Policing is an increasingly regulated public service and the overarching responsibility for governance is set out in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011. The legislative framework is complemented by the Policing Protocol 2011 (which came into force in January 2012) and covers the scope of the Act and the specific responsibilities of the key stakeholders including both the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and the Chief Constable. Amongst those responsibilities the protocol states the PCC should: ‘scrutinise, support and challenge the overall performance of the Force’ and the utilisation of His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service (HMICFRS) inspections and other audits, and reviews of the force enables the PCC to monitor specific areas of the force that are third party under scrutiny.
Aims of the report
This report will record the key detail of the latest or ongoing inspections, audits or other reviews that have taken place during the period August 2022 to October 2022.
His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service (HMICFRS)
The role of HMICFRS is to inspect and report on the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces and specified national police agencies. HMICFRS’s overall objective is to provide, independent and professional assessments of police efficiency, effectiveness and legitimacy for the public, their elected representatives, and the police.
Further detail on the reports and recommendations referenced in section three of this report can be found on the HMICFRS website. The progress of recommendations is monitored through established governance and scrutiny processes with regular updates provided to the Deputy Chief Constable. Formal closure of recommendations is undertaken by the force’s HMICFRS Force Liaison Lead.
HMICFRS Publication – Police Response to Burglary, Robbery and Serious Acquisitive Crime
On 11 August 2022, HMICFRS published a PEEL spotlight entitled ‘Finding time for crime: The police response to burglary, robbery and other acquisitive crime’. The report drew evidence from several sources including PEEL inspections concluded up to April 2022 (this would have included Kent), other HMICFRS publications, Force Management Statements, and published data.
HMICFRS stated the focus on serious acquisitive crime (SAC) through the Beating Crime Plan provides a national objective for forces to work towards. To support this SAC needs to be seen as a priority within forces which they believed was lacking.
HMICFRS define SAC as domestic burglary, personal robbery, theft of and from a motor vehicle and theft from person. This differs from the force definition of SAC which does not include theft of and from a motor vehicle or theft from person as there is little or no ‘threat, risk or harm’. The Kent Control Strategy includes high harm crime including burglary dwelling.
HMICFRS found some areas of good and innovative practice however they were concerned that investigations and prevention activity required improvement.
The report provides two recommendations for Chief Constables aimed at ensuring compliance with Authorised Professional Practice and improved supervision of investigations. These will be reviewed to ensure the force is compliant.
HMICFRS Publication – Inspection of Vetting, Misconduct and Misogyny in the Police Service
The publication of the HMICFRS inspection of vetting management, misconduct handling and misogyny within the police service on the 2 November 2022 has been included within this paper, albeit outside of the reporting period, due to the significance of the report on policing and public confidence.
The inspection was commissioned by the Home Office following the murder of Sarah Everard in March 2021 and was conducted in October of the same year. The purpose of the thematic inspection was to provide an assessment of current vetting and counter- corruption capacity and capability in policing across England & Wales – to include forces’ ability to detect and deal with misogynistic and predatory behaviour. Kent Police were one of the eight forces chosen for inspection.
Following reviews of police vetting files, HMICFRS found too many cases where people should not have been allowed to join the police, including officers with criminal records or links to organised crime. Inspectors found examples of police officers transferring between forces despite a history of concerning intelligence, complaints or misconduct allegations. HMICFRS concluded that a culture of misogyny, sexism and predatory behaviour towards female police officers, staff and members of the public still exists and is prevalent in many forces.
HMICFRS made 43 recommendations and five areas for improvement. Twenty-nine of the recommendations and the five areas for improvement are for Chief Constables. In addition to the thematic report, HMICFRS will soon publish the findings of the ‘effectiveness of vetting and counter corruption arrangements within Kent Police’. HMICFRS conducted this inspection of Kent between 31 January and 11 February 2022 and examined the effectiveness of the force’s response to vetting, IT monitoring and counter-corruption. Senior officers in the force were briefed at the end of the inspection. This report is due to be published mid-November 2022 therefore a full review of both the thematic and Kent report will be undertaken to ensure the force is compliant in all areas detailed. A full update will be provided at the next PCC Performance and Delivery Board.
PEEL 2021/22 - Update
Following the publication of the Kent PEEL 2021/22 inspection findings on the 28 April 2022 progress against the areas for improvement has been overseen by Chief Officers and their respective business leads.
The PCC held a bespoke Performance and Delivery Board on Monday 31 October 2022 specifically focused on PEEL improvements. The Chief Constable provided a full update on progress being made by the force in respect of the PEEL areas for improvement. This update along with the supporting presentation remains current therefore is not duplicated herewith.
Governance of progress continues to be overseen by the Force Improvement Board chaired by the Deputy Chief Constable. After each Force Improvement Board an update is provided to the Chief Constable on the progress being made. In October 2022, the Chief Constable held an extraordinary PEEL Oversight Board where action owners provided an update on progress,
evidence, improvements and outcomes; a further meeting of this nature will be held again in January 2023.
Internal and External Audit Functions.
Due to delays in procurement process, the Internal Audit Plan for 2022/23 wasn’t agreed until September 2022. The table below shows the outline plan agreed with management and the Joint Audit Committee in September 2022.
Off payroll workers follow up (joint)
ESMCP – financial impact (joint)
Health & safety
Secondary employment and business interests
Overtime and acting/temporary ranks / Expenses and allowances
Budget build and pay forecasting
Delivery of capital programme
IT audit (joint)
There are also 2 remaining audits from 21/22, Payroll and Counter Fraud Framework Review which are in the draft report stage.
Audit actions and progress are reported at the Joint Audit Committee. Actions signed off between the previous JAC and the latest one (September 22) are highlighted below. Overall, good progress is being made on audit actions and where actions are overdue, plans are in place to address this.
Review of tax policies and processes
Pensions and Ill Health Retirement
Estates Strategy – Operation Zenith
Estates Strategy – Operation Zenith
Pensions and Ill Health Retirement (Joint)
Independent Review of Tax Policies and Procedures
The external audit for 21/22 has been completed and without any adjustments to the accounts. These are published on both the force and the PCC website. In doing so, we are one of the first forces in the country to do so and full credit goes to the team for achieving this.
The force welcomes and benefits from varying levels of scrutiny and governance. It will continue to strive for further improvements as part of the integrated PEEL assessments. This demonstrates the Force commitment and drive to provide the very best service to victims, witnesses and the people of Kent. The extensive programme of internal inspections also reflects the Force’s commitment to provide a quality service across all of the business.