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West Midlands PEEL 2014

Effectiveness

How well the force tackles crime

Last updated 13/11/2014
Ungraded

West Midlands Police is good at reducing crime and preventing offending. The force is good at investigating offending. It is good at tackling anti-social behaviour.

West Midlands Police is working well to cut crime and anti-social behaviour. The crime rate in the West Midlands has fallen broadly in line with the rate in England and Wales over the last four years. The level of anti-social behaviour in the West Midlands is lower than that of England and Wales.

The force has made some good progress in understanding victims’ perspectives and improving victim care. HMIC found that the force is undertaking some innovative and useful research to find better ways to prevent crime and deal with re-offending. It uses an understanding of ‘what works’ to ensure police officers use the full range of tactics available to them to cut crime and protect victims. Investigations are generally carried out well and the force makes good and appropriate use of restorative justice outcomes as an alternative to prosecutions. The force works well in partnership and there are some good examples of joint projects and initiatives that appear to be making a real difference in keeping local communities safe.

Further insights on effectiveness

The domestic abuse inspection found that West Midlands provided some good services when identifying and tackling domestic abuse. However, there were still some areas where improvements could be made to strengthen the services to victims, particularly the approach to risk assessment. The crime inspection found evidence that the force had created dedicated units to investigate some crimes, including domestic abuse.

The child protection inspection found that West Midlands had a strong commitment from the leadership team to its child protection work, with a clear plan for developing its child protection work. However, the inspectors were concerned to find there was a weak response to difficult, complex or prolonged child protection cases. Heavy workloads meant staff that were part of child abuse investigation teams were unable to manage their investigations effectively.

The crime inspection found that the force uses a structured and systematic approach to matching tactics to risk at all levels. West Midlands is also working with partners across the region to combat domestic abuse and ‘hidden crime’ such as modern slavery, forced marriage and so-called honour-based violence.

The Strategic Policing Requirement inspection found that West Midlands has been working with other forces regionally to enhance its 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?

The crime rate in the West Midlands has fallen broadly in line with England and Wales over the last four years. West Midlands Police has a comprehensive approach to understanding and planning local community priorities.

Recently it has reorganised the way it provides policing to ensure that it can focus on crime prevention through a new pre-emptive approach and also tackle priority crimes better through specialist teams supporting local policing units.

The force recognises the importance of putting the victim at the centre of policing and has made some good progress in understanding victims’ perspectives and providing training and awareness to staff to improve victims’ experiences.

 

Good
2

How effective is the force at investigating offending?

West Midlands Police understands the importance of assessing and managing the risks faced by victims. It has systems in place to ensure that the force provides an effective response.

HMIC found that investigations are generally carried out to a good standard, with officers showing they had appropriate skills and knowledge. The force has recognised the value of effective supervision in ensuring that good quality investigations are carried out consistently. It has invested significantly in training for supervisors and HMIC found evidence of effective supervision.

West Midlands has an effective and systematic approach to learning. The inspection saw evidence of a genuine willingness to evaluate policing practices to understand which tactics work best, and to use this learning to drive improvements in service across the force. The force has developed a good understanding of ‘what works’, which it uses to select appropriate tactics for preventing crime and reoffending. It also works well with partners to share information and provide joint responses so they can protect vulnerable victims and prevent offending.

 

Good
3

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

The anti-social behaviour rate for the West Midlands is lower than that of England and Wales and the number of these incidents has reduced at a greater rate than most other forces in the past year.

Tackling anti-social behaviour is a clear strategic priority for West Midlands Police and the force continues to invest significant resources in neighbourhood teams to address local concerns and hotspots.

The force recognises the need to ensure that the police and partner response is appropriate to the victims’ individual needs. It is piloting a new approach to assess and manage risk better so it can identify vulnerable victims at the earliest opportunity.

The force recognises the need to ensure that the police and partner response is appropriate to victims’ individual needs.  It is piloting a new approach to assess and manage risk better so it can identify vulnerable victims at the earliest opportunity.

The force works well in partnership, particularly with the local authorities across the West Midlands. There are some good examples of joint projects and initiatives that are making a significant difference in keeping local communities safe. However, there is some room for improvement in the way the force shares information with local partners, which could result in more effective earlier intervention and joint working.

 

Good
4

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

The domestic abuse inspection found that West Midlands Police provided some good services when identifying and tackling domestic abuse. However, there were still some areas where improvements could be made to strengthen the services to victims. The inspection found that the approach to risk assessment of domestic abuse victims was fragmented, leading to confusion, and the force could not be confident that all victims consistently were getting access to the services they needed from the police and its partners.

The child protection inspection found that West Midlands had a strong commitment from the leadership team to child protection, with a clear plan for developing their child protection services. Staff that were responsible for managing child abuse investigations were knowledgeable, committed and dedicated to providing good outcomes for children. The force had developed good relationships with partner agencies and local safeguarding children boards. However, the inspectors were concerned to find there was a weak response to difficult, complex or prolonged child protection cases. Heavy workloads meant that staff in child abuse investigation teams were unable to manage their investigations effectively. There was also a general lack of understanding of the extent of child sexual exploitation and inconsistent practice across the force area.

The crime inspection found evidence that West Midlands had created dedicated units to investigate some crime, including domestic abuse, which supported local teams in delivering the force objectives. There was evidence that the force made significant effort to support victims of domestic abuse and pursue offenders, including offenders in cases where the victim does not wish to support a prosecution. The inspection also reviewed West Midlands’ domestic abuse action plan and found the force submitted a force action plan outlining activity which was in line with the agreed national priorities for forces to improve their response to domestic abuse. It also had a priority plan that incorporated HMIC’s report recommendations. The inspection found evidence that the force was taking action in response to the findings by HMIC, although more needs to be done to ensure comprehensive coverage of the improvements required.

Ungraded
5

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

The crime inspection found that West Midlands Police uses a structured and systematic approach to matching tactics to risk at all levels. For example, at the highest level of policing the force works with national and international law enforcement partners to address serious crime. West Midlands is also working with partner organisations across the region to combat ‘hidden crime’ such as modern slavery, forced marriage and so-called honour-based violence.

The force has a strategy which details how it will tackle organised crime and a process for assessing the threat posed by organised crime groups. The force has the facility to use specialist resources against the groups assessed as posing the most risk in order to disrupt them. Tackling organised crime groups is supported by neighbourhood and response teams; the force has created a team to identify any emerging trends so that early interventions can be made to prevent organised crime groups developing into major threats to the public.

Ungraded
6

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

The Strategic Policing Requirement inspection found that the force understood its role as specified in the Strategic Policing Requirement. The force 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 it 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 West Midlands Police is able to provide the agreed amount.

The inspection found that West Midlands Police 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.

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

Connectivity with other forces was effective for responding to terrorism, civil emergency, serious organised crime and public disorder but not large-scale cyber incidents.

Ungraded