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Armed policing removed from PEEL and SOC to be assessed by region

PEEL reports for Merseyside, Suffolk and Dyfed-Powys have been published today following the three forces volunteering to take part in a pilot of the inspectorate’s new approach.

The PEEL assessment framework (PAF) was revised early in the 2021/22 PEEL cycle following feedback from routine evaluation and consultations. 

Changes have additionally been made after the pilot - the core questions have been adapted so that the strategic policing requirement and armed policing has been moved to a thematic approach and therefore will not be assessed through PEEL. 

Meanwhile, serious and organised crime will be reported on regionally and counter corruption/vetting/professional standards nationally - although in both cases individual force graded judgements will still be included in PEEL reports where available. 

It means that forces will see a number of changes in how they are graded and what evidence they need to submit from now on. 

Although today’s three forces took part in the pilot, they were given additional time to invite HMICFRS to revisit and review new evidence - which means they are not the first reports to be published under the new methodology. 

Five forces were assessed prior to the changes, but the new methodology will be applied to all remaining 38 forces. 

The adaptations mean they will now receive judgements on the core question level only, not at pillar level (for example ‘How effective is the force?’), while an extra tier ‘adequate’ has also been added to the judgement structure (Outstanding, good, adequate, requires improvement, inadequate). 

Other changes include an accelerated cause for concern process as well as the introduction of a victim service assessment which will consider the force’s interactions with victims from call handling through to the suitability of the outcome. Crime Data Integrity will be included as an element within this for each force every three years. 

Merseyside, one of the three pilot forces, was today praised by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, Matt Parr, for its overall good performance which included an ‘Outstanding’ judgement in disrupting serious and organised crime - a grade PCC Emily Spurrel has said only three of 18 forces have received so far. 

Although receiving a ‘good’ judgement in most other areas, the force needs to work on supporting victims the HMICFRS has said, in particular by recording why certain victims withdraw support for investigations as well as responding quicker to priority calls. 

CC Serena Kennedy has said she is “delighted” with the assessment, and highlighted that firearms discharges for the last financial year have been the lowest for more than 20 years. 

Suffolk, meanwhile, was found to have improved in many areas since its 2019 report - including ensuring staff have the time and ambition to provide “excellent crime investigations to victims”. Supervision of investigation nonetheless still needs work, as does ensuring officers taken relevant investigative opportunities. 

HMIC Roy Wilsher underlined that the force has been among the lowest-funded in the country - and specifically noted its effectiveness at managing funding and resources. 

The force ‘requires improvement’ in services to victims, and is ‘adequate’ at responding to the public, investigating crime and protecting vulnerable people. 

Dyfed-Powys has also been noted for its improvements - particulary in crime recording standards, an area for which the inspectorate had issued an accelerated cause of concern last year. 

Grades have increased for the force in four areas; victim service, crime data integrity, investigation of crime and managing of offenders. There has also been a stop search increase of 71 per cent across the last six months. 

CC Dr Richard Lewis said: “No one likes to hear that they should be doing better, especially an organisation whose primary function is to safeguard those that need us most.

“I'm delighted to say that the cause of concern has been written off after we've been able to evidence substantial improvements and in rapid time.

“Working like this with a continuous improvement mindset is a sustainable and sensible approach and has already borne significant fruit.”

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