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Wiltshire 2015

Read more about Wiltshire 2015

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

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

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

Wendy Williams, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary

Read the transcript of the video

Contact Wendy Williams

HMI’s observations

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

The force is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Standards of investigation are generally high and the force works effectively with partners to manage the most harmful offenders. While the force is committed to protecting vulnerable people, some improvements are needed in its understanding of, and response to, missing children.

The force has improved its understanding of the demand for its services. It is trialling a new operating model which relies on the extensive use of mobile information technology by its entire workforce, with the ambition of further improving the force’s effectiveness and efficiency. The leaders of the force are changing the organisation’s culture by developing their people and leadership capabilities which will help to support new ways of working.

I am pleased with the way that Wiltshire engages and works closely with the communities it serves. The force also has good processes for understanding and managing the wellbeing of its workforce.

Description of force area

Wiltshire Police provides policing services to the county of Wiltshire. There are areas of deprivation and areas of affluence in Wiltshire. Around 0.7 million people live in a predominantly rural setting. Its numerous small urban areas include the city of Salisbury and the town of Swindon. The resident population is increased by the large numbers who visit or travel through the area each year.

The proportion of areas in Wiltshire shows that the proportion of areas 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 road network.

Exceptional events

Wiltshire Police had to deal with a number of high-profile investigations into allegations of historic sexual abuse. The force has also investigated allegations of historic sexual abuse in children’s homes.

Working arrangements

Wiltshire Police is involved in a number of operational collaborations with the other south west forces. These include the provision of services to investigate major crime, and a tri-force collaboration with Gloucestershire Constabulary and Avon and Somerset Constabulary, for roads policing, firearms and police dogs. The force is also part of a joint forensic services collaboration, and a regional intelligence and serious organised crime and counter-terrorism alliance with the four other forces in the south west. The force is also in the process of considering the business case for entering into a strategic alliance with Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

A review of the organisational hierarchy resulted in the removal of the chief inspector and chief superintendent ranks and is considering removing the deputy chief constable rank. This change does not appear to have adversely affected performance in the force and, if anything, appears to have improved the flow of communication within the organisation.

The chief constable is a new appointment for 2015.

Effectiveness

In our effectiveness inspection, we judged Wiltshire Police to be good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. In terms of preventing crime the force operates effectively and standards of investigation are generally high. Furthermore the force works well with partners to manage the most harmful offenders. The force is clearly committed to protecting the vulnerable; however some improvements are needed in its understanding of, and response to, missing children. There are good arrangements in place to tackle serious and organised crime. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so a year-on-year comparison is not possible.

Efficiency

HMIC found that Wiltshire Police is well prepared to face its future financial challenges. The force had successfully reduced its spending over the last spending review period, improved its understanding of the demand on its services, is currently trialling a new operating model and is planning effectively for future financial challenges. It has done this through robust financial management and a commitment to continuously improving services. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the previous spending review period, Wiltshire Police was judged to be good.

Legitimacy

HMIC found that chief officers promote ethical behaviour and there is an established force ethics board that informs policy making. The force has good processes for understanding and managing the wellbeing of its workforce. Wiltshire Police engages well with the communities it serves.

The force is not compliant with many aspects of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. However, HMIC is satisfied that on the whole Taser is being used fairly and appropriately by Wiltshire Police.

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

Leadership

Wiltshire Police has a broad understanding of the current state of leadership in the force, and is taking steps to understand it further. The force actively seeks feedback from the workforce, via a range of methods, about how its officers and staff perceive their leaders.

The senior team has a clear sense of the force’s direction; but this message has not successfully reached all levels of the organisation. That said, the force has successful leadership training programmes in place and there is good evidence that the force understands the value of developing diverse leadership teams, in terms of experience, background and skills.

Insights from other inspections

HMIC undertakes other inspections in addition to the PEEL programme. Since the last PEEL assessment there have been four reports published on inspections that included Wiltshire 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 cause of concern and areas for improvement that HMIC has identified in the last year.

I will be particularly interested to see:

  • the force’s response to missing and absent children;
  • compliance with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme; and
  • the longer-term impact on services of removing the chief inspector, chief superintendent and (if applicable) deputy chief constable ranks from the management structure.

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

Overall Wiltshire Police is judged to be good at keeping people safe and reducing crime.

In terms of preventing crime the force operates effectively and standards of investigation are generally high. Furthermore the force works well with partners to manage the most harmful offenders. The force is clearly committed to protecting the vulnerable; however some improvements are needed in its understanding of, and response to, missing children. There are good arrangements in place to tackle serious and organised crime. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so a year-on-year comparison is not possible.

Force priorities demonstrate a strong commitment to reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, protecting the vulnerable and reducing offending. This is well understood across the force at all levels but in particular by those involved in neighbourhood policing.

When a crime occurs it is effectively allocated and investigated. The quality of investigations is generally good and the skills of the officers are well matched to the cases they investigate. The force also has good arrangements to tackle repeat offenders and to manage those individuals who present a risk to the public. Nevertheless there are some areas for improvement; supervision of investigations is inconsistent and there are delays in the force’s procedures to retrieve digital evidence from smartphones, tablets and other devices. A backlog in these procedures undermines the effectiveness of investigations. The force has good arrangements to tackle repeat offenders and to manage those individuals who present a risk to the public.

Protecting vulnerable people is a priority for the force. There are systems in place to prioritise resources in areas of risk and vulnerability and to provide care and support for victims of crime. The force has good arrangements with partner services to support vulnerable victims. However the accurate identification of the risks faced by missing children and providing help to frequent absconders are areas where the force could do more. This is an area where the force is judge to require improvement.

The force has a well-developed understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime and is building on current relationships with other agencies to improve its understanding even further. The force has good processes in place to investigate and disrupt those individuals involved in this type of criminality.

The force also has good arrangements in place for fulfilling 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 Wiltshire Police is well prepared to face its future financial challenges. The force has successfully reduced its spending over the last spending review period, improved its understanding of the demand on its services, is trialling a new operating model and is planning effectively for future financial challenges. It has done this through robust financial management and a commitment to continuously improving services. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the first spending review period, Wiltshire Police was judged to be good.

HMIC judges Wiltshire Police to be good. The force has a good understanding of the current demand on its services and is able to match resources to that demand.

The force realises it will need to change to meet future demand and maintain a good quality service with a reduced budget. The force has completed a well-developed assessment of current demand on its services and has been able to change processes, working practices and introduce technology to meet this demand. This has helped shape the design of a new operating model, which will be piloted from September 2015. The pilot will be assessed on how efficiently demand is met, quality of service and level of savings made and, if successful, will be rolled out across the force.

The force has previously collaborated with Wiltshire County Council and other forces in the region but is now in the early stages of developing a wider-ranging strategic alliance with Avon and Somerset Constabulary to provide greater operational resilience and achieve future savings.

The current workforce model allows the force to meet demand from calls for service and is currently being reviewed using the Systems Thinking Operation Project (STOP) team to gain a better understanding of the workforce required to meet that demand. The significant lead in time to effectively develop the skills and capability, rather than the numbers or capacity, of its workforce means that the force should be looking to rapidly develop its plans.

The force is in a good financial position with strong financial management. It has met its savings requirements under the spending review for 2014/2015 and has a balanced budget for 2015/2016 that has identified its savings requirement and is well on the way to achieving this. However, savings in subsequent years are heavily dependent on efficiencies from the new operating model and the strategic alliance with Avon and Somerset Constabulary, neither of which are currently certain.

 

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 chief officers promote ethical behaviour and there is an established force ethics board that informs policy making. The force has good processes for understanding and managing the wellbeing of its workforce. We considered that Wiltshire Police engages well with the communities it serves.

The force is not compliant with many aspects of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. HMIC is satisfied that on the whole Taser is being used fairly and appropriately by Wiltshire Police.

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

We found chief officers in Wiltshire Police promote a culture of professionalism and ethical behaviour. There is an established force ethics board that contributes to leadership development and training, and informs policies and practices.

The force has good processes for understanding and managing the wellbeing of its workforce and it has developed a values-based appraisal system and more transparent procedures for promotion and selection. While not all staff could describe the Code of Ethics in detail, we found evidence of the code being considered in decision-making and the design of policies, and it features within training courses.

When HMIC looked at how well the force understands and successfully engages with all the people it serves, we found the force has implemented a ‘people and culture’ high level plan that sets out how officers and staff should interact with the public. The force and police and crime commissioner also carry out consultation to understand the views of local communities. The force uses volunteers in a number of roles and the force’s ‘people first’ values emphasise the need for fairness and 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 Wiltshire Police is not compliant with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. Notably, it has not carried out work to understand why members of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities in Wiltshire are more likely to be searched or arrested following a search. We found that Taser is being used fairly and appropriately.

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.

Wiltshire Police has a broad understanding of its current leadership in the force, and is taking steps to understand it further. The force actively seeks feedback from the workforce about how its officers and staff perceive their leaders using a range of methods to do this and it responds to any concerns raised.

The senior team has a clear sense of the force’s direction however, this message has not successfully reached all levels within the organisation. The force has successful leadership training programmes in place and there is good evidence that the force understands the value of developing diverse leadership teams, in terms of experience, background and skills.

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 Wiltshire Police.

View other reports

Key facts

Force Area

1,346 square miles

Population

0.70m people 11% local 10 yr change

Workforce

74% frontline 78% national level
2.9 per 1000 population 3.6 national level
13% change in local workforce since 2010 15% national change since 2010

Victim-based crimes

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

Cost

42p per person per day local 55p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

Wiltshire is a varied but mainly rural area, with flourishing market villages, strong industrial towns.

Wiltshire has a population of approximately 68,000, with a wide range of socio-economic characteristics including a large military presence.

Police and crime plan priorities

My Police and Crime Plan priorities are:

  • Reduce crime and anti-social behaviour
  • Protect the most vulnerable in society
  • Put victims and witnesses first
  • Reduce offending and re-offending
  • Drive up standards of customer service
  • Ensure unfailing and timely response to calls for assistance