South Wales 2016Read more about South Wales 2016
This is HMIC’s third PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of South 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 is good.
The effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy inspection findings are published below. My overall assessment of South 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?
South Wales Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force has an effective approach to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. It is also effective in the way it investigates crime and protects vulnerable people, particularly victims of domestic abuse. It is good at tackling serious and organised crime. It has the necessary arrangements in place to fulfil its national policing responsibilities and has assessed each of the threats in the Strategic Policing Requirement. Our overall judgment this year is the same as last year, when we judged the force to be good in respect of effectiveness.
South Wales Police has a dedicated local policing model and understands the threat or risk of harm within the communities it serves. The force uses a problem-solving model but the quality of its application is inconsistent. Neighbourhood officers can concentrate on their neighbourhood policing role and are not routinely taken away to cover reactive duties.
Neighbourhood staff have good local knowledge of their community and are aware of community concerns and intelligence about criminal activity. Neighbourhood teams engage well with their communities using a range of methods, and staff have a high level of understanding of local problems. South Wales Police has a good understanding of the nature and scale of vulnerability in its local area and describes vulnerability as being the ’priority of priorities’. The force is able to identify repeat and vulnerable victims when they first contact the force, and it uses a risk-assessment process to grade calls based upon the level of threat and risk of harm. The force is good at investigating crime and keeps the victim at the centre of investigations. It has effective arrangements in place to pursue outstanding offenders and to reduce re-offending. However, there are inconsistencies in the way it selects offenders for its integrated offender management scheme.
South Wales Police is good at tackling serious and organised crime. Organised crime groups are mapped and scored appropriately and consistently using the national assessment tool, with all mapping up to date.
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
South Wales Police has been assessed as good in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force has an excellent understanding of demand and places it at the heart of how it operates, plans and works with partners to identify, predict and tackle demand, and how it deploys resources to meet demand. It has systems in place to understand its workforce gaps and capabilities, meaning it can match operational skills to demand in real-time, and for longer term planning and deployment of resources. The force’s investment plans should lead to greater efficiency and service improvement, but the force is currently showing a gap in its budget from 2017/18 onwards.
South Wales Police has an excellent understanding of its demand in all areas. Demand is at the heart of the force’s understanding of how it operates, how it plans and how it deploys. Senior officers understand their demand data and the effect that the different types of demand (e.g. internal, hidden, proactive) have on the force, its partners and the public.
The force is beginning to use its data to understand trends and to send officers in advance to meet anticipated demand. It works well with partners at a senior level to ensure collective responsibility for demand, and that misdirected demand is understood and avoided. The force uses its resources effectively to manage current demand and uses its understanding of demand to allocate resources accurately. It has systems in place to understand its workforce gaps and capabilities, which means that operational skills can be matched in real-time to demand and allows longer term planning and deployment of resources. The force also reviews the effect changes have on the service it provides.
The force has developed strong collaborations with other forces, private industry and local communities to deal with demand more efficiently. It is planning actively for demand in the future and takes account of public satisfaction in these plans. The force is planning to work with private sector partners on the proactive policing pilot to predict future demand in a more comprehensive and accurate way.
The force’s investment plans should lead to greater efficiency and service improvement. However, the force reports that by 2019/20 it potentially faces a budget gap of £10.2m for revenue and £17m for capital with low or no contingency and £9m general reserves.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
South Wales Police has been assessed as good in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our findings this year are consistent with last year’s findings, in which we judged the force to be good in respect of legitimacy. The force has worked hard to understand and ensure its values and behaviours are in line with all elements of the Code of Ethics. Treating people fairly and with respect is central to the force’s approach and forms the basis of all training. The force’s public engagement strategy outlines how it will engage and communicate with communities. It seeks feedback and challenge from the people it serves about the extent to which it treats them with fairness and respect.
South Wales Police is good at treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. Its vision and values are clear, understood by staff and fully in line with the Code of Ethics, and its policies reflect this. The force identifies and works with people who have less trust and confidence in the police and seeks feedback from communities using a wide range of methods. It acts on learning and feedback to improve how it treats the people it serves and usually shares this learning across the force, and sometimes more widely with partner organisations and other police forces.
The force is good at ensuring that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. It takes vetting seriously and follows national guidance, in order to try to ensure that it recruits ethical officers, staff and volunteers. It has clear policies on business interests, notifiable associations, gifts and hospitality, and the use of social media. However, it does not routinely follow up on business interests that have been refused. The force ensures the public can access detailed information on the outcomes of public hearings. It also actively informs the workforce at all levels about the outcomes of gross misconduct hearings and misconduct meetings.
The force has a clear desire to treat its workforce with fairness and respect, but its current performance assessment process is ineffective. It plans to conduct a staff survey and introduce a more effective performance development review system, but these gaps should be prioritised. The force takes positive action to identify and understand the wellbeing needs of its workforce and provides support for staff who have physical or mental health issues.
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.
South Wales Police has worked with its officers and staff to develop its leadership expectations, and these are understood at all levels throughout the organisation. The force is able to act constructively to deal with any leadership problems. A structured leadership training programme with a range of development opportunities is available for police officers and staff of all ranks and grades, and the force has a wide pool of potential senior leaders. The force could do more to understand its skills and capacity throughout the organisation, although its plans for a new performance development review process is a positive step.
The force is proactive in seeking new ideas and working practices from other forces and non-police organisations, while its continuous improvement programme encourages staff to submit suggestions and ideas. The force would benefit from bringing all its good practice together centrally into one place for staff. The force has increased successfully the number of female police officer recruits and those from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, but more work is needed to develop leadership teams that are diverse in terms of gender and ethnicity as well as background and skills. There are too few female officers in the force’s middle and senior ranks.
This section sets out the reports published by HMIC this year that help to better understand the performance of South Wales Police.