Police Accountability Board Minutes 8 March 2022

1. Welcome and introductions


PFCC Stephen Mold (SM)

Paul Fell (PF)

Louise Sheridan (LS)

CC Nick Adderley (NA)

DCC Simon Nickless (SN)

Colleen Rattigan (CR)

D/Chief Supt. Paul Rymarz (RM)

D/Supt Joe Banfield (JB)

  • SM welcomed everyone to the meeting.
  • Apologies were accepted from Nicci Marzec


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. Violence against women and girls

The Commissioner requires a formal update on 2 matters relating to violence against women and girls.

In September 2021 HMICFRS published it’s final report “Police response to violence against women and girls. This report contained five recommendations. Some of these related directly to Forces and others were indirect but required activity to be considered or undertaken to support delivery of the recommendations. The Commissioner requires a report that outlines the progress made by the Force to either directly deliver or contribute effectively to the delivery of these five recommendations.

The Commissioner requires formal presentation of the Force agreed delivery plan for violence against women and girls and progress against this.

  • D/Chief Supt. Paul Rymarz and D/Supt Joe Banfield provided an overview of the submitted paper.
  • In September 2021, HMIC released its report into the Police response to Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG)
  • In the report are five overarching specific recommendations contained in a 158-page report.

Recommendation 1 – Immediate and unequivocal commitment to the VAWG agenda.

  • Northants police have been very responsive appointing a force VAWG lead.
  • A full working group has been established and was already working on the ‘problem profile’ well in advance of the national guidance being published.
  • The VAWG agenda has unequivocable support from Chief Officers and the Vulnerability Board.

Recommendation 2 – The relentless pursuit and disruption of adult perpetrators.

  • Op kayak – This is a perpetrator focussed proactive policing operation which has been running since July 2021. This involves uniform and plain clothed officers in the Night Time Economy to pursue suspicious males who may be perpetrators of stalking, harassment and sexual offending.
  • A full evaluation of Op Kayak will be undertaken once it has been running for a full year. Difficult to evaluate now due to the impact of covid on the NTE.
  • The force Solar (rape) teams were created in 2021. Significant investment in these teams will increase to the teams to 1 DCI, 2 DI’s, 6 DS’ and 30 DC’s.
  • The team will work alongside the Domestic Abuse Investigation teams to encourage a closer working relationship along with more joint investigations.
  • Northants police continue to attend Project Bluestone briefings
  • There will need to be further significant investment in staff to fully deliver against the project recommendations.

Recommendation 3 – Structures and funding should be put in place to make sure victims receive tailored and consistent support.

  • Enhanced services to victims in Northants are already provided by Voice and Serenity (SARC)
  • The Commissioner provided an update on a review of the current structure of Voice.

Recommendation 4 – All Chief Constables should immediately review and ensure there are consistently high standards in their forces’ response to VAWG and should be supported in doing so by national standards and data.

  • The Chief Constable has signed off a request to do full review of the Protecting Vulnerable People department, including processes and procedures.
  • Terms of Reference are currently being agreed and the review is expected to be completed within 6 months.
  • The review will also include referral processes to the MASH and MARAC.
  • The Commissioner requested that Nicci Marzec is involved in agreeing the TOR for the review.

Action – D/Chief Supt Paul Rymarz to share draft TOR with Nicci Marzec and factor in any observations/recommendations she might make.

Recommendation 5 – Immediate review of use of outcomes 15 and 16 in VAWG offences.

  • Northants police use of outcome 15 (lack of evidence) is currently 5% higher than the national average (19.4% versus 14.8%)
  • Use of outcome 16 (lack of victim engagement) is lower (21% versus 24%)
  • The business assurance team are reviewing these in depth and there is a senior officer review on all cases.

Highlights from VAWG presentation by D/Supt Joe Banfield

  • Northants police will use QR codes for the first time. Currently trialling there use to track how engaged public are in campaigns.
  • Change of mindset looking for and focussing on perpetrators rather than victims. (Taking victims account and trying to strengthen it).
  • Training and accreditation of PIP 2 detectives and RASSO officers – strengthening their knowledge and focus on bluestone principles.
  • Public spaces intervention – identifying areas where lower-level offending is taking place – intervening earlier and creating no alcohol or cat calling zones.
  • Also looking at safer streets data to identify where people feel unsafe at night (safer streets data)
  • Step change in vulnerability work in place including SNO van, taxi marshals and Shout up.

Action – Invitation from Kettering Buccleuch Academy to a round table discussion with girls from the school – LS to arrange for the Commissioner and D/Supt Joe Banfield to visit.

Action – DCS Paul Rymarz to send verbal feedback from focus groups sessions conducted by Supt Sarah Johnson to the Commissioner

  • The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS), also known as “Clare’s Law” enables the police to disclose information to a victim or potential victim of domestic abuse about their partner’s or ex-partner’s previous abusive or violent offending.
  • There has been a drop off in Force compliance partly down to policy decisions and a rise in the number of applications.
  • This will be improved as part of the whole scale review of the PVP department.
  • The Commissioner flagged the work being done in Merseyside by PCC Emily Spurrell via the Domestics abuse workplace scheme
  • Contact

Action – D/Supt Joe Banfield to contact PCC Emily Spurrell for more information.

  • There is now increase focus on the relentless pursuit of perpetrators and remand to protect victims.
  • A Q&A has been produced for front line and specialist officers.
  • Neighbourhood teams now making use of public protection orders
  • New Digital Scene Triage Vans will enable the instant review of devices to enhance response.

Action – The Commissioner requested more information about the Digital Scene Triage Vans and their delivery timescales it was agreed that the Chief Constable  will request DCI Steve Watkins would be asked to provide this.

  • In terms of positive outcomes, the Force is currently ranked 11th nationally and 3rd in MSG.
  • There was a discussion about potentially dangerous person process. This is managed by a multi-agency panel with the MOSOVO team.
  • Strong focus on the use of Sexual risk orders and court orders to divert people away from NTE etc.
  • The Commissioner complemented the force on the good work that is underway but felt that there was still more to do before he was completely assured.
  • It was agreed that an update on progress would be required in 3 months’ time to satisfy the Commissioner that positive outcomes could be evidenced.
  • The Chief Constable also complemented the work that has been undertaken. VAWG is now a Force priority area and he is confident that the Force will maintain their forward thinking approach to be the best they can be.
  • Paul Fell highlighted Round 4 of Safer Streets funding which is focused on neighbourhood crime, ASB and VAWG.

Action – PF and JB to work together on the bid

  • There was a discussion about Mobile Facial Recognition trial and the success that South Wales have had in the trial
  • It was suggested that facial recognition innovation could form part of the Safer Streets bid along with the deployment of wifi hot spots.

Assurance statement:

The Commissioner was presented with a paper that covered two issues. These were the Force response to the HMICFRS 2021 national report relating to the police response to violence against women and girls and progress against the 5 recommendations within it. The second was a presentation of the Northamptonshire Police plan to address VAWG.

There was a discussion in relation to the impending review of the Force protecting vulnerable people department, that will include investigative and support functions. The Commissioner requested that Nicci Marzec was consulted in the development of the Terms of Reference for this. The Commissioner also sought assurance that where it was appropriate, this review would also include partners.

The Commissioner received the Force 4 P plan relating to violence against women and girls. He raised concerns about what appeared to be a downturn in performance in the Force responding to requests for information under the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme. This was acknowledged by the Chief Constable who provided him with assurances that this was recognised and unacceptable and would be rectified.

The Commissioner recognised that progress was being made on this agenda but made the point that this was a high priority and he expected further improvements to be made and would look to reassess this in 3 months’ time


The Commissioner requires a report relating to the performance of EMSOU FS in terms of scenes visited, DNA and FP evidence recovered, idents made and conversion to positive outcomes.

The report should comment on the Chief Constables assessment of the service provided by EMSOU FS, as well as providing comparative figures for other Forces in the EMSOU FS collaboration.

  • D/Chief Supt. Paul Rymarz provided an overview of the paper that D/Supt Emma James had submitted.
  • There are currently 16 FTE CSI’s and two Operations managers providing the force with forensic examination of crime scenes, across all crime types of volume, serious, complex and major crime.
  • The CSI team are based in Northampton but are regionally managed and governed.
  • EMSOU FS has submitted a bid to increase resourcing by four additional CSI posts in the next financial year.
  • There was a discussion on regional data provided in the report.
  • The data provides comparisons on the performance of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Northants.
  • There was a discussion about fingerprint conversions and DNA hits.
  • Regional trend evidence’s a decline in conversion rates across all but one force in the region.
  • The decline of conversion rates of DNA and FP performance in 21/22 has seemingly had the least impact on Derbyshire.
  • The Commissioner suggested that the Force might like to contact Derbyshire to see if there are and ‘good practice’ processes that could be incorporated locally.
  • Despite an increase in idents, the volume of detections has fallen.
  • Whilst current levels of DNA conversions are in line with other regions, FP conversions are slightly below other forces.
  • There is a renewed strategic and tactical plan to improve forensic conversion rates, overseen by DCI Liz Wilcox as the Force lead for Forensics.
  • A number of areas have been identified as requiring improvement which has led to improvements across the structure.
  • These include an amended pathway of allocation and ownership to ensure as soon as a forensic hit comes in it is owned, managed, and tracked.
  • There was a discussion about some data sets that were discovered by Tom Smith in the OPFCC and that were not being shared by EMSOU
  • The Commissioner was concerned about the overall deterioration in performance but acknowledged the work being done to better understand the reasons for this.
  • The Commissioner was keen that the Force track attrition rates from the forensic evidence they recover alongside the successful conversion rates.
  • The Commissioner requested a further update in 6 – 9 months so that he can review progress.

Assurance Statement :

The Commissioner received a paper in relation to the performance of EMSOU (FS), which covered attendance at crime scenes and forensic evidence recovery rates.

The presentation highlighted that there had been some process issues relating to scene attendance and this had been rectified. In addition, the Chief Constable had agreed to the recruitment of addition crime scene investigators from the current budget.

There had been a reduction in the conversion rate of DNA and fingerprint identifications over the last 12 months and the analysis to identify the reasons for this was being undertaken. The Chief Constable acknowledged that this was not acceptable and that the Force needed to improve.

The Commissioner agreed with this and was grateful that this work had already started but stated he would be seeking a further formal update on this later this year.


5. A.O.B

  • The Chief Constable advised that the Police Foundation report is published today – The Police Foundation are an independent body in the UK that researches, understands and works to improve policing for the benefit of the public.
  • The Chief Constable believes Northants are in a good position and he is keen to work with the OPFCC on ways to accelerate his long-term strategic vision.
  • Sir Tom Winsor’s State of policing report is due tomorrow (9th March)
  • No further business was raised