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West Yorkshire 2015

Read more about West Yorkshire 2015

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

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

The extent to which West 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 West 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 West Yorkshire Police in keeping people safe and reducing crime. The improvements that the force has made are noteworthy.

The force is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour and has good arrangements in place to tackle serious and organised crime. Our inspections revealed concerns about the quality and consistency of its investigations, how vulnerable people are kept safe and the accuracy of some risk assessments. I am very pleased with how the force has responded to these findings and the work that it is undertaking to improve these aspects of its performance.

I am impressed by the force’s sustainable and affordable workforce model that organises the staff and officers according to the demands for its services. The leadership provides clear and ambitious direction. The force has a compelling programme of change underway to equip its people with the skills and resources they will need to provide policing services for the future. The innovative use of volunteers and special constables from local communities enhances the diversity of the workforce.

Description of force area

West Yorkshire Police provides policing services to the county of West Yorkshire. Although there are a number of more affluent areas, West Yorkshire has a high level of poverty. Around 2.3 million people mainly live in the urban conurbation which includes the cities of Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford, as well as several large towns surrounded by rural areas. The resident population is ethnically diverse, with 18 percent from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, and is increased by the very large number of students who study in the area’s numerous universities and the large numbers, who visit, socialise, commute into, or travel through the area each year. The transport infrastructure includes major rail stations and an airport.

The proportion of areas in West 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.

Exceptional events

The inaugural Tour de Yorkshire cycle race attracted an estimated 1.5 million spectators during May 2015. A significant policing operation undertaken by West Yorkshire Police and neighbouring police forces ensured the safe passage of the race through the county.

December 2015 saw parts of West Yorkshire suffer from severe weather conditions and flooding. The force was instrumental in protecting life, property and livestock, and in supporting communities across the area.

Working arrangements

The force is the lead force for the National Police Air Service and regional organised crime unit. The force also leads on the forensic services collaboration with the other forces in the Yorkshire and Humber region, providing both financial savings and improvements in the quality of service.

In May 2015, the suspension of the chief constable was lifted and he took up temporary a position with the National Police Chiefs’ Council. West Yorkshire Police currently has a temporary chief constable.

Effectiveness

In our effectiveness inspection, we judged West Yorkshire Police to be good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force works well to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour and on keeping people safe. In some aspects of protecting vulnerable people, and investigating crime and managing offenders, however, the force needs to make improvements. It has good arrangements for tackling serious and organised crime, and effective arrangements are in place to ensure that the force 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

West Yorkshire Police is very well prepared to face its future financial challenges. The force has positioned itself with a good understanding of its current demand but has a less well-developed understanding of its future demand. The force has ambitious plans for the future workforce, including development of its skills and capabilities. The force has balanced the budget and has planned a balanced budget through to 2017/18, although these future plans rely on reserves. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the previous spending review period, West Yorkshire was judged to be good.

Legitimacy

West Yorkshire Police engages well with its workforce. The temporary chief constable and chief officer team have clearly communicated to the workforce the standards expected from them. The force has a programme which sets out how it will develop and support its staff to police to high ethical and professional standards. We were pleased to hear from many of the officers and staff we spoke to that the force listened to its workforce and acted upon the feedback it received. Local police teams have a good understanding of their neighbourhoods and engage positively with local communities.

The force complies with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, and decisions made by Taser-trained officers are generally fair and appropriate.

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

Leadership

West Yorkshire Police has elements of strong leadership in the force although there are areas where they could improve. The force’s scheme to identify and support talented officers and staff is particularly strong. Senior leaders are visible to the workforce and demonstrate effective leadership. The chief officer team communicates and engages well with its officers and staff and through the work of the change programme which is ongoing within the force.

Insights from other inspections

HMIC undertakes other inspections in addition to the PEEL programme. Since the last PEEL assessment there have been seven reports published on inspections that included West 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 at risk of domestic abuse;
  • improvements in the accuracy of risk assessments;
  • the progression of the change programme;
  • improvements in the consistency of the allocation of crimes; and
  • how the temporary chief constable will lead the force to achieve further improvement.

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

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

The force works well to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour and on keeping people safe. In some aspects of protecting vulnerable people, and investigating crime and managing offenders, however, the force needs to make improvements. It is has good arrangements for tackling serious and organised crime, and effective arrangements are in place to ensure that the force 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.

West Yorkshire Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force focuses on preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. The police and crime commissioner and the chief constable are committed to maintaining neighbourhood policing to support their communities. Officers and staff across the force have a good understanding of crime prevention and reducing anti-social behaviour. The force has mature and well-developed partnership working arrangements. These arrangements support a problem-solving approach to both crime and anti-social behaviour, and are also in place for managing repeat and dangerous offenders.

The force has worked hard to improve the way in which it identifies and records crime from the calls it receives from the public. It is improving how it investigates crime. However, the way that the force allocates crimes is inconsistent and needs to improve. The force works well to identify and manage repeat and dangerous offenders and to stop them re-offending.

The force identifies vulnerability and risk at the earliest opportunity, assessing the risks to the community, and working hard to provide an appropriate response to support them. HMIC did however find inconsistencies as to who deals with domestic abuse. The force works well with partner agencies to provide support and safeguard those who have been victims of domestic abuse along with children and young people.

West Yorkshire Police is good at tackling serious and organised crime. The force understands the threat and risk this could pose to the community. It has the necessary arrangement 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 West Yorkshire Police is very well prepared to face its future financial challenges. The force has positioned itself with a good understanding of its current demand but has a less well-developed understanding of its future demand. The force has ambitious plans for the future workforce, including development of its skills and capabilities. The force has balanced the budget and has planned a balanced budget through to 2017/18, although future plans rely on reserves to balance the budget. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the first spending review period, West Yorkshire was judged to be good.

HMIC judges West Yorkshire Police to be good. West Yorkshire Police has robust management of its current demand, its finances and programme of change. However, future planning, particularly beyond 2017, is less well developed.

The force has a good understanding of its current demand, having undertaken work to review and map the different areas of demand it faces and allocating current resources flexibly to meet it. There is less well-developed analysis of future demand, which may impact on the future direction and capability of the force.

There is a significant and ambitious programme of change being undertaken by West Yorkshire Police to review and remodel the force to improve its efficiency and to enable it to meet future financial requirements. This change is being implemented using a range of business processes and working with academic partners to undertake a cultural audit and ensure the implementation of change is embraced by the whole force.

There is a clear and impressive workforce plan, which recognises the need to develop the skills of officers and staff. The force has a vision to equip staff to provide policing services through its ‘People Ambition’, which has seven strands including leadership, ethics and integrity and well-being.

The force has planned overall staffing levels to 2020, though the division of resources between the functions in the new operating model has not yet been decided.

The force has effective financial controls, with an agreed three year balanced budget to 2017/18. The force models possible future financial scenarios and updates this as new information becomes available. There has been considerable investment in technology and new ways of working to improve efficiency and visibility.

 

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

West Yorkshire Police is graded as good because we found it takes seriously the need for an ethical and inclusive workforce. Local police teams have a good understanding of their neighbourhoods and engage positively with the public.

The force is compliant with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, and decisions made by Taser-trained officers are generally fair and appropriate.

Overall, HMIC is satisfied that West Yorkshire Police meets the public expectation that a force should be legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime.

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

HMIC found that, in West Yorkshire Police, there is good engagement with the workforce. The force’s ‘People Ambition’ programme effectively sets out how the force supports its staff in policing in an ethical manner. The Code of Ethics is promoted by the force and appropriately incorporated into force policies.

However, we found that the processes used to deal with complaints and misconduct allegations may have led to inconsistencies in the way complaints were being investigated and resolved.

When HMIC looked at how well the force understands and successfully engages with all the people it serves, we found that most officers and staff, in the main, engage fairly and positively with the public and understand their needs, although the approach to engaging with people of Eastern European origin needs to be developed. As a result we are satisfied that the force generally has a good understanding of the needs of local people and that most officers 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 the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme is being complied with by West Yorkshire Police and oversight of the use of Taser is effective and its use is mainly fair and appropriate. HMIC concluded that the force is compliant with the best use of stop and search scheme and its use of Taser is effective and mainly 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.

West Yorkshire Police has elements of strong leadership in the force although there are areas where it could improve. The force’s scheme to identify and support talented officers and staff is particularly strong. Senior leaders are visible to the workforce and demonstrate effective leadership. The chief officer team communicates and engages well with its officers and staff and through the work of the change programme which is ongoing within the force.

Leadership in West Yorkshire Police has resulted in a stronger focus on improving the legitimacy of the force, in the way it keeps people safe and reduces crime.

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 West Yorkshire Police.

View other reports

Key facts

Force Area

783 square miles

Population

2.26m people 7% local 10 yr change

Workforce

81% frontline 78% national level
3.7 per 1000 population 3.6 national level
18% 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 area has diverse and complex communities generating high demands in relation to crime, calls for service and anti-social behaviours.

The force hosts the National Police Air Service and the North East Counter Terrorism Unit. It also leads regions scientific support services.

Police and crime plan priorities

  1. Communities in West Yorkshire are safer and feel safer
  2. Crime and re-offending is reduced
  3. Anti-social behaviour is reduced
  4. Victims and witnesses are supported
  5. Local, regional and national threats, risks and harm are tackled
  6. Criminal justice system is effective and efficient
  7. Communities are listened to and involved
  8. The police and partners are resourced