Police Accountability Board Notes 7th January 2020

Office of Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime CommissionerNorthants Police Logo




7th January 2020


1. Welcome and introductions


Stephen Mold (SM)

Paul Fell (PF)

Paul Bullen (PB)

Helen King (HK)

Louise Sheridan (LS)


Nick Adderley (NA)

Pauline Sturman (PS)

Colleen Rattigan (CR)

Vaughan Ashcroft (VA) – Finance paper


Apologies were accepted from

Simon Nickless (SN), James Andronov (JA)


  • SM welcomed everyone to the meeting.


2. Minutes of previous meeting and action log

  • Minutes of previous meeting where circulated with the meeting papers. No changes have been requested
  • Outstanding actions from the Action Log have been updated


3. HMICFRS report on sexual predation

      • Following the thematic inspection and publication of HMICFRS’ report on sexual predation the Commissioner sought assurance from the force in relation to the recommendations referenced.
      • PS provided an overview of recommendations 1, 4 and 5 as these relate to the Force or the Chief Constable. 

      Recommendation 1: Vetting.

      • PS confirmed the vetting unit is fully compliant.
      • The Force has one AFI in relation to vetting for not having a data base. This has been corrected and the database came online in July 2019.
      • Vetting for critical roles is prioritised and the Force undertake renewal vetting for existing employees; MV every 7 years. NV every 10 years.
      • SM commended the Force for the work they have done in this area.


      Recommendation 4: How we record corruption 

      • PS confirmed that the Force record corruption in line with national requirements.
      • The Force rigorously investigates all aspects of corruption.
      • The annual Strategic Stress Assessment which highlights any organisational corruption or vulnerability will be published in April
      • A system known as “Bad apple” enables officers to report any concerns or suspicions anonymously.
      • Proactive preventative measures to ensure fairness and spurious complaints are reviewed to ensure people are protected.
      • All of these areas were identified as good when recently inspected by HMICFRS.


      Recommendation 5: Enough people with the right skills to look proactively for intelligence about those abusing their position for a sexual purpose (APSP)

      • PS confirmed abuse APSP is prioritised and reports of any alleged corruption using numerous methods to prove/disprove an allegation of corruption.
      • SM asked if the Force have enough resources in terms of both people and skill to undertake these investigations.
      • PS advised one percent of establishment should be in CUC.
      • Based on outcomes, PS is content that current systems and technical support is sufficient however as the organisation expands this needs to be kept under review.
      • PS has raised and will continue to monitor.
      • SM content that the Force has provided the right level of assurance that is required to meet all the recommendations and thanked PS and her team for their hard work.



4.  Budget Proposal

    • HK gave an overview on the draft budget report as follows:
      • The report was largely the same as the December budget report as the provisional settlement and precept levels had still not been advised.
      • The report was based on five scenarios – a £10 precept scenario had been added – all scenarios include an establishment of 1367 police officers by 31/3/21 and increasing in line with uplift thereafter.
      • All scenarios show a significant financial shortfall in 20/21 and future years.
      • The only changes since the previous report were to the taxbase (which had also changed since the report was produced) and the council tax surplus (which is almost £300K worse than estimated due to the timing of council taxbase notifications).
      • HK highlighted the following concerns from Force and PFCC S151 perspective:
      • Whilst there is underfunding in all scenarios, the forecast shortfall can be met from reserves for 20/21 and the budget will be balanced. However, after 2020/21, there are not sufficient levels of reserves to maintain police officer numbers at that level and meet the funding shortfalls within the current budget assumptions.
      • This position is not sustainable unless funding increases.
      • SM acknowledged this was a risk and the position would be reviewed when the settlement information was available.
      • Regional budgets are included at zero increase. However, if PCC’s and CC’s decision is to increase to include inflation and ICT recharges, then there will be a financial impact on the Force budget and it is requested that should this occur, SM increases the Force budget to reflect this.
      • SM asked for this risk to be quantified and this will be costed to enable SM and NA to consider the impact and address this in the budget letter as appropriate.
      • There was a discussion in relation to EMSOU funding. The PFCC was minded not to increase funding above and beyond pay and inflation increases until after the completion of a strategic review agreed by the five regional Chief Constables.
      • HK Highlighted that MFSS cost increase of £100K has been included although it is recognised that this is short of the 19/20 outturn.
      • There was recognition there may be extra costs required (to meet the efficiency saving and the lack of onboarding income).
      • SM and NA were clear that they do not wish to further fund MFSS but would be prepared to consider extra costs locally – if this is the case, it is requested that the Force budget needs increasing.
      • This was noted and there will be oversight of any such impact.
      • SM also highlighted that funding will need to be provided for the team to deliver alternative provision and this will be covered in the budget letter.
      • VA highlighted the Force budget requirement and particular note was made of the overtime efficiency saving of £300K and that this was after absorbing the additional Boxing Day Bank holiday costs in 2020/21. Therefore, the budget includes cost avoidance as well as efficiency savings.
      • The Force budget was approved in principle
      • SM confirmed meeting would take place in Feb to consider ICT and HR costs in more detail.
      • SM is not minded to allocate funding for ICT pressures until the meeting has taken place.
      • VA to update the information so that grants and other funding is not netted off from the operational position and is reflected separately.
      • SM voiced his concern around the contribution needed towards the £5.6 million cost of NPAS and asked NA to raise at the next Chiefs Council.

      Action – NA to raise cost of NPAS at next Chief’s Council Meeting

      • SM is not minded to underwrite the potential savings obtained this year from more effective deployment of NPAS locally until chief constables have had the discussion.
      • There was a discussion about funding that SM has set aside for Hep B Vaccinations and the poor take up of the offer from frontline officers
      • NA confirmed that new joiner packs are being updated and a comms piece has been planned to encourage officers to obtain the vaccination.
      • Reassurance was provided on police staff numbers. SM reiterated that he is keen to see the organogram that has been promised.
      • NA agreed to follow-up with HR to ensure SM has sight of this before the next meeting.


      Action – NA to ensure Barbara Barret sends the updated Force Organogram to SM

      • There was a discussion about the PCSO establishment. (81 FTEs and 12 sponsorship funded posts underwritten by the PFCC)
      • SM keen to point out that his underwriting will only be committed if the Force maintain its base establishment of 81 PCSO.
      • NA and SM to discuss profile in their 1-2-1 meeting
      • There was a discussion about the capital cost of the Emergency Service Network (ESN) hardware. SM sits on the ESN Board and will keep a watching brief.
      • The turning off of ‘Airwave’ is unlikely to happen in 2022 as per programme target. More likely to be sometime in 2023/24. Changeover date might be influenced due to issues with the Met (Notting Hill Carnival) and West Mid’s (Commonwealth Games) not wanting to switch to new systems mid major operation.
      • May raise an additional £2 million bill – likely to be debated further at the NPCC/APCC Summit in February.
      • SM approved the Force budget pending the settlement and thanked Vaughan, Helen and the Force for all their hard work in doing the budget process. He felt this had been the most effective one in his tenure.

5. A.O.B

    • 24 Hour crime recording data


      • NA provided a brief overview and confirmed HMICFRS are in Force this week. Will debate in more detail at the next Accountability Board meeting.
      • Crime recording compliance within 24 hours currently running at around 81% and showing a steady increase.
      • NA advised that better use of pronto should result in fewer fluctuations that have been evident since 2016.
      • Overall NA much more confident.
      • Appointments now dealt with within 24 hours as opposed up to 8 days under the old SDM model.
      • Structural changes implemented by NA have resulted in a real cultural shift within the Force.
      • NA confident that the Force have improved significantly in crime types and crime data integrity. Position in 2014 to where we are now is worlds apart and this is a good news story
      • HMICFRS hot debrief expected on 16th
      • NA confident that in every case, victim has had a service and a safeguard if necessary is in place
      • It was agreed that 24 hour Crime Recording will be debated in more detail at the next Accountability Board meeting.


      Action – PF to add 24 hour Crime Recording to February Agenda


      Action – NA to provide SM with gender and diversity breakdown of police officer numbers and recent recruit intakes

  • There was no other business.