Annual report 2021 - 2022
Introduction from your Police and Crime Commissioner
In common with previous years, I have once again been honoured to hold the post of Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner for 2021 - 2022 which has been a mix of challenges and successes.
Though the year saw the extreme consequences of Covid-19 and lockdown begin to ease the damage left in its wake was felt by everyone – not least the police service.
Absence and sickness through the pandemic have left officers drained and now facing a growth in crime and callouts as the world finally emerged from isolation and began to return to normality.
Firstly, I want to pay tribute to the amazing dedication and commitment of all the Lincolnshire Police family as they meet these challenges with stoicism, professionalism and hard work.
But the year has also seen some notable successes of which I am immensely proud. I was delighted to preside over one of the largest recruitments of new officers in years, worked with the new Chief Constable to create a series of new specialist units to combat crime and keep our communities safe, and devoted time and money to improving and developing the services we offer to victims.
Throughout my time in the post of PCC I have had cause to remember the quote from a successful US businessman, banker and investment broker who said of change “there is no one giant step that does it, it's a lot of little steps” (Peter A. Cohen).
One of the most pleasing aspects of 2021/22 is to see the seeds of change planted over the last few years blossom into new developments delivering lasting change and impacting directly on the communities I serve.
As far back as 2017 I launched a county-wide Road Safety Summit drawing experts from all over the UK to debate with local partners how we might tackle the issue of deaths and accidents on our roads.
In 2021/22 many of the ideas that first emerged at that conference are now bearing fruit. I was able to provide funding for the launch of a dedicated Roads Policing Team and the creation of Operation Snap, which allows the public to upload dashcam footage of dangerous driving.
The force is now handling more than 100 video submissions a month which have already led to 256 offences being processed and 314 warning letters sent to drivers.
In a similar vein back in 2019 I brought together partners to discuss the growing problem of fly-tipping blighting our county.
This led directly to the creation of The Lincolnshire Environmental Crime Partnership – which is already making huge strides forward in tackling the issue. The partners have now signed an information sharing agreement to share intelligence relating to fly-tipping – the first such agreement in England and collaborated in Operation Clean Sweep which has seized vehicles, intercepted rubbish on route to our communities and handed out fines.
These are just two examples of projects that may have taken time to envisage, implement and fund but are now delivering real and lasting improvements.
While the coming year sees the implementation of major and swift changes in the policing services provided – not least the end of the G4S contract and the integration back into Lincolnshire Police - I will always recognise that the path to success can often be a long and winding one.
I will continue to plant the seeds – many of them outlined in the annual report – with confidence that they will blossom into actions that improve the lives of our people and the safety of our communities.
Community safety and prevention in partnership
I plan to bring all partners together to work to reduce crime. This includes councils, health services, probation, voluntary and community organisations, the public and the courts. Public money is always precious and the more we do together the safer we all will be. Prevention is critical to success. Spending time and money after a crime is committed and harm has been done is less effective than working to stop crime through good prevention. We need to focus on those crimes and offenders that cause the most harm and reduce their impact.
Lincolnshire Women's Strategy
The PCC has collaborated with the Safer Lincolnshire Partnership and other key partners to create a strategy designed to support women and girls at risk of, or already caught up in, the justice system. The document was developed after interviews with women who, themselves had experience of the system.
A concordat committing to “work together to improve outcomes for Lincolnshire women and girls at risk of entering, or who have already entered, the criminal justice sector” has already been signed by 22 agencies and work is on-going to develop the services they need, at the times in their lives when those services will have the biggest impact.
The PCC funded the Twinning Project, a programme designed to deliver football-based programmes into Lincoln Prison to improve the skills and employability of prisoners whilst simultaneously improving their mental health, physical health and all-round wellbeing. This will enable prisoners to obtain a qualification which will help improve their life chances and ultimately help them gain employment upon release – reducing the likelihood of reoffending. The programmes are delivered over a period of 6 – 12 weeks and will be offered to three cohorts of 16 individuals over the year (48 in total).
Safer Streets fund – Lincoln and Ingoldmells
The PCC has played a key role, alongside partners from across the county, in securing three successful bids for Safer Streets funding totalling nearly £750,000. The two projects in Ingoldmells and Lincoln involve the extension and upgrading of CCTV, enhanced security lighting, education and harnessing new technology to keep communities safe. The two successful bids bring the total additional money secured for Lincolnshire to almost £1million after a successful bid in Gainsborough in 2020.
The Lincolnshire Environmental Crime Partnership
The Lincolnshire Environmental Crime Partnership was first established in the Autumn of 2020 following a summit held by the PCC to address fly-tipping. The partners have now signed an information sharing agreement to share intelligence relating to fly-tipping – the first such agreement in England. The partners have supported the launch of Operation Asgard to seize offenders vehicles and collaborated in Operation Clean Sweep designed to disrupt and intervene against waste crime.
The IAM Lincolnshire and PCC Young Driver Project
The project was launched in 2019 as a project to help improve the motoring skills of young drivers. The PCC provided funding for 50 drivers under 25 to take an advanced driving course free of charge but the offer attracted nearly double the number of applicants so the PCC agreed to extend the offer into the following year.
As a result of significant disruption caused by Covid, the project was not fully completed until last year but all the original young drivers taken on in November 2019 have now completed their courses. Since the project launched 39 young drivers have passed their Advanced Driver Course (14 of whom achieved a F1RST) and two young drivers have become observers.
Supporting victims of sexual assault
The PCC secured £65,000 to put in place fast track counselling sessions for adult victims and survivors of sexual violence who have attended the Sexual Assault Referral Centre. In addition, the PCC supported a successful bid for £16,000 to deliver dedicated counselling for male victims of sexual violence.
New Safer Together Team
The newly established Safer Together Team have been distributing key community safety, crime prevention and campaign messages through the Lincolnshire Alert system as well as providing face to face information to local communities. A range of community projects are being supported, including Good Neighbour Schemes around the county. The team are currently developing local models for engaging young people which will launch in Summer 2022.
With financial support from the PCC, Lincolnshire Police launched a new initiative, called Mutual Gain, designed to give communities in Lincolnshire the support they need to make a difference. The project involved four World Café events - held at Sutton Bridge, Sleaford, Skegness, and South West Ward, Gainsborough – to bring people together to discuss their needs, concerns, and opportunities for change. Feedback from the sessions has been collated and analysed and the next steps are now being considered.
Joint Diversionary Panel
Lincolnshire Youth Offending Service worked with Lincolnshire Police to develop a new way of responding to young people who come to the attention of the police as a result of their behaviour and in September 2017 they launched the Joint Diversionary Panel (JDP) as a way of dealing with some incidents without needing to go to court.
The PCC funded an evaluation of the initiative, carried out by the University of Lincoln, and the report was released in April 2021. The overall findings concluded that the JDP provided “a robust and effective process for making informed decisions about young people in conflict with the law, which prevents their unnecessary criminalisation; and diverts them into supportive and preventative interventions”.
Listening, Responding and Being Accountable
Everyone deserves a say in what we do and I will listen and respond to voices across the county and will engage with all communities. I have given the Deputy PCC a specific remit to challenge and support on engagement and rural community safety. I will use my role to hold partners as well as the police to account for what they do so that all public money is used wisely to provide effective, responsive services that are not a one size fits all solution. I understand that difficult choices will need to be made and I know that I am directly accountable to the people of Lincolnshire.
Public opinion survey
The OPCC has, as in previous years, carried out a statistically robust research project to investigate the views and opinions of residents from across Lincolnshire.
The survey was launched in December 2021 and participants were able to complete the survey online; in addition, paper versions of the survey were distributed by the Safer Together Team and some face-to-face interviews were conducted.
For the first time participants were given the option to complete the survey in one of five alternative languages to English and the survey used an ‘accessibility’ design format in an effort to make it accessible to all.
Once again, the number of people completing the comprehensive survey has topped 3,000. The results of the research have always played a significant role in guiding decisions made about policing priorities across the county and
have helped the PCC form his proposals on Council Tax levels every year.
The PCC continues to make accessibility a priority and during lockdown has continued to engage with many individuals, organisations and groups who are dedicated to making their communities better places to live. During 2021/22 he participated in almost 400 meetings and events both in person and virtually.
Over the course of 2021/22 the OPCC has received just under 2,300 pieces of correspondence (excluding routine correspondence from policing bodies), and 26 Freedom of Information requests. In addition, the PCC is an avid user of social media which is used to enhance public visibility and reach. For example, the PCC has published more than 11,000 tweets and attracted almost 7,800 ‘followers’ since taking office in May 2016.
A great deal of the work undertaken by OPCC is actually devoted to the “crime” element of the title rather than the “police” element.
In that capacity there is an enormous amount of work that goes on to seek, establish and improve partnerships with other agencies and organisations to ensure the public sector provides the most effective and efficient services for our communities possible.
The PCC and the OPCC team are engaged with, and sit on boards for, a wide range of organisations such as Safer Lincolnshire Partnership, National Rural Crime Network, child protection agencies, various health and wellbeing boards – each designed to help deliver joined up services for the residents of the county.
Public Assurance Meetings (PAM)
The PCC holds regular meetings with the Chief Constable to review police performance and in 2019 took the decision to open the meetings to the public – to provide the opportunity for residents to be well informed and ask questions about the performance of their police force.
To comply with lockdown rules the PAM meetings have been moved online but this format is still enabling residents to access regular data on police performance, statistics on crime, police response, demand, how quickly the force processes cases and their outcomes. The meeting is recorded and all papers and the video recording are made available on the PCC website.
Youth commission on Police, Crime and Community Safety
A ground-breaking project was launched in 2020 to ensure young people have a voice in how Lincolnshire is policed. The county’s first ever Youth Commission was established to enable young people aged 14 to 25 to be consulted on policing, crime and community safety issues.
In March 2022, the Commission held a 'Big Conversation' conference in Lincoln, presenting to a range of professionals from the OPCC, Lincolnshire Police and other partner agencies. Youth Commission members presented their key findings from over 1,300 conversations with young people across Lincolnshire. Within their presentation, members provided recommendations to the PCC, Lincolnshire Police and key partners.
The Commission was nominated by the High Sheriff of Lincolnshire for the National Crimebeat Award 2022.
Lincolnshire Independent Custody Visiting Scheme
Police and Crime Commissioners have a statutory duty to run an independent custody visiting scheme, in which local members of the public volunteer to serve
as Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) making regular, unannounced visits to police custody suites to check on the rights, entitlements and wellbeing of detainees as well as the conditions they are held in.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, physical visits to custody suites were suspended in March 2020 to ensure the safety of volunteers and to minimise the spread of the virus.
A new procedure was developed in conjunction with Lincolnshire Police to enable our ICVs to conduct visits remotely by interviewing detained persons using telephone handsets and ensuring the continued oversight of this important area
of business. The scheme continues to adapt to the changing landscape, aiming to learn from the experience and ultimately use it to improve our policies and procedures.
A total of 140 remote visits have been scheduled for 2020-21 with 85 custody visits having been successfully completed by the end of January 2021. Just over 80% of persons detained in police custody who were available at the time a remote visit was conducted, gave their consent to speak to an ICV.
Representing Lincolnshire on the national stage
The PCC has been elected as the chair of the national Association of Police and Crime Commissioners for the next two years – the first PCC to be elected for more than a single year. The role involves representing all Police and Crime Commissioners in discussions with national organisations and Government for the next two years and will ensure that the issues important to Lincolnshire are voiced at a national level.
The PCC's new Police and Crime Plan
The new Police and Crime Plan was developed in consultation with a range of partners across and the county and launched in 2021.
The key principles of the plan are:
- Community safety and prevention in partnership
- Listening, responding and being accountable
- Protecting and supporting victims and the vulnerable
- Policing that works
Informing the public how council tax is spent
Every year the PCC publishes information on how the extra council tax raised through the precept will be invested in front line policing and community safety. Last Spring, for the first time in Lincolnshire, members of the public received this information in hard copy along with their council tax bills for 2020/21. This ensures that the information is available to all and is an approach which will be
adopted this year and in future years.
Protecting and Supporting Victims and the Vulnerable
No one chooses or wants to be a victim of crime. If you are a victim I will work with other agencies to ensure the best possible service is available to help you cope and to recover from the experience and work with partners in the criminal justice system to meet your needs. The court system should deliver timely justice and support those affected by crime so trust grows and they know that the criminal justice system is on their side. All involved must work together to ensure that those who are more vulnerable to crime are identified and helped to prevent them from becoming victims in the first place.
Tackling fraud and scams
The PCC and the Force have committed to funding a Fraud Prevent and Protect co-ordinator for a further two years until 2024. A pilot fraud engagement session was held in Hogsthorpe in response to a request from the local community and was such a success that plans are being developed to roll-out similar sessions across the county. The Safer Together Team have successfully completed their Friends Against Scams training and continue to raise awareness of new types of scams through their public engagements and through the Lincolnshire Alert system.
The OPCC is an active member of the Fraud Core Priority Group of the Safer Lincolnshire Partnership and this group has now commenced work on evaluating the impact of “no cold call” zones.
Violence Reduction Unit
To support the development of a Lincolnshire Violence Reduction Programme, the PCC has commissioned Lincolnshire County Council Public Health to undertake a needs assessment and evidence review. This intelligence gathering will then inform the development of a three-year Violence Reduction Strategy for Lincolnshire that underpins an early intervention and prevention programme that works.
Enhanced Digital Forensic Unit
With financial support from the PCC, the Force has agreed to increase the officer numbers dedicated to tackling digital and on-line crime, with more officers joining the Digital Forensic Unit to tackle the increased use of digital technology by criminals.
Child sexual abuse pathway
Lincolnshire was selected as one of three pilot areas to test implementation of a newly developed child sexual abuse pathway- a resource that aims to help multi-agency professionals to identify and navigate the actions they can and should take, and the interventions they can provide, to effectively identify and respond to a child’s safeguarding needs when there are concerns of child sexual abuse. A new Service Delivery Manager has been recruited to promote effective working relationships between all partners, professional groups and voluntary organisations.
Additional covid funding
During the Covid-19 pandemic the OPCC was successful in securing an additional £555,000 of funding to support services helping victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence.
Policing That Works
Effective enforcement, help and assistance when you need it are critical to policing that works. I will hold the Chief Constable to account for the services he provides and ensure he continues to innovate and transform the service and gives the frontline officers the ‘right tools for the job’” to respond to the diverse needs of our communities. The welfare of Lincolnshire Police officers and staff is a key concern for me and a continued and meaningful focus must be maintained to ensure the wellbeing, resilience and reputation of the Force. I will continue to fight for a sustainable future for Lincolnshire Police to ensure we have the money to support effective policing and crime prevention in this county.
Appointment of a new Chief Constable
In January of 2021 new Chief Constable Chris Haward joined the force after an exhaustive recruitment process. The new chief moved from his previous role as head of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU) where he has led on Major Crime Investigations, tackling Serious and Organised Crime, covert policing and Counter Terrorism. In his time at EMSOU – the largest police collaboration in the UK – the unit saw an increase in operations completed, arrests made and convictions secured.
Creation of a dedicated Roads Policing Team
A dedicated Roads Policing Team was established in May 2021 and by the Spring will comprise of 18 Constables and two Sergeants who will provide pro-active capacity to help reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads, deter criminal use of the roads and support local policing response. We continue to work closely with the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership (LRSP) in the areas of enforcement and prevention.
Rural Crime Action Team
The new specialist enforcement team was established and consists of a team of seven officers tasked with tackling crimes such as drug offences, specialist rural equipment thefts, theft of lead from our historic churches and illegal hunting and hare coursing. The team will be linked to and support our existing Neighbourhood Teams and provide a greater and more flexible capability to support local problems, with capacity to investigate the wider criminality of travelling criminals as well as providing reassurance and confidence to our rural
Tasers and firearms response teams
During the year more officers were provided with tasers and the number of firearms response teams increased to better respond to serious incidents that pose the highest risks to our communities. The number of officers currently trained in taser is 275 in total compared to around 220 in 2019. Three new Taser trainers took up post in the Spring and this will enable the Force to boost the number of officers trained to carry Taser to 350 by October 2022.
Single Online Home
Single Online Home (SOH) offers the people of Lincolnshire an easy-to-use, digital contact service where they can communicate effectively with their local police. It enables the public to carry out a range of tasks, from reporting incidents to finding crime in their local area. Additionally, it allows the public to report via an online channel thus diverting demand away from 101, helping the Force to meet priority and urgent demand. The first phase of SOH went live on 8th December 2021.
New body worn cameras
In the summer new personal issue body worn cameras started being deployed to Response, Neighbourhood Policing Teams and Armed Response with pool devices available for others. The Axon Body 3 Camera represents significant investment and comes with improved functionality, such as the ability to share the footage by secure link to the CPS. The video cameras automatically activate when Taser is drawn and have automated activation when the warning equipment is used in the cars.
Lincolnshire was the National Policing Lead for Hare Coursing, and long-term work was focussed on legislation change. This is starting to make real progress. For example, the Government announced the Animal Welfare Action Plan on 12 May, which includes “introducing new laws to crack down on illegal hare coursing”. This is a direct result of the work the OPCC and partners have been involved in for the past two years, and a key step forward.
In July the Force hosted a meeting at Grantham between the 20 Forces tackling hare coursing through Operation Galileo to coordinate action against the key offenders across the country for the 2021/22 Season.
New Skegness training centre
The PCC, alongside Lincolnshire Police, invested in a new officer training centre on the East Coast after securing £1.3m in additional funding from the Government. The transformation of the former Skegness Magistrates Court into a state-of-the-art training and conferencing centre for Lincolnshire Police means new recruits will no longer have to travel to Lincoln for training and it will help recruit and retain local officers. In addition, officers will spend less time travelling and more time in communities and Skegness will benefit from seeing recruits across the town providing even more visible uniformed presence.
Increase in officer numbers
Taking advantage of the Government’s Uplift Programme and as a result of prudent financial planning, the PCC was able to fund the recruitment of an additional 120 officers by March this year – with a further 67 planned for 2022.
HMICFRS reports 2021 - 2022