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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 alcohol-
related 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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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 non-
emergency); 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.

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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 citizen-


focused 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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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.

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