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Home > Police Report Card > Thames Valley > Report Card

Report Card

Here we tell you how well your police force is performing when compared to similar forces around England and Wales. Your police force is Thames Valley Police.

HMI Zoë Billingham: Overall assessment

Levels of crime in Thames Valley are falling, and in most cases they are in line with similar forces. Thames Valley Police is a medium-high cost force which employs fewer police officers per head of population than similar forces, and makes wide use of civilian police staff, who account for nearly 40% of all staff.

Thames Valley is the largest non-metropolitan police force in England and Wales, serving the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire with a total population of 2.2 million. Major centres of population include Milton Keynes, Oxford, Reading and Slough. Its Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) population is estimated at around 6% - the largest in any force area in the South East. A number of sites and attractions, such as Windsor Castle, the Reading Music Festival and Royal Ascot, generate visitors and income for the local economy but attract large crowds, placing major demands on the police.

Thames Valley Police demonstrates some strong areas of performance. The force has around 1,000 staff in neighbourhood policing teams and officers are required to remain in teams for a minimum of two years, providing good continuity and a better service for the public. The use of hand-held computer devices allows neighbourhood officers to spend more time on their beats. The force has prioritised effectively its response to the threats posed by major crime and criminality. It has a major crime department dedicated to homicide and most serious offences investigation. Homicides have fallen over the last four years and there have been successes in reducing the number of gun crimes over the last three years. There are significantly fewer deaths and serious injuries on Thames Valley’s roads than in similar areas and impressive reductions continue to be achieved.

The force was awarded a 'Fair' grade following its Policing Pledge inspection in 2009.

There are some areas for improvement. Robbery and burglary rates in Thames Valley are above average when compared to other similar forces. The force is performing poorly overall in solving crime; its detection rates for violent crime are of particular concern. The force recognises the need to improve its ability to identify quickly those members of the public who have repeatedly called the police about anti-social behaviour.

The force responds positively to inspection findings. It launched 'Operation Breaker' in July 2009 to tackle burglary. This has resulted in an impressive 14% reduction in offences between July and December 2009.

Looking ahead, tighter budgets over the next three years mean that the force, together with its Police Authority, faces tough choices about policing priorities and future investment. Thames Valley Police is actively pursuing opportunities for collaboration, which bodes well for the future. The force has signed an agreement with Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex to create regional units for witness protection, covert operations and technical support. I will be monitoring closely how well the force responds to its challenges over the coming months.

HMIC's assessment of performance and prospect of improvement

HMIC inspects how forces perform in a range of activities and against a number of agreed standards. HMIC's assessment of performance for each of these activities is shown below.

HMIC also makes a professional assessment of whether the force's performance is likely to improve or decline in the future, for some indicators.



key


Local crime and policing

  

Neighbourhood policing

meeting standardblank
  

Neighbourhood presence

fairblank
  

Reducing crime

fairstable
  

Solving crimes

poorstable
  


Protection from serious harm

  

Investigating major crime

meeting standardblank
  

Reducing road death and injury

excellentimprovement
  

Solving serious sexual offences

fairstable
  

Suppressing gun crime

fairimprovement
  

Suppressing knife crime

fairblank
  


Confidence and satisfaction

  

Comparative satisfaction of BME community

poorstable
  

Meeting the Pledge Standards

fairblank
  

Perceptions of anti-social behaviour

fairstable
  

Public confidence: all agencies

fairstable
  

Public confidence: police

fairstable
  

Satisfaction with service delivery

fairimprovement
  


Value for money: staffing and costs

  

Cost of policing

medium/highblank
  

Cost per household

medium/highblank
  

Number of police officers and PCSOs

low/mediumblank
  

Proportion of policing cost met from council tax

medium/highblank
  


The above grades were published on 13 March 2010. HMIC proposes to update these grades annually.