HMICFRS Concludes that Cleveland Police is ‘Good’ at Keeping People Safe and Reducing Crime

A HMICFRS report has concluded that Cleveland Police is ‘good’ at keeping people safe and reducing crime.

The 2017 Peel: Police Effectiveness report focussed on areas of policing where risk to the public was most acute including preventing crime and tackling antisocial behaviour, protecting vulnerable people and specialist capabilities.

Since the last HMICFRS inspection in 2016, the regulator concluded that the Force:

• Has made progress in all areas inspected.

• Has strengthened its approach to neighbourhood policing and prioritised and invested in preventing crime through neighbourhood policing, making crime prevention one of its priorities and investing in neighbourhood policing by recruiting crime prevention co-ordinators and schools’ liaison PCSOs to help with prevention and early intervention.  

• Has responded well to people vulnerable through their age, disability, or repeat victims of offences such as abuse.

• Has a good understanding of its communities and what matters to local people influences its identification of threat, risk and harm.

• Is good at tackling crime and antisocial behaviour with partner organisations.

• Uses evidence of good practice and reviews the effect of its activity on a case-by-case basis.

• Answers calls promptly, treats victims with empathy and ensures their immediate safeguarding needs are addressed.

• Works well with partner organisations to support vulnerable people with mental health problems.

It also found, however, that the force needs to take further action to ensure that vulnerable people consistently receive an effective service. This includes raising the quality of risk assessments, referring domestic abuse cases to a multi-agency risk assessment conference appropriately and in a timely manner and managing effectively the risks posed by registered sex offenders.

Assistant Chief Constable Jason Harwin said: “I am pleased that the improvements that have been made in the Force since the last HMICFRS effectiveness inspection in 2016 have been recognised, however, we are not complacent and we do recognise that there are improvements to be made around the way that we protect vulnerable people. Those improvements are already beginning to happen.

“Members of the public can take from this report that we are identifying threat, risk and harm to keep them safe and that we are tackling antisocial behaviour and crime, which are ultimately the main aims that we have as police officers.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, said: “I am delighted that in the national overview Her Majesty’s Inspectorate has chosen to highlight Cleveland Police in recognition of the investment made in neighbourhood policing and our intervention strategy within local schools and neighbourhoods to prevent future crime.*

“The Force has faced an incredibly tough few years in which Government funding has been cut by one third and the number of officers available to the Chief Constable has been reduced by 500.

“It is, therefore, very pleasing that the independent watchdog, whilst acknowledging the strain Forces are operating under, has recognised the efforts made by Cleveland officers and staff of all ranks and has concluded that overall the Force delivers a “good” service to the public.

“As well as our work in local communities, the Inspectorate also highlights the effective use of the PCC and Force websites, social media platforms and “pop-up” stalls to engage with the public and prevent crime.

“The new Chief Constable and I have a shared determination to protect neighbourhood policing and that will continue.

“There are areas for improvement, particularly in our approach to protecting vulnerable people and supporting victims. HMICFRS recognises that financial cuts have made an impact in this area.  I know work is already well underway and the Force is committed to making the changes required, as Commissioner I shall hold the force to account on this.

“It is pleasing that the Inspectorate notes the progress we have already made in these areas and that an issue flagged up in last year’s report, concerning missing children, has been successfully addressed. That is clear evidence of the determination this organisation has to address issues and move on.

“I would call on anyone who has the best interests of Cleveland, the Force and the public it serves to read this report and the national overview in full and to acknowledge Cleveland is a good force, and a force striving to become even better.”

*P36 national overview
Good forces tend to allow staff to concentrate on their prevention work and do not often assign them to other duties. They understand their communities well, and take a co-ordinated, long-term approach to problem solving. Leaders hold neighbourhood officers and staff to account for results, and monitor performance regularly. High performing forces regularly assess risks and tensions in communities. They exploit opportunities to prevent crime by deploying officers and staff equipped with the right skills and powers to help the public and prevent crime.
For example, Cleveland Police has made crime prevention one of its three priorities. Police officers and PCSOs working in neighbourhood policing teams receive the training, guidance and support they need to get involved with communities, solve problems together with partner organisations, and prevent crime. Neighbourhood officers are not deployed away from their communities often, and PCSOs are never diverted from their main tasks. The force’s investment in neighbourhood policing includes recruiting crime prevention co-ordinators and schools’ liaison PCSOs to help with prevention and early intervention.