North Wales 2016Read more about North Wales 2016
This is HMIC’s third PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of North Wales Police. PEEL is designed to give the public information about how their local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year. The assessment is updated throughout the year with our inspection findings and reports.
The extent to which the force is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
The extent to which the force is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
The extent to which the force is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime requires improvement.
The effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy inspection findings are published below. My overall assessment of North Wales’ performance will be published in March 2017.
Wendy Williams, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
North Wales has been assessed as good in respect of its effectiveness at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force has an effective approach to preventing and investigating crime, and it is good at tackling serious and organised crime. However, it needs to improve the support and safeguarding it provides to vulnerable people. Our overall judgment this year is an improvement on last year, when we judged the force to require improvement in respect of effectiveness.
North Wales Police is good at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. It has worked hard to solve problems, consulting the public in order to understand the threats and risks faced by ordinary people.
The force is good at investigating crime and reducing re-offending. It has recognised the need to understand vulnerability in its area. It works with determination to ensure that offenders are brought to justice. The majority of investigations are allocated to appropriately skilled officers and staff.
North Wales Police requires improvement at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm and supporting victims. The force is good at understanding the nature and scale of victims’ vulnerability, but response officers sometimes fail to conduct all of the initial safeguarding actions. Some specialist investigations are still being allocated to officers who do not have the necessary training or experience to deal with them.
The force is good at tackling serious and organised crime. It works with partners to understand serious threats, but this co-operation needs to be developed at a senior partnership level. Crime groups are prioritised appropriately, and officers manage them until they no longer present a threat. There are effective projects in place to deter people from becoming involved in serious and organised crime, and the force monitors criminals to prevent them from re-offending.
The arrangements that the force has in place to fulfil its national policing responsibilities are good. It has effective leadership responsible for planning its response to Strategic Policing Requirement threats, in collaboration with other emergency services and partner organisations. It has assessed the threat of an attack which requires an armed response and has arrangements in place for reviewing its firearms capability.
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
North Wales Police has been assessed as good in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. It recognises the importance of having a better understanding of current demand for its services so that its resources can be used efficiently to prioritise and respond to demand. The force has identified the need to focus on new emerging areas of demand and has been successful in addressing gaps in its workforce for most grades and specialist roles. The force has a positive track record of achieving savings for the future, and its plans are built on sound assumptions.
North Wales Police continues to recognise the importance of having a better understanding of current demand to make sure that resources can be used efficiently to prioritise and respond to demand. The force is good at identifying future demand for its services and the effect of reduced resources in the organisations it works alongside, and how this might change public expectations. The force has been successful in addressing gaps in its workforce in specialist areas of work, such as criminal investigations and protecting vulnerable people. It has also recognised the need for closer co-operation with other blue light organisations to lessen the effect of reduced resources.
North Wales Police is good at using its resources to manage current demand and has recognised the need to focus on emerging areas of demand. It is also reducing costs through workforce modernisation. However, the force does not have a detailed analysis of the benefits of information and communication technology (ICT), to help it to develop its understanding of how technology can be used better to support its response to both current and future demand across all areas of work.
North Wales Police works with others to improve how it manages demand for its services, but it does not yet have a complete understanding of the effectiveness of its current or planned investment. The force has good organisational governance in respect of managing projects and is good at planning for demand in the future. The force matches projected workforce numbers and planned use of resources to demand, organisational priorities and financial requirements. The force has introduced new technology in its control room and it has plans to provide operational officers with mobile data technology. The force is beginning to focus on mobile data provision, and needs to ensure that these more flexible and adaptable working practices produce benefits before the end of 2017.
North Wales Police has a positive track record of achieving savings for the future, and its plans are built on sound assumptions. The force is also seeking to improve efficiency and cut costs to help it to balance its budget and has sustainable plans to use its reserves in the future. It is working with other organisations, using mixed workforce teams that may be answerable to managers outside the force, to improve efficiency.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
North Wales Police has been assessed as requires improvement in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our findings this year are not consistent with last year’s findings, in which we judged the force to be good in respect of legitimacy. The force works hard to ensure that the behaviour of its officers is aligned with the Code of Ethics, is good at treating the people that it serves with fairness and respect and seeks feedback and challenge from its local communities. It has limited capacity to seek out and deal with potential corruption, however, and while it recognises the value of wellbeing, we found concerns among the workforce.
North Wales Police understands the importance of treating people with fairness and respect and the workforce understands the relationship between the force’s vision and values and the Code of Ethics. The force seeks feedback and challenge from the people it serves using social media and other methods, and has taken some action to communicate with those who have less trust and confidence in the police. North Wales Police vets applicants in accordance with national guidelines and has a comprehensive programme of action to highlight what is considered to be acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
The force has some understanding of strategic risks to the integrity of the organisation but has limited capacity to seek out and develop intelligence and conduct proactive enquiries to deal with potential corruption. It is taking action to prevent abuse of authority for sexual gain and informs the public and its workforce about misconduct outcomes. The force uses a several methods to seek the views of its workforce, and is aware of the importance and value of promoting wellbeing. However, not all staff feel equipped to recognise the signs of ill health and the force’s counselling service has been withdrawn. The force’s annual performance assessment is not yet perceived to be fair and effective.
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.
Police leadership is crucial in enabling a force to be effective, efficient and legitimate. This inspection focused on how a force understands, develops and displays leadership through its organisational development.
North Wales Police communicates well with both its workforce and other organisations. Its leadership expectations are fairly well understood across the force and leaders encourage challenge. There is less understanding of the force’s revised ‘leadership principles’, and although the force is planning to communicate with officers and staff about these, there has been limited discussion with employees about the development of these principles.
The force understands its leadership capabilities across ranks, grades, roles and teams and uses this knowledge to resolve concerns about team development and team dynamics. It has recently introduced a formal annual appraisal system and talent management approach. However, at the time of our inspection, not all officers and staff benefited from this new system. In the past, in the absence of any formal or systematic approach, the force relied on line managers to identify individual and team development problems. The quality and regularity of one-to-one line manager meetings are inconsistent.
The force uses a range of methods to develop talent, but these are neither communicated effectively nor well understood by the workforce. In the absence of a formal talent management scheme, the force has to rely on immediate line managers to select staff for promotion and development opportunities. The force has worked hard to develop leadership skills, and its teams are diverse in terms of experience, background and skills. North Wales Police encourages innovation. Both officers and staff felt that the force welcomed new ideas and challenge.
This section sets out the reports published by HMIC this year that help to better understand the performance of North Wales Police.