Members to receive an update of the performance exceptions of Leicestershire Police for Quarter 2 20/21 (1 July 2020 to 30 September 2020).
Members will be asked to comment on the recommendations for further analysis based on exceptions and to note the contents of the report.
The Police and Crime Panel considered a report of the Police and Crime Commissioner which provided an update on the performance of the Leicestershire Police for Quarter 2 20/21 (1 July 2020 to 30 September 2020).
The Chair encouraged the Panel to ask strategic questions rather than get drawn into operational matters.
Lord Bach introduced the report noting that the report had also been before the OPCC Strategic Assurance Board at their meeting yesterday although there were no verbal updates from that discussion at this stage.
Paul Hindson outlined details from the report and advised members about the parameters for variations in performance, explained the drivers such as Crime Data and Integrity as well as the core rationale that have changed the recording methodology that sits behind the performance exception data.
It was noted that since the full introduction of dedicated decision makers (back office) who scrutinise offences going through STORM and NICHE to ensure quality and integrity, this had led to around 800 additional reclassified offences per month which was reflected in the exceptions. Therefore, Leicestershire had seen an increase in some offences at more rapid rates than some similar forces with similar demographics. It was expected with higher level of compliance now at 95% to start seeing a plateau in figures in future reports.
During discussion the following points were also noted:
· Violence with Injury was still a concern, however in terms of regional comparison Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR) had 7.8 offences per 1000 population compared to Nottinghamshire (Notts) at 10.4 per 1000, so although increased there was a reasonable level of assurance that LLR aren’t an outlier.
· Regarding the pattern of rape cases, around April 2020 the figure was lower, the number of cases reported had since swung upwards around July, it was significant that reporting of historical rapes was also spiking at that same time however October figures showed some decline in rates again. There was supposition that the ease of lockdown restrictions around July 2020 had triggered reporting of more incidents and there was also a possibility of other drivers such as IICSA which may have encouraged a higher level of reporting together with a proactive campaign on domestic abuse.
· A high profile Hate Crime Campaign in early October with a lot of work prior to that on social media had seen an immediate response in terms of increase in the numbers of hate crimes being reported. It had been explored whether this was to do with lockdown or issues around lockdown but there did not seem to be any evidence to support that. It was anticipated this offence would see continued increase in reporting which was considered a positive as a lot of Hate Crime was believed to go unreported.
Members of the Panel discussed the content of the report and expressed their concerns and frustration that each time this report was presented it seemed the reporting mechanism had changed making it difficult to scrutinise and understand the underlying causes for certain offences, and whether that was attributed to incorrect recording or changes in behaviour.
Responding to comments about changing report mechanisms, it was advised that until last year there had been issues with correct recording/classification of offences and therefore this had to be improved, the introduction of dedicated decision makers had made a real difference in this area however that had impacted on the data in terms of how trends appeared. LLR Police were also required to record crime against set standards and when changes to those were introduced had no choice in compliance.
Regarding comments about underlying behaviour, this was being tested when OPCC/PCC talked with the police, although currently the best measure available was to compare to similar forces, this has been done by looking at prevalence by head of population. LLR were definitely not an outlier in those comparisons and through ongoing work there was better understanding of the drivers for the data, e.g. having established the Violence Reduction Network (VRN) police were working much more closely on what the drivers are, taking a much more preventative approach and looking at background factors that influence behaviour, not just dealing with end behaviour. The police appetite to engage with that has been good.
Lord Bach commented that it was difficult to say what was down to one factor or another, but they were trying to do that and although there was no clear answer yet, the way this information was presented had greatly improved.
It was reiterated that if a level of 95% compliance had been reached in terms of correct recording then unless there are other changes to reporting standards the OPCC should be able to say any further fluctuations in the trend/exceptions were down to behaviour rather than anything else. It was therefore expected to see some flatlining if rationale put forward today is true.
Officers agreed to provide an organisational chart showing offence categories and where each crime fit within those categories to assist Members of the Panel.
There followed a brief discussion around the impact of lockdown on the night-time economy, concern was expressed that despite closure of the night-time economy there was still being seen an increase in offending associated with that, and it was worrying what may happen when night-time economy resumes. It was suggested it would be worth exploring the fundamental shift in alcohol purchasing behaviour which could be contributory factor in results and increasing levels of domestic/safeguarding concerns.
It was noted that it could be seen that the overall number of dwelling house burglaries has over last few years begun to go down significantly from the high spots being seen in 2017/2018 and this was an area where numbers have genuinely decreased, and this includes aggravated burglaries. Officers agreed to provide a National comparative of the trend for burglaries.
1. That the contents of the report be noted,
2. That Officers provide an organisational chart showing offence categories and where each crime fit within those categories to Members of the Panel
3. That Officers provide a National comparative of the trends for burglaries to Members of the Panel.