1. Welcome and introductions
PFCC Stephen Mold (SM)
Paul Fell (PF)
Helen King (HK)
Nicci Marzec (NM)
Louise Sheridan (LS)
Tom Smith (TS)
CC Nick Adderley (NA)
DCC Simon Nickless (SN)
ACO Paul Bullen (PB)
Supt. Sarah Johnson (SJ)
Colleen Rattigan (CR)
Sarah Crampton (SC)
SM welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Apologies were accepted from CC Nick Adderley
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 matters of priority performance update
The Chief Constable has adopted a suite of performance measures and targets relating to Force matters of priority for 2021/2022.
The Commissioner request a presentation/report that shows performance against these measures and targets.
- A full performance pack was reviewed in advance of the meeting which provided an overall assessment with headlines.
- The Commissioner thanked Sarah for a comprehensive report which showed the Force is making genuine progress in a number of areas with 22 out of 33 on track.
- The Commissioner was pleased with the performance of call handling particularly given the unprecedented demand on 999 calls.
- The Commissioner asked if the Force measure post- triage call times, and left this with Tom Smith and Sarah Crampton to cover off
Action – TS/SC to review post-triage call times and how these calls are then allocated to provide reassurance that callers are not waiting too long once the initial threat/risk/harm has been assessed.
- Conscious of time, it was agreed that the focus of the remaining discussion would be on areas where the Force had more work to do.
- Response times are deteriorating: 48 seconds slower than 2020/21 and 21 seconds slower than 2019/20.
- The Commissioner also reminded the Chief Constable that he does not recognise the revised 15-minute measure for grade 1 incidents now being used by the Force.
- The Chief Constable explained that Response Officers didn’t deal with cases in 2019. They attended and handed over the crime to what was then the FIT team.
- In 2020/21 the Covid pandemic has impacted policing operations.
- It is recognised that the complexity of crime has increased and resulted in officers spending longer at the scene investigating the crime and gathering evidence.
- Response times and resource availability is reviewed every Monday. Currently experiencing unprecedented demand.
- In addition, up to 80 officers not on Response due to protected learning time. This is a national issue and is improving.
- 80% of Response officers will be Echo trained (allowing use of blue lights and sirens) by April which will also help.
- Levels of ASB have reduced but satisfaction rates in this area are amongst the lowest.
- DCC Nickless has taken responsibility for understanding why this is the case and conducting a deep dive into a number of ‘dissatisfied’ cases to see if any themes.
- He is assured that the Force has good quality data, and every victim gets a call back.
- The additional investment and subsequent uplift to NPT should help however data set is 3 months old so won’t see any positive change overnight.
- Also looking at how we engage with the nine Mental Health Hubs with repeat callers.
- Good progress with overall knife crime down 9% and knife point robberies down by 5%.
- More work to do engaging with broader partnerships to ensure working collaboratively.
- Expecting to see an improvement on national position when next set of data is released.
- Will be discussed in more detail at the March Accountability Board (scheduled to be an agenda item)
- The Commissioner was concerned that rape conviction rates are deteriorating.
- The Chief Constable confirmed this is under the spotlight. Pushing more SOLAR teams. One on each LPA now to ensure investing in right staff and resilience.
- Outcome 15 and 16 a concern – Short term trend starting to see an improvement.
- Outcome 16 is where the victim does not support police action however the Force are driving more evidence base prosecutions so the Chief Constable is confident this will improve.
Stalking and harassment
- Stable but still represents 15% of crime.
- Recognising that a lot of the offences occur online, there was a discussion on what the Force could do to identify the behaviour earlier.
- Typically stalking and harassment is a secondary crime, often linked to a primary offence that CPS will prosecute – don’t often get secondary conviction,
- Vastly improving picture as previously an outlier.
- With the force now committed to the Observatory by the end of March, it will be in a much stronger position to address longstanding issues in innovative ways.
- The increase in blended data available from the new year will provide a much better understanding of who are the most vulnerable people they interact with and how they can work better as a partnership to support them.
- The Chief Constable will review and refresh when moves over to Corporate Development in next few weeks. C/Supt Mick stamper now leading.
Performance update overall
- The Commissioner commended the work being done by the Force. He was particularly pleased with the use of data and the level of scrutiny and oversight this provided.
The Commissioner commented on what he considered the improved quality of the performance pack that Chief Officers were now utilising.
The Commissioner was assured that there were signs of genuine improvement across a range of areas, and in the case of the Chief Constables ‘matters of priority’, the Force was currently achieving 22 of its 33 localised targets.
The Commissioner expressed his concerns in relation to grade 1 response times and ASB satisfaction levels however, he was cognisant of the good work undertaken by the Force that assured him that there were genuine improvements across the board. It was noted that further improvements are also required in other areas including knife crime and neighbourhood crime.
4. 2021 PEEL inspection
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.
- Supt Sarah Johnson provided an overview on the background, current and proposed approach to governance of HMICRFS AFI’s and recommendation.
- A comprehensive plan containing all PEEL 18/19 and NCPI inspection recommendations has been developed on the Corporate Services SharePoint site so that they can be regularly updated by the appropriate lead.
- The Inspection and Assurance roadmap has been spilt into four quarters and the Force are currently well into quarter 1.
- A number are ready to be reviewed and removed.
- C/Supt provided a comprehensive update on how the Force is identifying and reviewing best practice elsewhere with the Performance Delivery Team completing gap analysis against PEEL Points to Prove/Themes.
- The Commissioner complemented Supt. Johnson on the quality of her update adding that this was the most assured he had felt in all his time in office.
- The Force knows the areas where it needs to improve and has a clear plan of action on how to do it.
- The commissioner also recognised the strong governance and oversight processes in place.
- The Commissioner requested a further update on progress at the end of Quarter 2022/23
The Commissioner recognised that the Force had what appeared to be an effective governance and oversight process in place for responding to the recent PEEL inspection, with senior officer leadership. He was also pleased to see that initial progress had been made on some of the recommendations/AFI.
The Commissioner asked for further details on the sign off process for areas of identified improvement and was assured by the robustness of the process in place between the force and HMICFRS.
The Commissioner thanked the Chief Constable for the comprehensive update and stated that he would ask for quarterly updates against the milestones presented at this meeting.
5. Investment proposals.
The Commissioner agreed in the January Accountability Board that if the Force made the savings it proposed as part of the 2022/23 budget setting process, he was supportive of the Chief Constables Investment Proposals but that he would wish to discuss these in more detail before agreeing to them.
The Chief Constables Investment proposals along with the supporting business case for each one were submitted for review on 7th December 2021 for consideration.
CJ Centre of Excellence:
- The aim of this business case is to establish Northants Police as a leader in delivering criminal justice outcomes working collaboratively with operational departments to deliver an excellent service to victims.
- There was a discussion about omnicompetence on the front line with the added pressure from CPS for full case files to be completed for every offence.
- The proposed CJ Centre of Excellence will enable the Force to develop an operational plan to deliver a quality evidential product, focusing on a ‘Right First Time’ approach.
- Operational officer time freed up to allow them to focus on operational priorities such as response times, visibility, crime outcomes, proactivity and problem solving in pursuit of Force Matters of Priority
- Criminal Justice Department has responsibility for all case building and disclosure at the earliest point in the submission of a file and retains it through the criminal justice process, with police officers providing evidential material or completing specific actions where required to support case management.
- This model provides expert evidential review, case management, disclosure and liaison with the CPS and Courts in a central function.
- In addition, Justice Department staff provide expertise in what is a technical process to deliver excellent file quality.
Decision – Approve option 1A
- MOSOVO manage the statutory obligation placed on the Police and Partners to manage Registered Sex Offenders.
- Uplift the admin team to 2.5 FTE which creates resource capacity to manage current demand and significantly improve resilience and performance.
- The growth to 3.8 FTE posts in the future will still be aspirational and will future proof the department, but in the intervening years, effort will be made to secure capacity from alternative source at lower or no cost.
- There was pushback on the employment of a PA for the department.
- The Chief Constable agreed that this was a reasonable challenge, and he would look at this again with the potential to redeployed a PA from another area.
The Commissioner asked if the Force were still inputting some data on behalf of the probation service as this needed to reflected in funding if this was the case
ACTION DCC Nickless to check whether the Force VISOR unit are still inputting data onto that system for the probation service.
Decision – Approve option 2 (subject to above checks)
- The Force has identified a number of risks emanating from their retention of legacy data and the resources required to address these as part of the Force records management strategy.
- DCC Nickless provided an overview of the number of records that need to be reviewed.
- Following a lengthy discussion and recognising the benefit of completing it, the CC was asked to consider the full requirements of doing what was required as a one-off project for which HK was supportive of using Reserves and not the Base budget.
- The Commissioner was keen that the work is undertaken and completed quickly.
Action – SN to review timescales to see if the work can be done more quickly.
Decision – Approve from Reserves and CC to look at options to complete the work more quickly and comprehensively.
Targeted Variable Payments
- Not approved in current format.
- The Chief Constable confirmed he had contemplated this investment request further and was minded to review this area again.
- The Commissioner is not averse to looking at the working environment in the CJC to see if it could be improved.
Action – Chief Constable Adderley to reconsider and resubmit this investment proposal should it be required.
Decision – Hold
Roads Policing Unit
- The Chief Constable has proposed investment in a dedicated Roads Policing Function
- He has also prosed further investment in the Joint Operation Team to meet increasing demand and risk, and ongoing funding to allow the force to sustain the Drone Programme.
- There was a discussion about what a dedicated Roads Policing (RP) function would provide.
- This would address gaps in the current RP function and create specialism that will enhance the Forces ability to dismantle county lines, monitor HGV’s, PG9’s tacographs etc and support an under resourced SCIU.
- The Commissioner asked for reassurance around the Road safely element citing a concern that chasing criminals on roads might be more exciting than more mundane safety checks.
- The Chief Constable advised that Road safety will form a key strand of the new unit and further strengthened as part of Neighbourhood policing team.
- There was a discussion about the cost of the increased number of sergeants required
- Regarding the Drone element, the Commissioner asked if the early drone trial had been evaluated. If the evaluation of the pilot was successful, then further investment would make sense.
Action – The Chief constable agreed to look into drone pilot evaluation, which he had not seen and report back. Evaluation criteria was agreed at the time of the pilot so it would easily be resurrectable if not done.
- There was a discussion about the JOT; the Commissioner wanted to know what conversations had been had with NFRS.
- Overall, the Commissioner was supportive subject further information being provided on the safer roads element of the strategy and the uplift on the sergeant posts.
- RPU approved in principle, subject to CC providing/confirming:
- Drones investment – this was paused as the PFCC required to see the results of the pilot evaluation prior to making a decision.
- JOT – CC to update PFCC on what discussions have been had with NFRS required.
High Tech Crime Unit.
- The aim of this case is to improve the capacity of the Digital Hub through an increase in HTCU Investigators
- In principle the Commissioner was supportive but requested more detail before agreeing to this proposal.
- The Chief Constable confirmed D/Supt Jamie Piscopo and DCI Steve Watkins have been tasked with looking at this and a revised plan is expected in next few days.
- In addition, the HTCU will be a priority focus on work that the Force is undertaking with Crest, a specialist research company focussed on crime and justice.
- Upon receipt of the revised plan, the Chief Constable will discuss it with commissioner.
Decision – Hold
The Firearms & Explosives Licencing Unit
- To increase the establishment of the administrative and management functions of the Firearms & Explosives Licencing Unit (FLEU) in order to address increasing demand, mitigate risk and provide critical resilience to the FELU Manager
Decision – Approved option 2
Deputy Force Crime and Incident Registrar – Police staff post
- The Force currently have a base budget funded Sergeant in the role of Deputy Force Crime and Incident Registrar; this role assists and supports the Force Crime and Incident Registrar which is a police staff post.
- The deputy role will become vacant due to retirement.
- The Force would like to recruit a police staff member to the post with permanent funding
Decision – Not approved. This post should be funded from within the Forces own budget.
- The Commissioner also formally agreed to the Vetting and Counter Corruption Unit proposal – two additional posts and a vetting and counter corruption system.
- The Chief Constable thanked the Commissioner for his support and formally noted his appreciation to both Colleen Rattigan and Vaughan Ashcroft for the work they have done pulling the Investment proposals together which had facilitated the full, frank and meaningful discussion on each proposal that will ultimately be of benefit to the people of Northamptonshire.
- There was a discussion about the continuing issues and media focus on the Metropolitan police
- There was a discussion about the work that the College of Policing is doing to support the collective efforts to address concerns about police behaviour and culture
- The Chief Constable advised that at Chiefs’ Council, the College and the NPCC confirmed that they are putting out for consultation a draft Race and Inclusion Plan that sets out policing’s vision to become an anti-racist service.
- The Chief Constable reiterated his honestly held belief that the Metropolitan police is not reflective of the totality of policing and does not support the view that the police Service are institutionally racist.
- This is also a growing concern amongst other chiefs and PCC’s.
- The work continues between the CoP and the NPCC to agree.
- No further business was raised.