1. Welcome and introductions
PFCC Stephen Mold (SM)
Paul Fell (PF)
Louise Sheridan (LS)
Tom Smith (TS)
CC Nick Adderley (NA)
DCC Simon Nickless
Assistant Chief Officer Paul Bullen (PB)
Colleen Rattigan (CR)
Sarah Crampton (SC)
Apologies were accepted from Nicci Marzec
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. Force Strategic priorities
The Chief Constable has adopted a suite of performance measures and targets relating to Force matters of priority.
The Commissioner requests 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
Service and Response times
- 999 and 101 calls have stabilised after increased demand through the summer.
- 999 Calls in September were unseasonably high but despite this almost 90% were answered within 10 seconds
- 101 calls continue to decline with more people reporting non-emergency incidents online.
- The Commissioner asked if he could have a breakdown of how calls progress through the triage system so that he could better understand the average wait time within the process.
Action – SC to provide breakdown of call lags for 101 and 999 calls and post triage wait times.
- Sarah Crampton advised that Response times were within national targets.
- There was a discussion about the 15-minute national target which is slower than the 11.17 local target the Force achieved last year.
- The Commissioner advised the Chief Constable that he did not recognise the national target as the baseline against which the Force measured its performance.
- The Chief Constable advised that the 11:17 target was set before changes were made to Response; when officers would attend incidents but pass the crime enquiries on to someone else. Response officers now keep their crimes which means they spend more time at the scene taking statements and gathering evidence etc.
- There was a discussion about why it was important to explain why the narrative and landscape had changed and the Chief Constable agreed to articulate this for the Commissioner to approve.
- Important to reference that when officers arrive at a scene, they do a good job and provide a better service to victims.
Action – NA to provide a written explanation for the change in the performance against the agreed measure to Response times.
- Levels of ASB are falling both locally and nationally.
- Northants has seen a 11.6% reduction for the period Apr – Sept 2021 versus the same period in 2019 (pre-Covid)
- Victim satisfaction for ASB is the lowest of all recorded incident types.
- The decline in satisfaction rates is a concern but work is underway to understand what is behind the decline.
- It was noted that the customer satisfaction surveys were 3 months old and the increase in Neighbourhood Policing Teams will have a positive impact in the next report.
- KSI’s are down over the last 12-months but starting to rise following the easing of restrictions in April
- Mental health issues have been noted in a number of fatalities
- Enforcement data for Fatal4 shows increasing arrests for disqualified driving and drink/drug driving.
- NPT time out of station fell in September from a peak in August.
- Overall levels for both PC’s and PCSO fell to their lowest levels since March
- Force explained the increasing crime workloads across the Force will have an influence on lower visibility. There was discussion on this and the Commissioner felt that this data set needed to be better understood by the Force to understand the detailed reasons behind the numbers.
- Data quality remains a challenge and is under constant review. For example, an officer dealing with a prisoner currently shows as not visible however they are still serving the public.
- New Telematic tool being installed in cars will provide much more detailed information particularly when over lay with Geofencing.
- A new Centre of Excellence will also free up Response officer time and the resultant increase to workloads due to the introduction of Director General Guidance 6 requirements.
All crime /Demand
- Position against National and MSG is improving with demand stabilising (Other forces seeing more fluctuation).
- If demand is stable it is easier for the Force to anticipate and deal with demand more effectively
- Neighbourhood and violent crime are above 2020 levels but generally below 2019.
- Improved recording of secondary crime and dealing with it sooner will add to overall improvement in longer term. (Gripping and dealing with issues earlier).
- There was a discussion about the need to report on crime levels in the new National Policing and Crime measures that are being introduced.
- A narrative on demand will be required quarterly once the new Police and Crime Plan is published.
- Most recent ONS data (March 2021) has seen the Forces’ national position decline. (The next ONS publication is due in early November).
- It is difficult to influence the MSG or National position, so the Force is focussed on local activity and making good on the Op Sceptre plan whilst peer data settles down.
- Demand locally is lower than forecast with the North LPA in particular seeing a significant reduction.
- Usage offences (stabbing and slashings) remain below average and the medium-term trend is now firmly in decline.
- Threat offences continue to account for the majority of knife crime and are stable.
- Under 18’s still account for a significant proportion of knife crime demand (more than 1-in-4 crimes) and will be the biggest focus of Op Sceptre plan and increased S&S.
- The Commissioner was interested to know how many times a knife was used.
- SC confirmed she has that data and will include it in future packs.
- The Force is making some good progress on DA which is a ‘Matter of priority’
- These include arrests, positive outcomes and repeat victimisation
- The use of conditional cautions has nearly doubled in 12 months but are closely monitored to ensure charging opportunities are not missed.
- There is a 77% arrest rate on high-risk DA incidents, but rates have fallen in lower risk cases. This will be monitored in the VAWG Working Group
- The Commissioner asked for a breakdown of DA incidents to show what other interventions were put in place (other than arrest)
Action – SC to provide a better breakdown/explanation of DA interventions other than arrest in the next performance report
- DA satisfaction rates are high and confidence levels are high.
- There was a discussion about delays in attending DA incidents and the impact on the ability to gain evidence being a legacy of Covid. This was confusing and SC agreed to review and provide an explanation.
Action – SC to review and explain slower response times to DA and Covid
- Peer performance on RASSO is good. (Ranked 4th)
- Nationally Rape offences are above 2019 and 2020 levels and are forecasted to remain high.
- 1 in 5 offences are non-recent (12 months or more have passed from the event to when it was reported)
- There is still work to do on RASSO investigations to improve the quality of case files.
- CJ processes are taking a long time with offenders being encouraged to plead ‘not guilty’ because frequent adjournments mean victims more likely to withdraw from the process.
- There was a discussion on recent media interest in allegations of drink spiking – Op Kalon is working to identify offenders and reduce victim risk.
- The Force position within its MSG remains unchanged
- Seasonal increases are expected between now and Christmas.
- The Commissioner asked what the response plan for anticipated increase is
- The Chief Constable confirmed Op Crooked will continue along with targeting of known offenders and a focus on IOM data.
- The overall assessment for SOC related offences is currently amber with indications that the production of, and demand for, Class B recreational drug use expanding.
- A Drugs Monitoring Group with partner agencies is being re-established.
- Firearms performance is largely positive with fewer offences and strong intel.
- Concerns have been raised from the Licensing Unit that GP’s are unwilling to voluntarily provide medical status updates on patients who require medication, particularly for depression and anxiety, making the process more complex and protracted.
- The Commissioner asked for further information which the Chief will provide so that this can be raised with the APCC.
Action – NA to provide a formal overview of the issue with GPs and the backlog it is creating within the FELU so that SM can raise with the APCC.
- Fraud offences which increased during lockdown have started to taper off.
- More work to do here which the OPFCC is happy to support to establish a better approach to Cyber.
- There was a discussion about changes to Action Fraud – This is the single biggest area of dissatisfaction with the public.
- SM agreed to raise this with APCC.
Action – SM to raise Action Fraud with the APCC to establish what is being done to improve the service.
- The Force saw a significant improvement in the use of positive outcomes in the last quarter and especially in September.
- Charge volumes overall increased but the us of Out of Court Disposals continues to drive the improvements.
- Whilst workloads have remained high across the two LPAs there are signs of stabilisation.
- The quality of crime files is improving but remains poor overall.
- The Chief Constable is introducing a ‘Centre of Excellence’ to drive improvements and reduce workloads on Response.
- PDR processes are being improved to support and manage officers who continually submit poor case files along with Sergeants who are signing off poor quality files.
The Commissioner received a comprehensive briefing on a wide range of performance issues from the Chief Constable.
The Commissioner recognised the improvements that were being made in some areas but challenged the Force about the pace of progress in others.
The Commissioner will write to the Chief Constable with regard to some of the Forces ‘Matter of priority’ targets set by and agreed with the Chief Constable for 2021/2022.
In terms of ‘Response times’ the Commissioner reiterated that where a target or measure had been agreed and was not being met, there was a need for a greater understanding of this, to be able to explain this should he be asked to do so.
4. Deployable Workforce
Over recent years Northamptonshire Police has benefitted in significant growth in Police Officer numbers both through PFCC local precept arrangements and via the national uplift programme. The Commissioner wishes to ensure best value is being achieved through these additional investments.
As such, the Commissioner requires a report highlighting the establishment and strength in relation to police officer numbers. The report should demonstrate in detail not only these numbers, but also the breakdown of those that are on recuperative and restricted duties and the number of resources that are available for the full duties of a police officer. The report should differentiate between these categorisations and make it clear what progress is being made to maximise the numbers of police officers deployable in the full role of a Police Officer.
- Assistant Chief Officer Paul Bullen provided an overview.
- An updated paper with revised numbers was provided.
- There are currently 260 restricted officers however it should be noted that this does not mean they are deployable. Assurance was provided that there were not roles being created for unfit officers.
- The term Restricted covers maternity leave seconded out of Force and those recovering from injury or illness.
- It also includes 66 non independent officers who will still be doing a police officer role but under the supervision of a tutor constable.
- There was a discussion about the current HR systems and processes that capture officer establishment and deployability.
- Understanding of the true strength of the workforce has been hampered previously by recording systems and reporting capability.
- Paul Bullen confirmed the new HR system will separate these out and provide better information. (Implementation expected 1 April 2022).
- This will be a minimum viable product with a plan to improve it as move forward. However, it is still comparable with what we currently have.
- Another improvement is that restricted officers are no longer managed within HR and remain the responsibility of the respective command team to supervise and review.
- The Commissioner said it would be helpful to have a subset of the data provided to see how many officers are under short-term versus long-term restriction.
- There was a discussion about Ill health retirement which is managed by the Chief Constable.
- There was a discussion about how the Force was managing officers who are genuinely not performing.
- There was a discussion about improvements to the PDR process
- The Chief Constable is also reviewing the training for Sergeants – this is to lay the foundation that will enable the Force to perform better in the longer term.
- There was a discussion on continuous professional development and changes to pay progression – do the Force fully understand the implications and have processes to ensure it is fair and ethical
Action – The Commissioner thanked Paul for the overview on deployability but asked if the ‘Strength FTE’ numbers in the table provided could be checked and confirmed.
The Commissioner was assured that officers on restricted duties were being appropriately tasked with other policing duties. He was pleased to see that local Commanders were taking responsibility for the effective use of restricted officers rather than HR department staff.
He was further assured that whilst there was more work to do, the Force had, and were implementing better and more robust procedures to identify and regularly review the status of such staff.
5. Fleet Accidents
Fleet accident data as reported on the Force Intranet have increased over the past twelve months. The Commissioner requires a report outlining the numbers and rise in fleet accidents and damages over this period of time but focuses on what the Force understanding is of the reasons for accidents and what action is being taken to reduce these given the potential effects on budgets.
- Assistant Chief Officer Paul Bullen provided an overview.
- Accident data has been recorded for a number of years however with the appointment of Lem Freezer as the Head of Joint Transport & Logistics this information is now in a trackable format that allows for root cause analysis and comparisons.
- Whilst vehicle accidents have been increasing, the Force is now taking a much more robust approach to reduce them including improved awareness/communication, better use of technology including telematics, targeted training and the introduction of an accident panel.
- Since the introduction of telematics the Force is seeing a change in driver behaviour and where issues have been identified, these are being addressed via the Driver Training school.
- There was a discussion about optimistic bias – looking at driver mindset.
- In addition, the Force has a young workforce particularly in Response which adds another level of complexity.
- There was a discussion about vandalism to vehicles when they are parked and unattended.
- It was agreed that there is an opportunity to prosecute those who commit deliberate damage to police vehicles and send a message that it will not be tolerated.
- Most accidents occur when on a blue light run so there is also an opportunity to educate the public on what to do when an emergency vehicle approaches.
- The Commissioner reiterated his ambition for the Enabling Services function to recruit the best talent possible and it was clear from the quality of the paper, and the professional approach being taken to manage fleet accidents that Lem has introduced processes that are far more effective at monitoring this area of the business and is using the data available to the Force to drive improvements.
The Commissioner thanked ACO Bullen and the Joint Fleet and Logistics manager for the enhanced use of data, that had led to a much more focused and improved understanding of the use of the fleet, as well as accident data and information.
While the data showed some areas of concern, changes were in train that improved safety of staff and the public, as well as reducing costs and creating greater capacity within the Force fleet.
The improved use of data was welcomed
- No further business was raised.