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South Yorkshire 2015

Read more about South Yorkshire 2015

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

The extent to which South Yorkshire Police is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime requires improvement.

The extent to which South 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 South 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 satisfied with some aspects of the performance of South Yorkshire Police in keeping people safe and reducing crime, but there are also areas in need of improvement in order to provide a consistently good service.

I have been impressed by the manner in which South Yorkshire Police continues to manage the current reaction to the legacies of the Hillsborough tragedy, and child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

The force is generally good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. It works well with others and has an effective approach to crime prevention, tackling anti-social behaviour and disrupting the activity of organised crime groups. However, the force’s approach to investigating crime and managing offenders requires improvement.

Our inspection found that the quality and consistency of how the force assesses and responds to the risks to vulnerable people needs to be improved. The force has taken positive steps to improve how it identifies and protects vulnerable people. This includes the identification and protection of vulnerable children at risk of harm, and the force’s response to victims of domestic abuse. I welcome the positive response that the force has made to these findings.

South Yorkshire Police has a good understanding of the demand on its services. It has a balanced budget and a good track record of achieving savings, with plans in place for future savings. The force is meeting the operational demands from historic investigations into sexual offences and associated demonstrations. It has also improved its welfare provision for current and former staff. However, I am concerned that the financial burden of these legacies is a risk to South Yorkshire Police’s financial plans and the force’s long term sustainability.

The force has made good progress during 2015 in implementing its new operating model and is working closely with Humberside Police. It engages well with the communities of South Yorkshire through social media and tailored communication with groups for whom English is not their first language.

Description of force area

South Yorkshire Police provides policing services to the county of South Yorkshire. Although there are a small number of affluent areas, South Yorkshire has a high level of poverty. Around 1.4 million people mainly live in the urban centres which include the city of Sheffield and the towns of Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley. The resident population is increased by university students and the large numbers who visit, socialise in, commute into, or travel through the county each year. The transport infrastructure includes major rail stations and an airport.

The proportion of areas in South Yorkshire 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.

Exceptional events

South Yorkshire Police continues to manage the current reaction to the legacies of the Hillsborough tragedy and child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

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 West and North Yorkshire, the force undertook a significant policing operation to ensure the safe passage of the race through the county.

Working arrangements

The force has entered into a strategic partnership with Humberside Police. The two forces have joint human resources, information technology and finance departments. The two forces are also considering further collaboration to provide all policing functions, apart from local policing and the role of the chief constable.

Effectiveness

In our effectiveness inspection, we judged South Yorkshire Police to require improvement in the way in which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force works well to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour and to keep most people safe. However, the force needs to improve its response to domestic abuse victims with more consistent and thorough processes. Similarly, it could improve how it investigates crime and manages offenders. It is good at tackling serious and organised crime, and understands its capability to address national threats. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so comparison of their year-on-year effectiveness is not possible.

Efficiency

South Yorkshire Police is partly prepared to face its future financial challenges. The force has a good understanding of the demand on its services. It has balanced the budget and has a good track record of achieving savings with plans in place for future savings. However, HMIC has concerns that the force’s future plans and financial position may not be able to sustain effective policing in the long term. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the previous spending review period, South Yorkshire was judged to be good.

Legitimacy

South Yorkshire Police has effectively promoted an ethical culture and standards through its FIRST principles (fairness, integrity, respect, standards and trust), which it uses to guide officers and staff. The force effectively uses a wide range of approaches to engage with the diverse communities it serves.

South Yorkshire Police complies with most aspects of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, and the 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

South Yorkshire Police has provided clear expectations of its workforce and has decided on clear and ambitious future plans and priorities.

Senior officers engage with the workforce in a number of formal and informal ways. However, many of the workforce still feel that they do not see enough of senior leaders and would welcome more regular updates from chief officers on the longer-term vision for the force.

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 South 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 causes of concern and areas for improvement that HMIC has identified in the last year.

I will be particularly interested to see:

  • the continued improvement in the force’s response to child sexual exploitation;
  • improvement in the force’s response to victims of domestic abuse;
  • how the collaboration with Humberside Police provides an improved level of service to the public at a reduced cost; and
  • how the force continues to respond to the legacy issues.

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
Requires improvement

South Yorkshire Police requires improvement at keeping people safe and reducing crime.

The force works well to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour and to keep most people safe. However, in some aspects of protecting vulnerable people from harm and supporting victims, it could do better. Similarly, how it investigates crime and manages offenders, could improve. It is good at tackling serious and organised crime, and understands its capability to address national threats. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so comparison of their
year-on-year effectiveness is not possible.

The force engages well with communities and uses the full range of available legal powers to tackle organised crime groups and associated low-level crime, and anti-social behaviour. It works effectively with partners to prevent crime and to tackle anti-social behaviour. The force is making effective use of technology so that officers make best use of their time in those areas with a high concentration of anti-social behaviour and crime.

However, the force needs to improve the way it investigates crime. The responses to reports of crime are delayed sometimes and this, together with a lack of capacity in the major crime team, affects adversely the quality of investigation. While the main lines of enquiry are usually identified and pursued, few investigation plans, little or no evidence of supervision, and limited victim contact are recorded on the crime management system. In contrast, the force has good working arrangements with partner organisations to manage offenders and to divert people away from the criminal justice system.

South Yorkshire Police requires improvement in the way it protects vulnerable people and supports victims. Child sexual exploitation and missing persons are a priority for the force, and it has good systems in place to respond to repeat and vulnerable victims, children who go missing, and child sexual exploitation. However, the force needs to improve how it identifies and addresses risks to domestic abuse victims and their children.

The force responds well to the threat from serious and organised crime and has effective arrangements in place to meet 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
Requires improvement

HMIC found that South Yorkshire Police is partly prepared to face its future financial challenges. The force has a good understanding of the demand on its services. It has balanced the budget and has a good track record of achieving savings with plans in place for future savings. However, HMIC has concerns that the force’s future plans and financial position may not be able to sustain effective policing in the long term. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the first spending review period, South Yorkshire was judged to be good.

HMIC judges South Yorkshire Police to require improvement. The force has successfully reduced its spending by £49m over the last spending review period and has plans in place to address further savings requirements. The force has a good understanding of the demand facing frontline policing and there is evidence of some new work with partners to better manage demand. There is clear workforce planning in place and the force is changing the way it delivers policing.

However, the current plans to reduce costs are reliant on fully implementing the new operating model for local policing, achieving efficiency gains from better use of new technology and better management of demand, together with ambitious plans for much greater collaboration with Humberside Police. The force expects the implementation of new technology through its partnership with Humberside Police to enable a reduced workforce to work more efficiently away from police stations. There can be no certainty that the force will achieve the necessary savings within the required timescale.

If these changes are implemented then the force will see a significant number of police staff leaving the organisation in a very short timescale. The force has not fully evaluated the impact of the anticipated workforce reductions on its ability to meet demand in the future and there is a risk the force will lose capability in specialist and support services.

South Yorkshire Police faces an uncertain financial position for the short and long term with continuing costs arising from the HiIlsborough inquest and investigations of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham. Its reserves provide only a limited cushion to manage these costs. The force recognises the risks presented to its long term financial plans but HMIC remains concerned that the force has not yet fully explored all available funding options for the medium and long term presented by a possible shortfall in its budget.

 

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

South Yorkshire Police effectively promotes an ethical culture and standards through its FIRST principles (fairness, integrity, respect, standards and trust), which it uses to guide officers and staff. The force effectively uses a wide range of approaches to engage with the diverse communities it serves.

While South Yorkshire Police is complying with most aspects of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, it is not complying with the requirement to record and publish the full range of outcomes required by the scheme, including the connection, if any, between the outcome and the item searched for. 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.

South Yorkshire Police effectively promotes an ethical culture and standards through its FIRST principles (fairness, integrity, respect, standards and trust), which it uses to guide officers and staff. These principles were updated following the introduction of the Code of Ethics, and a decision was made to run them both in tandem. The force introduced a health, wellbeing and resilience plan in 2013, and to support this, the force operates a wellbeing calendar, with focus being placed on a different area of wellbeing at different times of the year.

When HMIC looked at how well the force understands and engages with all the people it serves, we found that South Yorkshire Police understands the importance of legitimacy and the role effective public engagement has in ensuring people have confidence in the police.

The force effectively uses a wide range of approaches to engage with the diverse communities it serves. A new force website is being developed to provide more information to the public and help record public views. The force provides sufficient feedback to the public and appropriately encourages the public to participate in policing activities.

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. HMIC found that while South Yorkshire Police is complying with most aspects of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, it is not complying with the requirement to record and publish the full range of outcomes as required by the scheme, including the connection, if any, between the outcome and the item searched for. Taser 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.

South Yorkshire Police has provided clear expectations of its workforce and has decided on clear and ambitious future plans and priorities. Chief officers have needed to demonstrate that the force has learnt from and is improving, given the focus on issues such as the Hillsborough enquiry and child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

Senior officers engage with the workforce in a number of formal and informal ways. However, many staff still feel that they do not see enough of senior leaders and would welcome more regular updates from chief officers on the longer-term vision for the force.

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 South Yorkshire Police.

View other reports

Key facts

Force Area

599 square miles

Population

1.37m people 7% local 10 yr change

Workforce

73% frontline 78% national level
3.5 per 1000 population 3.6 national level
16% 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 National 5 year trend (no change)

Cost

51p per person per day local 55p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

The force remains fully committed to tackling child sexual exploitation and all sexual offences and is relentlessly pursuing prosecutions.

The force is working towards more wide-ranging strategic partnership with Humberside Police in the provision of supporting and specialist policing services.

Police and crime plan priorities

Current Police and Crime Plan priorities are;

  1. Reducing Crime and ASB
  2. Protecting Vulnerable People
  3. Improving Visible Policing

These priorities are currently subject to review by the newly elected PCC Alan Billings.