Welcome and introductions.
PFCC Stephen Mold (SM)
Louise Sheridan (LS)
Paul Fell (PF)
Helen King (HK)
David Peet (DP)
A/CC Ivan Balhatchet (IB)
Colleen Rattigan (CR)
C/Supt Emma James (EJ)
D/Supt Joe Banfield (JB)
Insp. Ross MacDonald (RMacD)
- SM welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Apologies were accepted from ACC Tuckley
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.
Claire’s Law and Sarah’s law
Members of the public have rights under the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme and the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme, otherwise known as Clare’s Law and Sarah’s Law.
The Commissioner requires a report which outlines the numbers of these, under each scheme that have been received by the Force over the past two years. The report should outline any trends in these requests, the compliance that the Force has with any prescribed timescales that they are required to meet under the two schemes and should also highlight any backlogs that might exist relating to disclosure, under them.
The report should also articulate any risks or issues posed to the Force because of the schemes.
- D/Supt Banfield provided an update.
- The paper was taken as read.
- In the past 12 months there have been 691 DVDS applications.
- The average demand has risen to 66 cases per month compared to 44 cases per month last year. Increased demand is expected to continue.
- There are two main elements to Claire’s Law– a right to ask and a right to know.
- Under the right to ask, members of the public, including a domestic partner are allowed to request information from the police about a potential abuser.
- The right to know element allows police the freedom to proactively disclose any of the information they may have become aware about where the perpetrator has a new partner and a past history of domestic violence and violent acts.
- Right to ask applications are dealt with by non-specialist officers, typically those in the Neighbourhood policing team.
- Right to know applications are dealt with by specialist police officers and DA experts who manage safety and immediacy.
- The team undertaking these higher risks Domestic Violence Disclosure requests is now fully staffed and as a result previous backlogs have reduced significantly.
- On 13 November there were 11 applications outstanding (packages being handed out under ‘right to know’).
- The Commissioner asked what the average number of days was to process disclosure requests given there is now a 28-day limit from the point of application.
- D/Supt Banfield advised it is currently averaging at 21 days however there will always be some who are more difficult to get hold of.
- There is a robust process on NICHE.
- There was a discussion about the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme (CSODS) also known as Sarah’s law.
- CSODS requests have been the sole responsibility of MOSOVO and all disclosures are carried out in person by them within 28 days.
- The average number of monthly applications has increased from seven to nine which equates to a 20% increase.
- JB advised there are currently 20 live cases waiting for visits and this is due to the other high-risk offenders that the MOSOVO team are managing.
- The plan is to move CSODS into the MASH so that MOSOVO can concentrate on their high-risk offender visits, meaning that requests for disclosure will be dealt with more quickly.
The Commissioner was pleased and assured with the progress made and performance within the Force in relation to compliance rates for dealing with requests for information under the domestic violence disclosure scheme (Clare’s Law). He was pleased to see that there were no backlogs awaiting the disclosure of information. It was clear that changes made in the internal processes had been very positive.
In relation to disclosure under the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Service, it was noted that while the numbers of requests were significantly smaller there were some issues with compliance with the 28-day time limit for disclosure.
The Commissioner welcomed the fact that the Force had recognised this and already had a plan in place to resolve this, through the movement of this responsibility from the MOSOVO unit to the MASH.
HMICFRS PEEL Inspection
During September 2023 Northamptonshire Police was subject to a PEEL inspection by HMICFRS.
The Commissioner while accepting that at this time the report will not have been published requires a paper from the Chief Constable that sets out the initial findings from this inspection.
The paper should also set out the areas that the Chief Constable feels might draw observations in any final report either in terms of good practice or areas for improvement and in this case what the early plans are to remedy and address these.
- CR provided highlights from the paper which was taken as read.
- The Hot de-brief with HMICFRS on 19th October was really positive.
Victim service Assessment and Crime Data Integrity
- A strong performance
- Challenges around 999 and 101 performances were noted. It was accepted that this is a national issue with unprecedented demand.
Use of powers and Public Treatment
- Some areas of improvement were raised.
- HMI recognised the forces intentions to deliver bespoke unconscious bias training. This has now commenced.
- The Commissioner asked about softer skills including communication given that must of the workforce is so young.
- CR advised this will be linked to a request for additional investment in L&D later this year, as an investment proposal during the budget setting process.
- There was a discussion on scrutiny panels. Work in progress with ACC Tuckley who is comfortable with the plan.
Preventing and deterring Crime, ASB and Vulnerability.
- CR confirmed the Force is performing well and have been building on existing good performance in this area of PEEL.
- In the last grading there was an AFI for problem solving.
- CR advised this has now moved on with the introduction of the Observatory.
- The Commissioner asked if there were any areas that the Force were concerned about. He was particularly interested in the wider crime prevention approach regarding youth crime, knife crime and neighbourhood crime.
- CR confirmed FMS truly use partnership data and think further ahead than other forces and have strong strategic partnerships with other agencies to tackle these issues.
- The Force has also received positive feedback on its problem-solving capability due to the investments made.
- CR confirmed this includes the early intervention and diversionary opportunities provided to young people via CIRV, preventing further criminality.
Responding to the Public
- Work continues to build on the progress made in Q1 particularly in the FCR.
- The Force has delivered strong performance across its VSA and Call handlers for their THRIVE risk assessment.
- Good practice has been demonstrated vis the IDVA service and Op Motto.
- CR confirmed there was disappointment with the grading the Force received in 2021 but is confident of a really strong performance this time.
- There was a discussion about Response workloads however CR confirmed that the Force were able to demonstrate to HMI that these are manageable.
- Should an AFI be raised CR confirmed the Force will challenge as 72% of Response officers are carrying between 9 or 10 crimes.
- The CJ Centre of Excellence was highlighted as good practice and the Force is ranked first for DGA compliance.
Protecting Vulnerable People.
- PVP has previously been a challenge for the Force however HMICFRS noted the improvements to governance and performance management through the strategic Vulnerability Board.
- Inspectors commended the MASH and its effectiveness.
- Investments that the Commissioner has made into welfare was specifically mentioned.
- Attendance at MARAC could improve.
Managing Offenders and Suspects.
- CR confirmed that the Force continue to maintain a strong performance.
- Managing offenders in custody is graded as good.
- HMI noted good structure and supervision.
Supporting the workforce and Leadership and Force Management.
- CR advised that wellbeing of our people was positive.
- PDR processes could be improved, and some officers felt under-supported in training.
- The Commissioner commented that L&D is an area that could move the Force from good to great with supportive learning being key.
- The investment in clinical supervision given how difficult some of the specialist roles was acknowledged.
- Occupational health good practice and HMI recognised that this was brought in-house as support was not as effective when offered at a regional level.
- It was acknowledged that lots of work is being done to further improve culture.
- The Force will be in top quarter for having a representative workforce.
The Commissioner had requested this paper from the Chief Constable, to provide an early assessment following the recent HMICFRS PEEL inspection of Northamptonshire Police. It was reported that the initial part of the inspection, relating to the victim’s journey and crime data integrity had been positive and reassurance had been provided by HMICFRS at the debrief about what they had seen.
Some issues had been identified relating to confidence in officers use of stop and search powers that would be further explored and some issues relating to domestic abuse investigation allocation, but these had either already been resolved or were a part of the end-to-end review of DA that had been commissioned.
Additional positive aspects highlighted were the identification of vulnerability in the Force control room, good use of partnership data and work in prevention and intervention, the accelerated detective programme, and the criminal justice centre of excellence approach.
The Commissioner was assured by the information from the initial debrief and looked forward to seeing the final report.
- There was a discussion about probationary constables not feeling supported by tutors.
- Given the Uplift, both the Commissioner and A/Chief Constable considered it was timely that the structure that sits behind the training process is reviewed to ensure it is fit for purpose.