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Gwent 2015

Read more about Gwent 2015

This is HMIC’s second assessment of the effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy with which Gwent Police keeps people safe and reduces crime. PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) gives you information about how your local police force is performing in several important areas. It does this in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year-on-year.

The extent to which Gwent Police is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.

The extent to which Gwent Police is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.

The extent to which Gwent Police is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.

This year, for the first time, we have assessed leadership across the force. The assessment has led to a narrative rather than graded judgment, which is summarised below.

Read more about my assessment of Gwent Police’s performance this year, including where I would like to see improvements next year.

Os hoffech chi ddarllen hwn trwy’r Gymraeg

HMI’s observations

I would like to commend Gwent Police for the excellent progress it has made in 2015. The force has responded positively to the findings of last year’s PEEL assessment and I am very pleased with its performance in keeping people safe and reducing crime.

The introduction of a new operating model has released more officers into frontline policing roles, while enabling the force to make necessary efficiency savings. In the past year, Gwent Police has developed and introduced an extensive programme of change, supported by an effective financial plan. Strong, clear force leadership and a fully-engaged workforce have, within tight timescales, achieved tangible improvements in the effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy of the service the force now provides to the public.

The force is good at identifying repeat and vulnerable victims, assessing risk and supporting victims. When dealing with the public, staff look to understand and deal with the needs of individuals in order to protect vulnerable people from harm.

I have been very impressed by the way the force engages with the people of Gwent, using a wide range of methods. It has introduced a neighbourhood management system that helps it to understand the needs of the communities in the area.

Description of force area

Gwent Police provides policing services to the county of Gwent. Although there are some more affluent areas, Gwent has a high level of poverty. Around 0.6 million people mainly live in the urban centres which include the city of Newport, and the towns of Ebbw Vale, Monmouth and Cwmbran. The resident population is increased by university students and the large numbers who visit or travel through the county each year. The transport infrastructure includes a sea port.

The proportion of areas in Gwent shows that are predicted to present a very high challenge to the police is lower than the national average. These are characterised by social deprivation or a concentration of commercial premises (including licensed premises), and in some cases both.

Working arrangements

The force has a number of collaborative working arrangements through the All Wales Policing Group, including joint firearms and scientific support capability and the Wales Extremism and Counter Terrorism Unit. The Shared Resource Service provides ICT services to the force and two local authorities.

Effectiveness

In our effectiveness inspection, we judged Gwent Police to be good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. With strong support from partners, the force is effective at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. Good progress has been made since investigations of crime were found to require improvement in 2014; the force now manages investigations effectively. Similar improvements have been made in how the force protects vulnerable people from harm. They are now more readily identified and receive better support. The force also understands and responds to serious and organised crime well. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so a year-on-year comparison is not possible.

Efficiency

Gwent Police is well prepared to face its future financial challenges. Through robust financial management and a commitment to continuous improvement, it has successfully reduced its spending over the previous spending review period, improved its understanding of demand, introduced a new operating model and is effectively planning for future financial challenges. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the previous spending review period, Gwent Police was judged to require improvement.

Legitimacy

Gwent Police is making clear efforts to develop and maintain an ethical working environment across the force. The force has a good understanding of the communities it serves and uses a range of methods to engage with the people in its local neighbourhoods, seek their views and keep them informed.

Gwent Police complies with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, and use of Taser is fair and appropriate.

This is the first time HMIC has graded forces on their legitimacy, so no year-on-year comparison is possible.

Leadership

Gwent Police is a well led force. The force has communicated clearly its future plans and priorities, which are linked to its new operating model.

The force has yet to develop a broad understanding of the capacity and capability of its leadership at all levels. It has limited processes in place to develop talented individuals within the organisation.

Insights from other inspections

HMIC undertakes other inspections in addition to the PEEL programme. Since the last PEEL assessment there have been five reports published on inspections that included Gwent Police. More detail on some of these inspections can be found under the Other inspections section.

Looking ahead to PEEL 2016

In the year ahead, I will be interested to see how the force responds to this assessment, and to the areas for improvement that HMIC has identified in the last year.

I will be particularly interested to see:

  • how the force assesses the success of the new force operating model in meeting the needs of the public;
  • the continued improvement of the Gwent Missing Children’s Hub. This is a multi-agency unit, solving problems in relation to children who go missing, such as inadequate communication between agencies and a lack of understanding about why children run away; and
  • the development of ‘problem profiles’, to help to understand fully the extent to which the most vulnerable people are affected by all areas of police business.

In May 2016, like the majority of forces in England and Wales, the force will see the second elections for its police and crime commissioner.

Effectiveness

How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 18/02/2016
Good

HMIC judges that Gwent Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. With strong support from partners, the force is effective at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. Good progress has been made since investigations of crime were found to require improvement in 2014; the force now manages investigations effectively. Similar improvements have been made in how the force protects vulnerable people form harm. They are now more readily identified and receive better support. The force understands and responds to serious and organised crime well. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so a year-on-year comparison is not possible.

Os hoffech chi ddarllen hwn trwy’r Gymraeg

Overall Gwent Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force prevents crime and anti-social behaviour effectively, and these are clear priorities for the force. These priorities are well understood by officers and staff who work closely with other organisations to solve problems in their neighbourhoods. Early intervention work to steer young people away from a life of crime is a major part of this approach.

When a crime has occurred, the force carries out high-quality investigations. This includes making sure victims are safe and keeping them informed about how their cases are progressing. The force works well to identify, investigate and bring dangerous and prolific offenders to justice. Preventing the most prolific criminals from committing further crime is central to the force’s efforts to protect communities.

Increasingly the force is focusing on so-called hidden crimes such as domestic abuse and child sexual exploitation in order to protect the most vulnerable people. The investigations into crimes and incidents involving vulnerable groups were judged as good in an HMIC inspection published in December 2015.

The force has a good understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime; however this understanding would be enhanced if more work was done with partner organisations to jointly assess the harm that organised crime groups can cause in communities.

A combination of highly-skilled and experienced staff in Gwent and collaborative working arrangements with neighbouring police forces provide a firm platform from which to disrupt and deter serious and organised crime.

The force has arrangements in place to ensure it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities.

 

View the four questions for effectiveness

Efficiency

How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 20/10/2015
Good

HMIC found that Gwent Police is well prepared to face its future financial challenges. Through robust financial management and a commitment to continuous improvement, it has successfully reduced its spending over the last spending review period, improved its understanding of demand, introduced a new operating model and is effectively planning for future financial challenges. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the first spending review period, Gwent Police was judged to require improvement.

Os hoffech chi ddarllen hwn trwy’r Gymraeg

HMIC judges Gwent Police to be good. The force is developing a good knowledge of the public demand on its services, along with ways to understand better the demand in more specialist crime areas, such as cyber-related crime.

This improved understanding has enabled the force to identify areas where it can manage demand better, so it can focus resources on priority areas of policing. This understanding has also been used to design the new operating model.

HMIC is impressed with the quality of the work that has gone into planning the new structure. More police officers have been put into frontline roles, and resources have been allocated based on demand, with additional resources directed at areas with the greatest needs. The force could improve how it assesses whether the operating model is meeting the needs of the public with better information about how well it responds to calls from the public.

Gwent Police has successfully reduced its spending over the last four years. As a result of the significant steps forward this year in implementing plans for savings, the force expects to have surplus savings of £5.6m, which it plans to hold in reserves for future use.

There are well-developed plans in place to achieve most of the future anticipated savings through to 2019/20. The operating model is flexible and there are further potential savings from continuing to remove inefficiencies and improve processes.

This is a considerable improvement on the position last year, and has provided HMIC with a far greater degree of confidence in the force’s financial position in the short, medium and longer term.

 

View the three questions for efficiency

Legitimacy

How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 11/02/2016
Good

Gwent Police is making clear efforts to develop and maintain an ethical working environment across the force. The force has a good understanding of the communities it serves and uses a range of methods to engage with the people in its local neighbourhoods, seek their views and keep them informed.

Gwent Police complies with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, and use of Taser is fair and appropriate.

This is the first time HMIC has graded forces on their legitimacy, so no year-on-year comparison is possible.

Os hoffech chi ddarllen hwn trwy’r Gymraeg

HMIC found that Gwent’s chief officer team is respected by staff and members are engaging well with the workforce, setting out their vision and values, to develop and maintain an ethical working environment. This has created a confident, engaged workforce that felt able to influence and improve its service to the public.

The force has undertaken awareness raising and training programmes to promote the Code of Ethics, to integrate ethical considerations into day-to-day decision-making. Complaints and misconduct cases are dealt with in a fair and consistent manner and lessons learned are identified and disseminated to improve practice.

When HMIC looked at how well the force understands and engages with all the people it serves, we found that officers and staff use a range of methods to effectively engage with local communities, understand their needs and keep people informed. As a result, we are satisfied that Gwent Police has a good understanding of the needs of its communities and local people are being treated fairly and with respect.

Stop and search and Taser are two ways that the police can prevent crime and protect the public. However, they can be intrusive and forceful methods, and it is therefore vital that the police use them fairly and appropriately. Gwent Police is compliant with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme; although more work is needed to ensure that stop and search records contain the required “reasonable grounds”.

The ways that Taser officers are selected and trained are measured and consistent, and HMIC considers Taser use is fair and appropriate. Taser-trained officers have a good understanding of the National Decision Model (the framework by which all policing decisions should be made, examined and challenged), but more work is needed to ensure its use is properly recorded on the Taser forms.

View the four questions for legitimacy

Other inspections

How well has the force performed in our other inspections?

In addition to the three core PEEL pillars, HMIC carries out inspections of a wide range of policing activity throughout the year. Some of these are conducted alongside the PEEL inspections (for instance, our 2016 leadership assessment); others are joint inspections.

Findings from these inspections are published separately to the main PEEL reports, but are taken into account when producing the rounded assessment of each force's performance.

Leadership

Last updated 25/02/2016

As part of HMIC’s annual all-force inspections into police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy (PEEL) in 2015, HMIC assessed how well led forces are at every rank and grade of the organisation and across all areas inspected in PEEL. We reviewed how well a force understands and is developing its leaders; whether it has set a clear and compelling future direction; and how well it motivates and engages the workforce.

Gwent Police is a well led force, though the force could make improvements in some areas. The force has communicated clearly its future plans and priorities, which are linked to its new operating model, though this model has been in place for a short time and has yet to be evaluated, recent inspections conducted by HMIC indicate that it is working effectively and places more officers on frontline duties.

The force has yet to develop a broad understanding of the capacity and capability of its leadership at all levels, and only has limited processes in place to develop talented individuals within the organisation or to develop those officers or staff who are already in leadership positions.

Os hoffech chi ddarllen hwn trwy’r Gymraeg

View the four questions for leadership

Other reports

Last updated 22/02/2016

This section sets out the reports published by HMIC this year that help to better understand the performance of Gwent Police.

View other reports

Key facts

Force Area

599 square miles

Population

0.58m people 4% local 10 yr change

Workforce

78% frontline 78% national level
3.6 per 1000 population 3.6 national level
14% change in local workforce since 2010 15% national change since 2010

Victim-based crimes

0.06 per person 0.05 national level
Local 5 year trend (no change) National 5 year trend (no change)

Cost

59p per person per day local 55p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

Gwent is culturally and economically diverse with rural and urban areas. Its growing population includes some of the most deprived Welsh communities.

Gwent Police has improved performance with a reduced workforce and places high emphasis on protecting the vulnerable and strengthening partnership working.

Police and crime plan priorities

  1. To deliver the best quality of service available
  2. To prevent and reduce crime
  3. To take more effective action to tackle antisocial behaviour
  4. To protect people from serious harm
  5. To make the most of the resources and provide value for money