West Yorkshire PEEL 2014
How well the force tackles crime
West 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.
West Yorkshire has a crime rate which is higher than that for England and Wales. However, in the last 12 months it has seen a greater reduction in crime than England and Wales as a whole and the number of anti-social behaviour incidents has reduced from the previous year. The force works well with its partners, and uses a range of preventative and diversionary tactics although its integrated offender management teams require more strategic oversight. HMIC found crime reduction and prevention currently focuses heavily on acquisitive crime such as dwelling burglary, with an inconsistent approach to tackling other types of crimes. The force would benefit from an increased cultural shift towards a more victim-centred approach.
The force uses a wide range of investigative tactics with real drive and determination to resolve its long-standing burglary problem. Accredited investigators are used to investigate more serious crimes, but the allocation and supervision of less serious crimes is inconsistent. Burglary is a clear priority for the force, but the investigation of other crime types has suffered as a consequence with additional focus required on those that have a level of threat, risk and harm.
The force and its partners prioritise anti-social behaviour and it is tackled well. Increasingly police and partners work together in anti-social behaviour hubs aligned to the five local authority areas, reinforcing their commitment to this shared challenge. Approaches to problem-solving are complemented by a range of multi-agency meetings to agree solutions for individual cases. These include good use of victim-centred restorative disposals and statutory orders. The aspiration is for true integration across all areas – designed to provide an enhanced service for victims and for the community.
Further insights on effectiveness
The domestic abuse inspection found that there were some risks in the way West Yorkshire dealt with victims of domestic abuse. HMIC was concerned that there were a number of inconsistencies in the processes across the force area. This meant that the force could not be confident that risks to victims of domestic abuse were assessed effectively and that measures were put in place to maintain their future safety in all cases. The crime inspection found evidence that West Yorkshire is managing domestic abuse investigations effectively.
The crime inspection found that force tasking meetings manage the force’s most serious crime groups. However, mapping and management of organised crime groups across the force and tasking neighbourhood policing teams was found to be inconsistent.
How effective is the force at reducing crime and preventing offending?
West Yorkshire has seen its overall crime rate reduce by 19 percent over the last four years. This is a larger reduction than for England and Wales. There have been reductions seen in areas such as burglary and robbery in the last 12 months, although there needs to be additional focus on other emerging threats which the force is addressing.
Operational activity clearly reflects priorities on crime reduction and prevention. The force has a series of robust daily tasking meetings to allocate resources where they are needed most.
The force has clear accountability processes from the strategic to the tactical operational level which provides a real grip on managing its performance.
How effective is the force at investigating offending?
While accredited supervisors take an active role in crime investigation, HMIC found that their approach was inconsistent, with some crime types – notably violent crime – not always being supervised effectively.
There is a lack of a consistent focus in relation to threat, risk and harm identification particularly in relation to vulnerable and repeat victims. This is recognised at a senior level in the organisation and a number of changes are being implemented to improve the service provided to all victims.
The force aspires to a victim-centred approach but this is not yet consistently evident at an operational level. Victims could be better served through more consistent updates and services which are tailored to their individual needs.
Specialist departments work well with partners to find ways of diverting offenders and preventing crime. HMIC found enthusiastic, productive staff within the integrated offender management unit but it lacked strategic oversight with no corporate approach across the force.
How effective is the force at tackling anti-social behaviour?
Anti-social behaviour is a priority for West Yorkshire Police and the force and partners tackle it effectively. Strong partnerships have helped to drive this forward, with dedicated teams working in the community. The force uses a range of restorative disposals and statutory orders effectively.
It is good at identifying those who are vulnerable to anti-social behaviour, with a commitment to problem solving, and management of those most vulnerable through an anti-social behaviour analysis process.
The force uses a range of methods to communicate with the public always aiming to have local relationships with dedicated officers and staff keeping their communities consulted and updated regarding locally identified priorities.
How effective is the force at protecting those at greatest risk of harm?
The domestic abuse inspection found that there were some risks in the way West Yorkshire Police dealt with victims of domestic abuse. HMIC was concerned that there were a number of inconsistencies in processes across the force area, which meant that the force could not be confident that risks to victims of domestic abuse were assessed effectively and measures were put in place to maintain their future safety in all cases.
The crime inspection found evidence that West Yorkshire is managing domestic abuse investigations effectively. The inspection also reviewed West Yorkshire’s domestic abuse action plan and found the force had submitted a detailed plan on how the force would deal with HMIC force and national recommendations. However, the plan submitted did not include the national action plan template and accompanying evidence which required forces to outline activity which was in line with the agreed national priorities for them to improve their response to domestic abuse.
How effective is the force at tackling serious, organised and complex crime?
The crime inspection found that the force currently had lead force responsibility for the regional organised crime unit, ‘Odyssey’, where all assets were managed by West Yorkshire Police but were regionally resourced and deployed based upon need and priority. Force tasking meetings managed the force’s most serious crime groups. These organised crime groups were scored by the force’s intelligence unit and all organised crime groups were to be re-scored shortly after the inspection to reflect new national guidance. The mapping and management of organised crime groups across the force and tasking of neighbourhood policing teams was found to be inconsistent, with some divisions and districts having formed and combined their own groups to target and dismantle organised crime groups. For example, Leeds scored its own local burglary organised crime groups.
The value for money inspection found that collaborative working for the force centred very much on working with the other forces in the Yorkshire and Humber region (South, West and North Yorkshire and Humberside).
How effective is the force at meeting its commitments under the Strategic Policing Requirement?
There was no Strategic Policing Requirement inspection for this force.