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South Yorkshire PEEL 2014

Effectiveness

How well the force tackles crime

Last updated 12/11/2014
Ungraded

South Yorkshire Police is good at reducing crime and preventing offending. The force requires improvement in investigating offending. It is good at tackling anti-social behaviour.

South Yorkshire’s effectiveness in its efforts to cut crime varies. Over the past four years, recorded crime has reduced. However, over the past 12 months, recorded crime has remained mainly static. Victim satisfaction is broadly in line with other forces.

Throughout the crime inspection, we found that there had been a number of recent force structural changes with an associated increased focus on improving the quality of victim contact. However, officers are not routinely providing updates to victims of crime and standards of crime investigation are not consistent. Partnership working, early intervention, and the management of offenders are strengths for the force, although at district policing levels there is a lack of understanding of the effectiveness of these measures in preventing and reducing crime and, as a consequence, work in these areas is not prioritised.

The force has a clear focus on the management and reduction of anti-social behaviour with both statutory and other partners. The force understands the need to manage those at risk from being subject to anti-social behaviour. However, in relation to identifying at the first point of contact those who are most vulnerable, the force needs to ensure it is more consistent in this area.

Further insights on effectiveness

The domestic abuse inspection found that, although tackling domestic abuse was a clear priority and this was recognised by staff at all levels, there were risks that some victims of domestic abuse may not have been getting the response or the quality of service they needed. The child protection inspection found that South Yorkshire was clearly prioritising child protection, and had made some good progress, particularly in cases where concerns about children have been clearly identified at the outset. However, there was concern that force practice was inconsistent so not all children received the standard of treatment they deserved. The inspection found that more must be done to improve the care of children in custody. There was also concern about the lack of understanding of the risk posed by offenders who target vulnerable children, and shortcomings in the protection of children in care.

The crime inspection found examples of success in relation to the most serious cases of organised crime. An example was Operation Alphabet, which successfully dealt with an organised crime group involved with child sexual exploitation. However, force analysts expressed concern that the management of organised crime groups was not seen as a local priority. This was specifically expressed in relation to locations where individuals connected to organised crime groups resided but did not undertake criminal activity, and so action to disrupt the groups was not given priority.

The previous police and crime commissioner commissioned a child sexual exploitation inspection. Its subsequent revisit found that the evident efforts to improve the force’s response to child sexual exploitation had had mixed success. HMIC considered that the force-level focus and commitment to this were not truly and consistently replicated in all districts. While there were pockets of good and effective practice (most notably in Sheffield), the approach taken to tackling this kind of offending varied significantly across the force’s four districts. Improvements were noted during the revisit but the force acknowledged that there is still work to be done to meet the required standard, particularly for prevention and investigation.

Questions for Effectiveness

1

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

South Yorkshire Police has maintained a focus on improving the quality of victim contact and managing and deploying to incidents based upon threat, harm and risk.

The force has recently been effective in dealing with organised crime groups, particularly one involved in child sexual exploitation, and has a robust integrated offender management process in place. However, there is a disconnect at a district level with a lack of understanding of the effectiveness of these measures in preventing and reducing crime and, as a consequence, work in these areas is not prioritised.

Officers within district neighbourhood teams have a limited knowledge around the application of problem-solving models and plans examined were not up-to-date or adequately supervised.

South Yorkshire has a range of effective partnership working arrangements in place.

Good
2

How effective is the force at investigating offending?

The identification and management of vulnerability and safeguarding both for adults and children is strong, although reliant on additional database checks by control room staff.

Officers are not routinely providing updates to victim of crime within the timeframes agreed or by appropriate means.

With the exception of those investigations undertaken by specialist staff, which are of a good standard, crime investigation and supervision of crime are not of a consistent acceptable standard, with evidence of crimes being finalised without investigative opportunities being fully explored.

The management of prolific offenders through the integrated offender management programme was found to be strong and well regarded by partners. The force has produced positive results in relation to reoffending rates in this area.

 

Requires improvement
3

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

Anti-social behaviour is a clear strategic and tactical priority for South Yorkshire Police, reinforced with clear policies and procedures to identify risk and vulnerability for anti-social behaviour victims.

South Yorkshire has adopted a proactive approach to prepare the force, statutory and non statutory partners for the introduction of new anti-social behaviour legislation. The force is in dialogue with the College of Policing and has volunteered to develop its work into national authorised police practice (APP) for anti-social behaviour.

The force has strong partnership working at an operational and tactical level implementing a range of tactics to address anti-social behaviour, including the use of restorative justice to divert and reduce reoffending.

Partners highlighted some inconsistencies relating to the identification of vulnerable victims linked to anti-social behaviour and the process that automatically refers information to partners such as victim support services from the force’s command and control system.

 

Good
4

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

The domestic abuse inspection found that, although tackling domestic abuse was a clear priority and this was recognised by staff at all levels, there were risks that some victims of domestic abuse may not have been getting the response or the quality of service they needed. The inspection found that South Yorkshire Police responded well to the victims facing the highest risks. However, for those assessed as being at less risk, the service was not as good. There are serious weaknesses in the initial response and risk assessment of all domestic abuse victims, which the force has recognised. Plans are in place to introduce an improved response.

The crime inspection found that South Yorkshire had a dedicated domestic abuse offender manager, who conducted regular checks on high-risk offenders to ensure they were complying with conditions imposed on them. The inspection also reviewed South Yorkshire’s domestic abuse action plan and found the national action plan submitted was detailed and outlines activity that was in line with the agreed national priorities for forces. The plan included additional documents to evidence activity. There was no direct reference to the specific HMIC recommendations for the force, but there was evidence within the action plan that demonstrated the force’s adoption of the HMIC recommendations.

The child protection inspection found that South Yorkshire was clearly prioritising child protection, and had made some good progress, particularly in cases where concerns about children have been clearly identified at the outset. However, there was concern that force practice was inconsistent so not all children received the standard of treatment they deserved. The inspection found that more must be done to improve the care of children in custody. There was also concern about the lack of understanding of the risk posed by offenders who target vulnerable children, and shortcomings in the protection of children in care.

The child sexual exploitation inspection, commissioned by the police and crime commissioner, found that the recent investment of extra resources into this area of policing was starting to have an effect, and child sexual exploitation was a clear strategic priority for both the force and its police and crime commissioner. Improved processes in relation to, for example, partnership working and victim care were also seen as positive. However, the report did identify areas of improvement with associated recommendations that needed immediate, medium-and longer-term attention. These centred on risk assessment processes, ensuring there was an emphasis of priority throughout the organisation, consistency of approach throughout the organisation and evaluation of protective strategies. The revisit identified progress particularly in terms of resources, information sharing and process but there still lacked, for example, quality evaluation and a pan-South Yorkshire approach.

Ungraded
5

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

The crime inspection found that South Yorkshire Police had identified 34 organised crime groups, which were being mapped and managed at a force level, with examples of success in relation to the most serious cases. An example was Operation Alphabet, which successfully dealt with an organised crime group involved with child sexual exploitation. While local policing districts have responsibility for dealing with a number of organised crime groups, force analysts expressed concern that the management of organised crime groups was not seen as a local priority. This was specifically expressed in relation to locations where individuals connected to organised crime groups resided but did not undertake criminal activity, and so action to disrupt the groups was not given priority. Management of organised crime groups was not seen as a priority by some district neighbourhood teams that cited it as diverting them from addressing anti-social behaviour and other local priorities.

Ungraded
6

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

There was no Strategic Policing Requirement inspection for this force.

Ungraded