Overview by Performance Area

Introduction
Each force is assessed in seven key performance areas: Reducing Crime, Investigating Crime, Promoting Safety, Providing Assistance, Citizen Focus, Resource Use and Local Policing (see Annex B for details). This section provides an overview of performance nationally in these seven areas.

Reducing Crime
The main crimes covered in this performance area are burglary, vehicle crime, robbery and violence. In the majority of police forces the risk of being a victim has decreased. Police forces have achieved very creditable results in reducing crime year on year, and this is reflected in the fact that well over half of the forces have improved, while no force’s performance has deteriorated. For the first time, the incidence of more serious (life-threatening) violent crime and use of guns is shown separately. This shows a small increase. Forces have made mixed progress in reducing repeat victimisation in the area of domestic violence. Good performance in reducing crime partly reflects the important work that forces do in partnership with local councils, health trusts and others. The Home Office Crime Reduction toolkits have been used extensively, while the Police Standards Unit has provided important support to reduce violent crime, especially with regard to alcohol-related offences. The Violent Crime Reduction Bill will reduce the availability of imitation firearms and give forces increased powers to tackle alcoholrelated offending.

Investigating Crime
Police forces prioritise crime reduction but it is obviously important that, when offences are committed, those responsible are brought to justice. This performance area covers the investigation of volume crimes such as burglary, plus major crimes such as murder, as well police forces’ efforts to tackle organised crime – notably people trafficking and criminal markets in drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Performance in catching and convicting burglars and car thieves has improved in about half of the forces and deteriorated in only a handful. The detection rate for murder is typically well above 90%, but forces vary in their success at disrupting organised criminal gangs. Smaller forces in particular often lack the specialist resources needed at this level of policing.

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Police Performance Assessments 2004/05

Overview by Performance Area

One factor in improving detection rates is the effective use of forensic techniques such as DNA analysis and there remains room for improvement in the take-up of specialist Home Office support. Another area where improvements can be made is in the administrative but necessary processes of getting quality case files ready for court.

Promoting Safety
For many people, perceptions of crime or the level of disorder matter more than recorded statistics. It is therefore vital that police forces provide reassurance through tactics such as high visibility patrols, as well as taking effective action against anti-social behaviour. Around two-thirds of forces were rated highly by HMIC in these areas but it must be recognised that police action, especially in respect of anti-social behaviour, needs to be supported by local councils, schools and parents. HMIC assessed three forces as delivering ‘excellent’ performance in these areas and made only one ‘poor’ rating; future assessments of anti-social behaviour will be more detailed and reflect the emphases given by the Government’s ‘Respect’ agenda. Finally, the casualty rate for the number of people killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions has seen a 9% reduction.

Providing Assistance
This performance area covers HMIC assessments in three key areas of police activity: dealing with calls from the public (999 and nonemergency); undertaking specialised operational duties (particularly where armed officers are deployed); and policing motorways and major trunk roads. There is also a performance indicator showing the proportion of police officers deployed to front-line duties. Call management is often the first contact between police and members of the public and is a vital component of a customer-focused service. Unfortunately, it is not well performed by many forces. Roads policing performance has improved, however, with five forces graded as ‘excellent’; this reflects an intelligence-led strategy to deny criminals the use of the roads. The police use of firearms is relatively rare but it is essential that all forces comply with the national code of practice; no force is failing in this area but work is needed to increase the number of officers able to take command of firearms incidents.

Police Performance Assessments 2004/05

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Overview by Performance Area

Citizen Focus
As well as achieving high standards in the technical aspects of operational policing, forces need to ensure they engage with their often diverse communities and tailor services accordingly. Two key activities are assessed here – the extent to which forces ensure equality and equity in the way they police different communities, and their success in providing policing services that meet the needs of users. Performance in both areas is generally good: across the country, 78% of those who contact the police services are satisfied with the service provided. Black and minority ethnic service users are slightly less satisfied but the national average of 71% satisfaction is creditable. The assessments reveal increased commitment to a more citizenfocused police service, with strong leadership allied to significant efforts to engage communities. Efforts are being made to tackle disproportionality, especially in stop and search where many ‘improved’ grades are seen, but more work is required to ensure fairness and equality for people of different ages and beliefs.

Resource Use
This performance area focuses on how well forces manage their resources – human, physical, financial and technical – to ensure that the organisation as a whole meets its objectives. It also addresses the critical areas of leadership, strategic management and performance management. Forces are assessed on the extent to which the staff profile reflects the local minority ethnic population and secures a gender balance. Other key personnel assessments consider sickness and the quality of staff training. In 2004/05, there was a major focus on race and diversity matters and recommendations from three major inquiries are now being considered. The service continues to progress the findings of the Bichard Inquiry report on sharing intelligence and information. Given the range and complexity of issues covered in this domain, it is not surprising that the assessment reveals a picture of mixed performance. Steady but rather slow progress is being made to increase minority ethnic and female representation, and there are considerable weaknesses in personnel management and training. Only three forces were assessed as having ‘excellent’ leadership but the overall standard of strategic management and performance management is high.

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Police Performance Assessments 2004/05

Overview by Performance Area

Local Policing
This performance area is designed to reflect local priorities for improvement which sit outside the national framework. A new method of assessing local performance is being introduced, based on setting stretching but realistic local targets, so for 2004/05 and 2005/06 an interim approach is used which focuses on confidence in, and the quality of, local policing. The key performance indicator used in this area is a BCS measure on the number of people who think that their local police do a good job. Results for 2004/05 indicate that this is 49% (up from 47% the previous year). The other component is HMIC’s assessment of neighbourhood policing. Although UK forces have traditionally invested in community styles of policing, neighbourhood policing has been developed as a particular model that emphasises engagement with communities through dedicated teams, employing problem-solving approaches. HMIC’s assessment found this to be the fifth weakest activity graded, undoubtedly reflecting the fact that the model is still in its infancy, although the majority of forces have made this a key priority for the forthcoming year.

Police Performance Assessments 2004/05

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