a 35% reduction in 2019/20.
  • Similar reductions have been seen in commercial burglary (50% reduction in the performance year)
  • The Chief Constable advised that whilst burglary will no longer be a force priority in 2021/22 the awareness and focus on burglary will remain and the Burglary Team will continue.
  • The Commissioner commended the Force for the improvements in this area and is keen that these are maintained. This is an abhorrent crime and one that rightly concerns the public the most.
  • There was a discussion about a slight increase in attempt burglary. The Chief Constable has instigated a piece or work to review and make sure this is being recorded appropriately.

Neighbourhoods and Rural Policing

  • Neighbourhood policing has been a key area of focus for investment and development with a new Neighbourhood Policing Blueprint developed, agreed and now rolled out.
  • The Head of Local Policing, Chief Superintendent Ash Tuckley leads the ongoing implementation of the new model.
  • The Commissioner asked when the names of officers posted to the various neighbourhood teams will be published. Named contacts to provide clear accountability was promised as part of the new model.
  • The Chief Constable agreed to find out the most up-to-date position and when this information will be available and published.
  • Paul Bullen confirmed that 15 officers from a cohort in basic training will join Neighbourhood teams in May with a further cohort of officers designated in July.
  • Paul Bullen also confirmed that the Force now have a profile/model which maps all vacancies the Force will need to fill to March 2023. Whilst some areas will be under establishment Neighbourhoods will be prioritised.
  • Paul Bullen will share this plan with the Commissioner in their scheduled bi-weekly 1-2-1 meeting on Monday (19/4/21)
  • The Commissioner was assured that the Force are prioritising; the things that reduce demand, have the highest impact and protect those most at risk.

Anti-Social Behaviour and Drug Dealing

  • ASB has remained a key area of priority for all local neighbourhood Teams
  • A strategic problem-solving plan has been developed. Key aims are:
    • Reduce the number of repeat victims and better understand the demand (incidents) they account for
    • Increase the proportion of ASB incidents attended either in person or resolved by phone)
    • Increase victim satisfaction with overall service
  • 250 Intelligence led drug operations have been undertaken across the county in the last year and larger scale operations targeting Serious and Organised Crime involving drugs have also continued.
  • Operation Redwood in particular resulted in 72 convictions, 221 years in prison and over £1.3m of drugs taken off the streets and 31 drugs lines destroyed.
  • Supt Dave Lawson now leading on Prevention and Intervention work and will make a significant difference in this area.

Op Alloy

  • Op Alloy is continuing to support the front line with attending Mental Health incidents.
  • 13% of all front-line officer time is spent dealing with MH related incidents.
  • There was a discussion about how the Op Alloy data is quantified.
  • It was agreed that Paul Fell would review the original business case for Op Alloy and ask Tom Smith to measure performance against the original objectives to ensure the benefits are being correctly monitored and evaluated.

Action – PF to explore with Tom reporting and evaluation of OP Alloy.

Co-Location of Enabling Services

  • Darby House is now complete, and departments are in the process of moving in.
  • A new garage facility has been purchased with fit out and occupation expected by Q1 2022.

Integration of Enabling Services

Paul Bullen provided an update on the significant progress that has been made across the Enabling Services functions:

  • The Finance department has now been redesigned as a joint function in readiness for the end of services currently provided by LGSS.
  • A new Head of Transport and Logistics started on 1st February 2021.
  • A joint Chief Digital Officer is in post as is a joint Head of HR.
  • Post elections, a meeting will be organised to review the expectations and ambitions for the Enabling Service functions. This seems prudent given that many of the business cases for each area will be ready for sign-off in June 2021.
  • As the roadmap out of lockdown progresses it will also be timely to consider how the three organisations will evolve post lockdown.
  • ACC Sturman appointment will be a real benefit from an operational point of view.

Action – Post election, the newly elected Commissioner to meet with the Chief Constable, the Chief Fire Officer, their respective interops leads and Paul Bullen to review his/her expectations and ambitions for the Enabling Service functions.

  • There was a discussion about the business case for the integration of the IT department.
  • Heather Cowley for the OPFCC has reviewed from a technical perspective and is supportive. Paul Fell and Helen King will review this week.
  • Paul Bullen will discuss with the Commissioner and both chiefs next week.
  • All three organisations share the same vision for innovation and strong IT advancement which will require significant investment.
  • Helen King confirmed she has a meeting to discuss the Finance options in the business case on Thursday. She is open-minded and will give a view on the way forward after the meeting.
  • The Chief Constable confirmed technology is heavily weighted in his 5-year plan which he will share with the Commissioner in the coming weeks.

Office 365

  • This has been rescheduled for delivery by September 2021 due to Covid and resource reallocation impacting the rollout plans and a profiled plan has been developed.
  • The Commissioner expressed his concern that this date could slip again.
  • Paul Bullen confirmed there is a meeting scheduled later today (13th April) to discuss in more detail. If the September date is at risk PB will review what other things can stop to get the project back on track.


  • Qlik development progresses at pace and in line with the timescale and prioritisation set by the Chief Constable.
  • Benefits and efficiencies are regularly tracked – For example a sergeants ability to see an officers Niche enquiries and VCOP has saved 5 hours supervision time per week.
  • The new Tasking App is great – Designed by business for business ethos.

Close down of legacy systems

  • A revised technology decommissioning plan was provided.
  • In addition, DCC Nickless is taking legal advice on data retention and record management to reduce the number of files stored with Iron Mountain.

Customer Service Approach

  • As reported to the Accountability Board in March, victim satisfaction levels continue to improve and, in some cases significantly.
  • DCC Nickless has meeting with D/Chief Supt. Mark Behan to develop a ‘Victims Pledge’ – what is the consistent, reliable service offer being made across the organisation

Update on Overtime Savings Target

  • Overtime savings have been adjusted out of devolved budgets and reporting/scrutiny requirements have been discussed and agreed with Budget Holders.
  • The Commissioner sought assurance that less money was being spent on overtime as opposed to budgets being reduced.
  • VA confirmed the final month’s data has been received to enable the Outturn Report to be prepared and overtime info will be included in this report to a future Accountability Board meeting where this will be set out.

VCOP and victim care

  • The new Victim code goes live this month and a Force pledge is in place which sets out how the Force is going to adhere to and embrace the new Victim code.
  • There was a discussion about victim care and the ambition to provide a reliable service offer.
  • With the expansion of neighbourhood policing there is a genuine opportunity to obtain feedback on what victims want, need and expect.
  • PF added that whilst we already have a significant focus on satisfaction rates this only represents a is only a small number of people that police come in to contact with and we therefore want to understand wider context around confidence and service provision, which would include things like the timeliness of PSD investigations etc.
  • Service recovery aspect will be a critical component.

Crime Prevention

  • The Commissioner asked the Force to define its Crime Prevention Strategy
  • The Chief Constable replied that it had been disjointed but is now being led by the right people who have provided a completely different focus.
  • The Chief Constable added his gratitude to the OPFCC for a range of activity they had led including increased CCTV coverage, installation of alley gates, distribution of target hardening kits to thousands of households and door replacement programmes at vulnerable premises.
  • The Force had played a leading role in the development of the new CSP structures agreed as part of the collaborative landscape in the new Unitary Authority.

Early Intervention and Prevention

  • D/Supt. Dave Lawson now leads on Prevention and Intervention
  • The revised vison, strategy and plan was ratified by the Chief Constable at the end of March 2021
  • The Commissioner was reassured that this is a positive change and there is a more joined up approach to utilising OPFCC and Force resources such as the ACE team and the Youth Service.

Victims of Domestic Violence

  • Since the first lockdown in April 2020 there has been a 10% increase in reported DA incidents
  • It is probable that raised levels of DA will continue over the coming months as the county eases out of lockdown and late disclosures of ‘hidden’ DA are made
  • This crime type will continue as one of the four Force priorities for 2021/22 with an ambition to provide victims with the service they deserve and bring more offenders to justice.
  • The importance of early Intervention is recognised. D/Supt Dave Lawson is focussed on developing this.
  • There was a discussion about the Multi Agency Daily Risk Assessment (MADRA).
  • The MADRA was initially staffed by police officers but since November, two support staff are now in place, financed by OPFCC funding.
  • In December HMICFRS commented positively on the MADRA process
  • NM advised that at some point, when the work has settled, there will need to be a formal review on how the arrangement is working, who is doing what and resolve any issues of duplication.

Conditional Cautions

  • Project PIPA is now an established and effective method of taking positive, prevention action in lower harm/lower risk DA cases.
  • Under the scheme, as an alternative to prosecution perpetrators agree to attend a change behaviour course that comprises five sessions over a maximum four-month period.
  • Perpetrators who fail to complete the course or who are excluded if they commit a further offence, face charges.
  • The scheme has a success rate of 75%, consistent with the wider Conditional Caution rate.
  • The Commissioner was keen to understand if the 75% success rate was linked to attendance or in relation to changed behaviour
  • DCC Nickless is leading on work that is looking at revictimization rates – both a reduction in frequency and severity.
  • Consultation is also happening at Chiefs Council to check the appropriateness of outcomes and that it had led to reduced victimisation.
  • There was a discussion about DA awareness raising and victim support.
  • The Commissioner was keen to ensure that the Force has exploited all communication channels to regarding DV and encouraging victims to come forward.
  • The Chief Constable confirmed the Force has actively promoted DA via Facebook Live, #CutItOut and ‘Ask ANI’ (Action Needed Immediately).
  • To help address the seasonal increase over the festive period the Force initiated an awareness raising campaign and a focus on arresting the most prolific DV perpetrators.
  • The Chief Constable agreed to check that the Force has done enough both internally and externally to raise awareness and continue to encourage victims to seek help.

Action – NA to check comms plan for DV campaigns

Cadets Review

  • The cadet review is now concluded and has been shared with EMAS and NFRS.
  • A broader piece of work has now begun to look at the effectiveness of police volunteers and a new model of delivery under local policing. The scoping work for this is being led by a Staff Officer.
  • The Commissioner confirmed he has money set aside for diversionary activity and is keen to invest this into the cadets if a suitable plan/business case is forthcoming.
  • CR confirmed she has some ideas to discuss with the Chief Constable to present to the Commissioner.

Integrated Offender management and Out of Court Disposals

  • A significant investment in IOM is required to ensure the P&I manage all of the cohort of offenders that cause the most harm in our communities.
  • A new team is currently being recruited that will manage the fixed IOM cohort as well as those on serious harm orders.
  • Paul Bullen is working on a plan to get this important work fully resourced as soon as possible.

 Assurance statement:

 The Commissioner thanked the Chief Constable for the work progressed over the past 12 months. He was assured that a large number of the areas agreed in the budget conditions letter for 2020/21 had been progressed, despite the challenges faced by the Force in policing the County during the Covid 19 pandemic.

The Commissioner discussed with the Chief Constable the desire this year to have produced a more cohesive and joined up approach to crime prevention and a greater focus on wider customer service approaches.

 The Commissioner and Chief Constable share the vision of a technology enabled service.

4. Capital Programme

  • As part of the 2021/2022 budget setting programme there was a requirement to review the current capital programme to ensure affordability and deliverability.
  • The Commissioner requires the revised programme to be presented for review and approval.
  • Assistant Chief Officer Paul Bullen provided an overview of the work that had been undertaken across both Police and Fire so that there was a consistent approach and methodology to both Services.
  • PB has reviewed the Capital Programme with all Heads of Departments.
  • Helen King and been involved in the process and reviewed the programme in its entirety.
  • Vehicles are the highest volume of spend on individual assets.
  • The New Joint Head of Transport believes there is some capacity for better utilisation and re-profiling. This work is underway.
  • The new Commercial manager has joined and is looking at commercial opportunities for the garage.
  • The scope for change within the ICT programme is limited but the Chief Digital Officer is currently implementing a review.

Assurance statement:

The Commissioner was assured that the paper described a healthy position, that appears affordable in relation to the police capital programme.

 The Commissioner recognised that the programme contained areas where choices in relation to investment could be made as well as areas where it was completely necessary, and these elements of the programme would need to be kept under ongoing review.

 The Commissioner commended the work that had been undertaken to complete this.


6. A.O.B

  • There was a discussion about the increase in dog thefts and the concern that worries owners, had in some cases, taken to carrying a weapon in order to protect themselves and their dog.
  • The Chief Constable confirmed there had only been a small number of thefts but a lot of media attention, on average just under 2 dogs are stolen each month across the county.
  • The Force is mindful of the situation, particularly given the high cost of puppies.
  • Opportunity to push messages that dog theft is taken seriously in Northamptonshire to give the public more confidence.
  • Officers will be reminded that dog breeding is very lucrative and to make sure when they go into homes that they are mindful of any animal welfare issues
  • The Commissioner agreed to write to local MP’s to encourage the law to be changed to reflect the seriousness of dog theft in sentencing.

No further business was raised.