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North Yorkshire 2015

Read more about North Yorkshire 2015

This is HMIC’s second assessment of the effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy with which North Yorkshire 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 North Yorkshire Police is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.

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

The extent to which North Yorkshire 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 North Yorkshire Police’s performance this year, including exceptional events and where I would like to see improvements next year.

Michael Cunningham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary

Read the transcript of the video

Contact Michael Cunningham

HMI’s observations

I am very pleased with the performance of North Yorkshire Police in keeping people safe and reducing crime.

I was impressed by the way the force works with partners to tackle local problems, and also by the understanding throughout the force of the importance of preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. The force has made significant strides this year to improve the quality of its crime investigations. It works well with others to manage repeat, dangerous and sexual offenders. However, it needs to ensure that it provides a consistent quality service to the most vulnerable people, including victims of domestic abuse.

The force has successfully reduced its spending in such a way that protects local policing and now plans to realign its services with the boundaries of the North Yorkshire County Council and the City of York Council. I am pleased that it is developing its financial planning and management in order to meet the challenges ahead.

I am satisfied that the force has a good understanding of the needs of the people of North Yorkshire and that most officers and staff treat people fairly and with respect.

Description of force area

North Yorkshire Police provides policing services to the county of North Yorkshire. Although there are some areas of deprivation, North Yorkshire is generally affluent. Around 0.8 million people live in a predominantly rural setting. Its distinct urban areas include the coastal towns of Scarborough and Whitby as well as the city of York. The resident population is increased by university students and the very large numbers who visit or travel through the county each year. The transport infrastructure includes major rail stations.

The proportion of areas in North Yorkshire that are predicted to present a very high challenge to the police is higher than the national average. These are characterised by social deprivation or a concentration of commercial premises (including licensed premises), and in some cases both. Providing services across the entirety of the force area is hindered by the size of the force area and the road network.

Exceptional events

May 2015 saw the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire cycle race, which attracted crowds estimated at over 1.5 million across the three days of the event. Together with colleagues in Humberside and South and West Yorkshire, the force undertook a significant policing operation to ensure the safe passage of the race through the county.

Working arrangements

Forensic services are now provided through collaboration with the other forces in the Yorkshire and Humber region. This has resulted in financial savings and improvements in the timeliness and quality of service. The force is currently exploring opportunities with Cleveland Police and Durham Constabulary with regard to the investigation of serious and specialist, complex crimes.

Effectiveness

In our effectiveness inspection, we judged North Yorkshire Police to be good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Preventing crime and anti-social behaviour is clearly understood throughout the force. It works well with partners to tackle local problems and keep people safe. However, there are some inconsistencies in the way the force protects and supports vulnerable victims. The quality of crime investigation is generally good. The force works well with others to manage repeat, dangerous and sexual offenders. It is good at identifying and disrupting the activity of organised crime groups and it has effective arrangements in place to ensure that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so a year-on-year comparison is not possible.

Efficiency

North Yorkshire Police is adequately prepared to face its future financial challenges. It has successfully reduced its spending over the previous spending review period while working hard to protect local policing. For these reasons the force is graded as good. Future saving plans beyond 2017 are being developed and rely on the force adopting a number of different ways of working. The force does not currently have a formal process for the development of staff, though this is being addressed by the force through the development of its people strategy. This will be vital in ensuring its future workforce has opportunities to develop and progress. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the previous spending review period, North Yorkshire was judged to be good.

Legitimacy

North Yorkshire Police is committed to developing and maintaining an ethical culture, and the chief constable has set out his vision and values for the force, together with expected standards of behaviour. North Yorkshire Police has a good understanding of the needs of its local communities and most officers and staff treat people fairly and with respect.

North Yorkshire Police does not comply with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. The force needs to do more to ensure that its officers understand fully the grounds for stops and searches, record them accurately and are properly supervised. Taser use 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

North Yorkshire Police has communicated realistic future plans and priorities; however, the force needs to do more to understand how this links with the skills and capabilities that it will require from its workforce in the future.

The approach to leadership in North Yorkshire Police has resulted in a strong focus on the priorities of keeping people safe and reducing crime through its ‘people first’ objective. Through this initiative, the force aspires to value, manage and develop its people and promote a culture of trust and innovation to improve its services to the community. To keep senior leaders informed on important issues about future plans and priorities and any changes to the organisation, the force organises leadership days for police staff and officers. The approach to leadership is encouraging, although more work is needed to ensure messages are understood and embedded throughout the organisation.

Insights from other inspections

HMIC undertakes other inspections in addition to the PEEL programme. Since the last PEEL assessment there have been six reports published on inspections that included North Yorkshire 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 the areas for improvement that HMIC has identified in the last year.

I will be particularly interested to see:

  • improvements in how the force deals with vulnerable victims, particularly those who are victims of domestic abuse;
  • improvements in the understanding and use of stop and search; and
  • how restructuring the force to align its services with the boundaries of the North Yorkshire County Council and the City of York Council will improve the service provided to the public.

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

North Yorkshire Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime.

Preventing crime and anti-social behaviour is clearly understood throughout the force. It works well with partners to tackle local problems and keep people safe. However, there are some inconsistencies in the way the force protects and supports vulnerable victims. The quality of crime investigation is generally good. The force works well with others to manage repeat, dangerous and sexual offenders. It is good at identifying and disrupting the activity of organised crime groups and it has effective arrangements in place to ensure that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so a year-on-year comparison is not possible.

There is a clear commitment to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, with a strong focus from the police and crime commissioner and the chief constable to protecting neighbourhood policing. The priority given to crime prevention is well understood by officers and staff across the force. The force works well with other organisations to understand and solve problems in local communities, including intervening early to tackle local concerns and stop problems from escalating.

In the main, the force carries out good quality investigations, including making sure that victims are safe. The force works well to identify, investigate and bring to justice repeat and dangerous offenders and to stop them re-offending.

Although the force has committed significant effort and resources to offer a high quality service to the public, there is some room for improvement in the way it deals with vulnerable victims. It generally works well in identifying those who may be vulnerable at the earliest opportunity and assessing the risk they face in order to provide the most appropriate response. However, there are inconsistencies as to who deals with victims of domestic abuse and the quality of service they receive.

The force has made good progress in developing joint working arrangements with local partner organisations but further work is needed to ensure that all relevant organisations are contributing to joint work.

The force has a good understanding of the threat and risk posed by serious and organised crime to the communities of North Yorkshire. It has well established and effective ways of identifying and disrupting their activities. The force has good arrangements in place to ensure that 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 North Yorkshire Police is adequately prepared to face its future financial challenges. It has successfully reduced its spending over the last spending review period while working hard to protect local policing. For these reasons the force is graded as good. Future saving plans beyond 2017 are being developed and rely on the force adopting a number of different ways of working. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the first spending review period, North Yorkshire was judged to be good.

HMIC judges North Yorkshire Police to be good. The force continues to make good progress in achieving its plans to address reductions in funding, though its plans for the future are being developed.

The force understands its current demand and is finding new ways of working to reduce it, including through working with other organisations. It will need to fulfil its commitment to consider the level and complexity of future demand if it is to maintain the quality of its services with a shrinking workforce.

The force is investing in a significant IT project to develop new ways of working to improve the quality of services it provides to the public, including staff having access to force systems via mobile devices.

The force’s operating model matches current demand, organisational and financial requirements. Given the need for future savings, the force will have to ensure any new operating model will provide affordable and sustainable services in the future.

The force has identified its future workforce numbers through to 2019, with anticipated reductions in the number of both police officers and police staff.

The force needs to ensure its workforce is provided with clear and consistent messages about such changes, including providing opportunities for full and meaningful consultation.

The force has a secure financial position for the short term. Through prudent budget management the force has achieved all of the savings required over the last spending review period and has set a balanced budget for 2015/16 without having to use its reserves.

The force is anticipating that it will have to find further savings of £25.9 million between 2016/17 to 2019/20 and has developed an affordability plan for savings over this period. The plans for the savings required in 2016/2017 are still being finalised, although the force is confident that these will be achieved. Future saving plans beyond 2017 are being developed and rely on the force adopting a number of different ways of working.

 

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

HMIC found that North Yorkshire Police is committed to developing and maintaining an ethical culture, and the chief constable has set out his vision and values for the force, and expected standards of behaviour. We are satisfied that North Yorkshire Police has a good understanding of the needs of its local communities and that most officers and staff treat people fairly and with respect.

North Yorkshire Police complies almost completely with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. However, much more needs to be done to ensure that the grounds for stops and searches are fully understood, recorded accurately and properly supervised. Taser use is fair and appropriate.

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

HMIC found that North Yorkshire Police is committed to developing and maintaining an ethical culture. The chief constable has set out his vision and values for the force, and expected standards of behaviour. A number of methods have been used to communicate this to staff, but we found the level of understanding is inconsistent.

Officers and staff told us that they feel valued, and would be confident and willing to challenge decisions and unethical behaviour. We found a good understanding of the Code of Ethics and it has been incorporated into force policies, procedures and some training courses.

When HMIC looked at how well the force understands and successfully engages with all the people it serves, we found that officers and staff engage positively with the communities they serve. This enables them to understand the issues affecting local people and keep them informed of action taken to resolve problems. As a result we are satisfied that North Yorkshire Police has a good understanding of the needs of its local communities, and that most officers and staff treat people 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 the police use them fairly and appropriately. HMIC found that North Yorkshire Police complies almost completely with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. However, much more needs to be done to ensure that the grounds for stops and searches are fully understood, recorded accurately and properly supervised.

Taser information is published on the force website, and HMIC concluded that its use is fair and appropriate.

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.

North Yorkshire Police’s chief officer team has demonstrated clear and effective leadership and has a fair understanding of the force’s current capacity and capability. We found a good understanding of how leadership is perceived across the organisation, which the force gained in part by holding senior leadership days.

The force uses senior leadership days, among other communication methods, to communicate the force’s plans and priorities, though the over-reliance on this method has not provided clear, consistent and timely messages to the workforce. HMIC found that messages on the force’s plans and priorities had not reached the whole workforce, and were often misunderstood.

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 North Yorkshire Police.

View other reports

Key facts

Force Area

3208 square miles

Population

0.81m people 5% local 10 yr change

Workforce

75% frontline 78% national level
3.2 per 1000 population 3.6 national level
9% change in local workforce since 2010 15% national change since 2010

Victim-based crimes

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

Cost

48p per person per day local 55p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

A very large predominantly rural area that nonetheless encompasses urban centres with a vibrant night-time economy and ‘city’ patterns of demand.

Almost twenty percent of offenders reside outside of the county. ANPR technology is helping the force to disrupt cross-border criminality.

Police and crime plan priorities

In North Yorkshire we are doing things differently. Our focus is not on statistics but on outcomes: to improve the services for victims of crime and anti-social behaviour, to ensure North Yorkshire is one of the safest counties in England, and to ensure we provide the most responsive police services.