Terms of Reference published for Community Safety and Local Policing Arrangements in Northern Irelan

Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (CJI) proposes to undertake an inspection of Community Safety and Local Policing Arrangements in Northern Ireland.

The inspection will focus on the three main elements of the CJI inspection framework as they apply to the approach to community safety and local policing; these are strategy and governance, delivery and outcomes.

The main organisation to be inspected will be the Police Service of Northern Ireland (Police Service).  The role of the Department of Justice (DoJ) in community safety policy and strategy will be considered including co-ordinating the Community Safety Board (CSB) and its work; and working in partnership with key stakeholders who have a remit in community safety work across the public sector.  The inspection will also assess the progress made against recommendations made in CJI’s 2019 review of Policing and Community Safety Partnerships (PCSPs).[1]  In doing so, engagement with the Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB) and the DoJ as partners in the Joint Committee, who oversee the work of PCSPs, will be critical.    
A number of previous CJI inspections have examined the area of community safety, local policing and policing with the community.  Previous to the 2019 review, CJI published a report on the work of PCSPs in 2014.[2]  In 2009 CJI published its first inspection of Policing with the Community[3] with a Follow-Up Review report published in September 2012.[4]  CJI have also inspected the Police Service’s approach to customer service[5] and contact management[6] as well as the criminal justice system’s approach to addressing anti-social behaviour.[7]
His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary & Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) have undertaken inspections which have considered the Police Service’s engagement with the community.  In recent years this has included an assessment of the effectiveness of the Police Service at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe[8] alongside consideration of the whether the Police Service inspires public confidence[9].  A recent investigation by the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (OPONI) reported that the police handling of ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests in 2020 had damaged confidence in policing among some within the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities in Northern Ireland.[10]  The Police Ombudsman further reported that, when contrasted against the prompt identification of suspects involved in the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protest, the premature closing of a Police Service investigation into a ‘Protect Our Monuments’ protest further eroded confidence in these communities.[11]
In support of Outcome 7 in the draft Programme for Government (PfG) ‘We have a safe community where we respect the law and each other’, the DoJ had developed a Community Safety Framework.  This aimed to ‘ensure effective connectivity between the community safety work of the responsible agencies and provide an operational roadmap on how to collectively deliver the safer community objectives set out in the PfG and Community Plans, whilst providing the mechanism to respond proactively and reactively to operational need.’[12]  The DoJ, the Police Service, the Probation Board for Northern Ireland, the Youth Justice Agency and the NIPB were all members of the CSB alongside partners from education, housing, health, communities and Government Departments.
The vision of policing for Northern Ireland, as stated in the report of the Independent Commission on Policing (The Patten Report),[13] was one of Policing with the Community at the core of the service, ‘…the police working in partnership with the community, the community thereby participating in its own policing and the two together, mobilising resources to solve problems affecting public safety…’.  This approach to policing and the role of neighbourhood policing has been a focus for the Police Service, the NIPB and those with an accountability role over the Police Service since the time of The Patten Report.  Efforts to embed this ethos at the centre of policing in Northern Ireland were further advocated through a series of strategies including Policing a Shared Future (2005) and 2011’s Policing with the Community Strategy (2020).      
In 2015 the Police Service reviewed policing structures in Northern Ireland in line with the Review of Public Administration and the restructuring of local District Councils.  The model of frontline policing which accompanied this included the creation of 26 dedicated Local Policing Teams (LPTs).  These teams were established to respond to local calls, conduct investigations and deal with community problems, as well as having in-depth local knowledge of the area and undertaking community engagement.  In areas of higher need, LPTs were supported by 34 Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPTs), aiming to develop long-term relationships and commitments in the areas.  PCSPs also underwent similar reorganisation in line with the new council areas.[14]
In 2018 the Police Service and the NIPB launched a public consultation on local policing in Northern Ireland.  The Local Policing Review sought to explore how the Police Service could best meet demand and deliver effective local policing.  The findings from the review indicated strong public support for Neighbourhood Policing with communities alongside indicators that this support had declined in the preceding years.[15]  The outcomes of this review shaped the current delivery model of neighbourhood policing in Northern Ireland and have informed the development of the Northern Ireland Policing Plan 2020-2025.[16]
In June 2022 the Police Service launched its new Here for You: Public Engagement Vision and eight Hallmarks of Neighbourhood Policing.[17]  The approach to engagement envisaged within the Police Service’s Engagement Strategy sought to ‘enable citizens and communities to participate in policing at their chosen level’ and included five key pillars as a means of delivery: Attraction and Recruitment; Engagement; Procedural Fairness; Effective Neighbourhood Policing; and, Local Accountability.[18]  The Police Service’s Hallmarks of Neighbourhood Policing indicate a ‘public commitment to modernise local policing delivery so that it is increasingly visible, accessible, responsive and, above all, community focused’.  The Hallmarks, which are ‘evidence based, informed by national policing guidelines issued by the College of Policing, yet adapted to best meet our local context’ include:
  • Hallmark 1 Embedding The Right Culture;
  • Hallmark 2 Engaging Neighbourhoods;
  • Hallmark 3 Building Analytical Capability;
  • Hallmark 4 Solving Problems;
  • Hallmark 5 Targeting Activity;
  • Hallmark 6 Accountability;
  • Hallmark 7 Developing Officers and Staff; and
  • Hallmark 8 Developing & Sharing Learning.[19] 
Aims of the Inspection
The aims of the inspection are to:
  • Examine the effectiveness of the community safety and local policing strategic and operational governance structures;
  • Examine the approach to partnership working between the agencies represented on the CSB in delivering against targets and expectations;
  • Examine the effectiveness of DoJ and the Police Service organisational strategies with regard to community safety and local policing and consider how these fit together in support of the draft PfG;
  • Examine the effectiveness of the Police Service’s governance structures to monitor implementation and delivery of The Hallmarks of Neighbourhood Policing;
  • Examine the performance of the Police Service against The Hallmarks of Neighbourhood Policing, particularly in relation to Hallmark 2: Engaging Neighbourhoods;
  • Examine the approach to partnership working between the Police Service, PCSPs and other partners involved in the delivery of community safety;
  • Review the operation and effectiveness of PCSPs with regard to the recommendations of CJI’s 2019 PCSP report (see Appendix 1);
  • Examine how the above aspects of the approach to community safety benchmarked against good practice.
Any other matters relating to Community Safety and Local Policing Arrangements arising during the inspection, if considered appropriate by CJI, may be included.
The inspection will be based on the CJI Inspection Framework for each inspection that it conducts.  The three main elements of the inspection framework are:
  • Strategy and governance
  • Delivery, and
  • Outcomes.
The Hallmarks of Neighbourhood Policing will form the framework against which CJI will assess the Police Service’s effectiveness in the area of delivery.
Constants in each of the three framework elements and throughout each inspection are equality and fairness, together with standards and best practice.  The CJI inspection methodology can be found at www.cjini.org.
Design and Planning
Preliminary research
In preparation for the inspection scoping meetings have been conducted with the Police Service, the NIPB and the DoJ Community Safety Branch.  A review has been undertaken of previous CJI reports as well as other relevant reports produced by the NIPB and the DoJ.  Police Service strategies in relation to public engagement, crime prevention and neighbourhood policing have been reviewed. 
Benchmarking, research and data collection
Collection of benchmarking information and data, where available, from other jurisdictions and sectors in Northern Ireland and a review of inspection and research reports will be undertaken.
Contact with agencies
Terms of reference will be prepared and shared with the DoJ, the Police Service and the NIPB prior to the initiation of the inspection.  Liaison officers from the organisations should be nominated for the purposes of this inspection.
Policies and procedures, management information, minutes of meetings and related documentation held by the Police Service, the DoJ, the CSB, the NIPB and PCSPs will be requested and reviewed. 

Stakeholder consultation
A programme of stakeholder consultations will be conducted across a range of stakeholder organisations.  Assistance will be sought from the Police Service Community Engagement Team to identify organisations; these will seek to cover all Section 75 groups as well as providing appropriate geographic spread across Northern Ireland.
The Police Service will be asked to provide evidence of delivery against the 8 Hallmarks of Neighbourhood Policing.  The DoJ, the CSB, the NIPB and PCSPs will be asked to provide evidence of their strategy and governance arrangements and outcomes.
Development of fieldwork plan
CJI will liaise with the inspection liaison points of contact in each organisation to arrange a series of meetings and focus groups with relevant individuals.  This will include meetings within the DoJ, the CSB and the NIPB.  Meetings will also be conducted with PCSP Managers and representatives, and Inspectors will attend a number of PCSP meetings.   
Fieldwork within the Police Service will focus on Local Policing and Neighbourhood Policing Teams, with meetings arranged in several districts, involving District Commanders, as well as focus groups with officers of differing ranks.  This will involve a blend of in person and remote fieldwork.
Initial feedback to agency
On conclusion of the fieldwork the evidence will be collated, triangulated and analysed and emerging recommendations will be developed.  CJI will then present the findings to appropriate organisations.
Drafting of report
Following completion of the fieldwork and analysis of the evidence collated, a draft report will be shared with the inspected bodies for factual accuracy check.  The Chief Inspector will invite the inspected bodies to complete an action plan within six weeks to address the recommendations and if the plan has been agreed and is available it will be published as part of the final inspection report.  The inspection report will be shared, under embargo, in advance of the publication date with the inspected bodies.
Publication and Closure

A report will be sent to the Minister of Justice, or in their absence the Permanent Secretary, for permission to publish.  When permission is received the report will be finalised for publication.  A press release will be drafted and shared with the inspected agencies prior to publication and release.  A publication date will be agreed and the report will be issued.
Indicative Timetable:
Scoping/Research: January-March 2023.
Stakeholder consultation: April-June 2023.
Fieldwork: May-September 2023.
Draft Report: December 2023.
Factual accuracy feedback received: January 2024.
The above timetable may be impacted by factors outside CJI’s control.  The inspected organisations will be kept advised of any significant changes to the indicative timetable.

Appendix 1: CJI Inspection report: Working Together for Safer Communities: A Review Of Policing and Community Safety Partnerships in Northern Ireland - Recommendations
Strategic recommendations
  1. The Belfast PCSP should be subsumed into the Belfast District PCSPs (paragraph 1.5).
  1. Inspectors recommend a review (within 2019-20 planning cycle) of the current strategic approach to communications by an independent agent with subject expertise. Such a review should include a feasibility study in regard to a technical solution that offers a more unified singular entity and identity for the corporate PCSP brand (paragraph 2.24).
  1. The PSNI should present a narrative update on achievement against the local Policing Plan that gives a cumulative measure of achievement to the PCSPs members with specific reference to delivery of Policing Plan outcomes (paragraph 2.48).
  1. In response the PCSPs should have an agenda item to highlight the linkage between the delivery of the local Policing Plan, the PCSP Action Plan and the work of the PCSPs. They should then identify what needs to be done to improve delivery (paragraph 2.48).
  1. The Designated Organisations of the PCSPs should increase recognition of the role of PCSPs and delivery of shared positive outcomes in their corporate planning (paragraph 2.57).
Operational recommendations
  1. The PSNI should report on specific initiatives in the delivery of policing aimed at improving performance in dealing with Sexual and Domestic Violence and other local policing priorities such as human trafficking, rural crime and cyber-crime (paragraph 2.48).
  1. The representatives of the Designated Organisations attending the PCSPs should have direction from their organisation and internal lines of reporting within their organisation to report on achievement through the PCSP (paragraph 2.57).
Areas for Improvement
  1. Earlier and more extensive consultation on the local Policing Plan would be welcome (paragraph 1.19).
  1. Inspectors believe that there would be merit in an assessment of the level of compliance demands the NIPB places on the managers and the value of each of the returns they request and receive (paragraph 1.27).
  1. Developing the narrative around regional issues and what local police, and other Designated Organisations such as the PBNI, are doing to implement the specific initiatives for example, Child Sexual Exploitation, Domestic Violence and tackling paramilitarism, and engaging the PCSP in specific delivery initiatives is needed (paragraph 1.36).
  1. There is scope to review some successful projects at the PCSP meetings to have immediate impact as well as the issue of good practice examples by the Joint Committee (paragraph 1.37).
  1. The integration of the Policing Committee into the overall PCSP was more convenient for members, reduced duplication and led to greater involvement of the members from the Designated Organisations (paragraph 2.35).
  1. Possible improvements are to identify shared areas of need, what outcomes are desired and how the various bodies will contribute to achievement. This could also lead to increased direction given to the officials attending the meetings with subsequent accountability and reporting procedures within their parent designated body (paragraph 2.55).
  1. Causeway Coast and Glens intend to share this approach [a project to improve feedback from the local community using a stratified sampling approach to better reflect the mixed urban and rural nature of their District] with the other PCSPs and this should be completed as soon as possible (paragraph 3.9).
  1. There may be scope to define the outcome as what the alternative to ASB or fear of crime would look like (paragraph 3.11).
[2] CJI, Policing and Community Safety Partnerships: A review of governance, delivery and outcomes, December 2014 available at https://www.cjini.org/TheInspections/Inspection-Reports/2014/October---December/Police-and-Community-Safety-Partnership.
[3] CJI, Policing with the Community: An inspection of Policing with the Community in Northern Ireland, March 2009 available at https://www.cjini.org/getattachment/ccae1ea9-133f-4199-8c29-0ff8b48206b6/Policing-with-the-Community-An-inspection-of-Policing-with-the-Community-in-Northern-Ireland.aspx.
[4] CJI, Policing with the Community: A follow-up review of inspection recommendations, September 2011 available at https://www.cjini.org/TheInspections/Action-Plan-Reviews-Inspection-Follow-Up-Revie/2012/Policing-with-the-Community.
[5] CJI, Police Service of Northern Ireland Customer Service, May 2011 available at https://www.cjini.org/getattachment/93329071-5912-41bd-9119-57f8e4ffc7a6/PSNI-Customer-Service.aspx.
[6] CJI, Answering the Call: An inspection of the Police Service of Northern Ireland Contact Management Arrangements, June 2012 available at https://www.cjini.org/TheInspections/Inspection-Reports/2012/April---June/Answering-the-Call.
[7] CJI, Anti-social behaviour: An inspection of the criminal justice system's approach to addressing anti-social behaviour in Northern Ireland, October 2012 available at https://www.cjini.org/TheInspections/Inspection-Reports/2012/October---December/Anti-Social-Behaviour.
[8] HMICFRS, PEEL: Police effectiveness 2017 - Police Service of Northern Ireland, March 2018 available at
[9] HMICFRS, The Police Service of Northern Ireland: An inspection of how well the service treats its workforce and the people of Northern Ireland, September 2020 available at https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/publications/police-service-northern-ireland-an-inspection-of-how-well-the-service-treats-its-workforce-and-the-people-of-northern-ireland/.
[10] OPONI, An Investigation into Police Policy and Practice Of Protests in Northern Ireland, December 2020, available at https://www.policeombudsman.org/PONI/files/85/858a4b0b-9b99-4921-b947-5fae248ba683.pdf
[11] OPONI, Police Ombudsman: Investigation Into ‘Protect Our Monuments’ Protest ‘Closed Prematurely’, February 2023, available at https://www.policeombudsman.org/Media-Releases/2023/Police-Ombudsman-Investigation-Into-%E2%80%98Protect-Our-M
[13] Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, A New Beginning: Policing in Northern Ireland, The Report of Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, September 1999 available at https://cain.ulster.ac.uk/issues/police/patten/patten99.pdf.
[14] QUB, Research on Experiences of the New PSNI Local Policing Model, February 2018, available at https://www.nipolicingboard.org.uk/files/nipolicingboard/publications/research-on-experiences-of-new-psni-local-policing-model.PDF
[15] NIPB, Local Policing Review 2018 Consultation Response, November 2019, available at https://www.nipolicingboard.org.uk/files/nipolicingboard/media-files/local-policing-review-response-document.pdf
[16] NIPB, The Northern Ireland Policing Plan 2020-2025 & Annual Performance Plan 2022/23, March 2022, available at https://www.nipolicingboard.org.uk/files/nipolicingboard/2022-03/policing-plan-2020-25-performance-plan-2022-23.pdf
[17] PSNI, New neighbourhood policing strategy and significant milestone in NI policing journey, says Chief Constable, 28 June 2022 available at https://www.psni.police.uk/latest-news/new-neighbourhood-policing-strategy-significant-milestone-ni-policing-journey-says.
[18] PSNI, Here for You: Public Engagement Vision, September 2022, available at https://www.psni.police.uk/sites/default/files/2022-09/engagement-strategy-spreads.pdf.
[19] PSNI, The Hallmarks of Neighbourhood Policing, September 2022 available at https://www.psni.police.uk/sites/default/files/2022-09/npt-hallmarks-spreads.pdf.