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Gwent PEEL 2014

Effectiveness

How well the force tackles crime

Last updated 12/11/2014
Ungraded

Gwent requires improvement in reducing crime, preventing and investigating offending, and tackling anti-social behaviour.

HMIC is concerned that Gwent is not as effective as it needs to be at cutting crime and anti-social behaviour. After a number of years of reducing crime, levels of reported crime and anti-social behaviour are now increasing in Gwent. Recorded crime and anti-social behaviour rates are both now higher in Gwent than for England and Wales as a whole.

Victim satisfaction with police services in Gwent is one of the lowest of all forces in England and Wales. We found some pockets of good practice where there is a strong victim focus and where the force works innovatively with local partners to reduce crime, prevent re-offending and protect victims. Overall, however, a number of important areas for improvement have been identified.

HMIC will re-visit Gwent in 2015 to undertake a diagnostic inspection. This inspection will use external expertise, with the aim of identifying measures to assist the senior leadership of Gwent to improve the service it delivers.

Further insights on effectiveness

The domestic abuse inspection found that, despite domestic abuse being a priority, the absence of effective processes and systems affected the force’s ability to manage and minimise risk. There were significant concerns regarding how the force responded to some victims of domestic abuse. The crime inspection identified a lack of clarity among officers about who was responsible for investigating high-risk domestic abuse cases.

The crime inspection found that the force was starting to tackle so-called ‘hidden crimes’. For example, there had been some recent positive work to investigate human trafficking and child sexual exploitation, with dedicated police resources and positive partnership working to support victims.

The Strategic Policing Requirement inspection found that Gwent had, or had access to through collaboration with other forces regionally, the necessary capability to tackle terrorism, civil emergency, serious organised crime and public disorder but not a large-scale cyber incident.

Questions for Effectiveness

1

How effective is the force at reducing crime and preventing offending?

How effective is the force at preventing offending and reducing crime?

Reducing and preventing crime are clear priorities for both the police and crime commissioner and the force. Reported crime has reduced by 28 percent in Gwent over the last four years, although there has been an increase in the crime rate over the last year. Crime rates are higher in Gwent than the overall rate for England and Wales.

The quality of victim contact remains a real concern in Gwent. The force has one of the lowest victim satisfaction ratings of all forces in England and Wales. Despite efforts to date, the force has been unable to improve the situation. In fact, victim satisfaction is continuing to decline according to the force’s own data. The force is aware of the urgent need to improve this position and shortly will be launching an initiative that aims to tackle it.

The force has made some good progress in measuring and understanding the nature of demand for its services which means that it is better placed than it was to target resources at the areas of greatest threat and risk. However, the quality and reliability of information are hampering the force’s ability to measure the outcomes of its work and plan effectively for the future.


Requires improvement
2

How effective is the force at investigating offending?

How effective is the force at investigating offending?

The force recognises the importance of assessing the risks faced by victims and providing a level of service that is appropriate. However, in practice there are serious inconsistencies in the quality of victim risk assessment and the force’s ability to identify victims who are particularly vulnerable. This means that they may not be getting the level of service they need from the police.

Specialist teams within the force adopt a highly victim-centred approach; for example the domestic abuse co-ordination team and the Onyx team, which deals with serious sexual assaults. It is evident that these teams place the victim at the heart of everything they do, and provide good safeguarding for victims.

HMIC found some serious weaknesses in the quality and consistency of investigations in Gwent. There is limited supervision and oversight of investigations. Of particular concern are new arrangements for investigating cases of domestic abuse. These have created risks that victims may not be getting the level of service they need, and offenders may not be brought to justice as effectively as possible.

The force is starting to tackle so-called hidden crimes. For example, there has been some recent positive work to investigate human trafficking and child sexual exploitation. Gwent works well with partners on its integrated offender management programme, which is well-resourced and well-managed.

Requires improvement
3

How effective is the force at tackling anti-social behaviour?

How effective is the force at protecting those at greatest risk of harm?

The domestic abuse inspection found that, despite domestic abuse being a priority, the absence of effective processes and systems had an impact on the force’s ability to manage and minimise risk. There were significant concerns regarding how the force responded to some victims of domestic abuse. The domestic abuse conference call, which provides early responses from both the police and other agencies to safeguarding victims, was identified as a good example of innovative practice.

The crime inspection identified there were problems with the service for domestic abuse. HMIC was particularly concerned to see that there is a lack of clarity among officers about who is responsible for investigating high-risk domestic abuse cases. The inspection reviewed Gwent’s domestic abuse action plan and found the action plan submitted follows the national action plan template outlining activity which was in line with the agreed national priorities for forces to improve their response to domestic abuse. While there is not a clear direct reference to the specific HMIC recommendations, there is evidence within the action plan which supports most activity required from these recommendations.

 

No graded judgment in 2014

Requires improvement
4

How effective is the force at protecting those at greatest risk of harm?

How effective is the force at tackling serious, organised and complex crime?

The crime inspection found that the force is starting to tackle so-called hidden crimes. For example, there has been some recent positive work to investigate human trafficking and child sexual exploitation, with dedicated police resources and positive partnership working to support victims.

No graded judgment in 2014

Ungraded
5

How effective is the force at tackling serious, organised and complex crime?

How effective is the force at meeting its commitments under the Strategic Policing Requirement?

The Strategic Policing Requirement inspection found that the chief constable understood his role as specified in the Strategic Policing Requirement. Gwent had assessed the scale and nature of the terrorism, civil emergency, serious organised crime and public disorder threats, but not that of a large-scale cyber incident. This had enabled the force to identify how much resource it needed to manage and respond to these threats with the exception of a large-scale cyber incident. Public order has a nationally agreed requirement for resources and Gwent is able to provide the necessary agreed amount.

The inspection found that Gwent had the necessary capability, alone or with other forces, to tackle terrorism, civil emergency, serious organised crime and public disorder, but not a large-scale cyber incident.

Gwent was able to operate effectively with other police forces and emergency services to respond to public disorder and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents.

In Gwent, we found that connectivity with other forces was effective for responding to terrorism, civil emergency, serious organised crime and public disorder, but not large-scale cyber incidents.

No graded judgment in 2014

Ungraded
6

How effective is the force at meeting its commitments under the Strategic Policing Requirement?

Ungraded