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South Yorkshire 2016

Read more about South Yorkshire 2016

This is HMIC’s third PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of South Yorkshire 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 requires improvement.

The extent to which the force is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime requires improvement.

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 South Yorkshire’s performance will be published in March 2017.

Michael Cunningham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary

Contact Michael Cunningham


How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 02/03/2017
Requires improvement

South Yorkshire Police requires improvement in respect of its effectiveness at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Our overall judgment this year is the same as last year, when we judged the force to require improvement in respect of effectiveness. Considerable improvements are needed in the way the force supports and safeguards vulnerable people. Investigation standards and offender management are poor. The force also needs to improve the way it prevents crime, tackles anti-social behaviour and keeps people safe. However, the force is good at tackling serious and organised crime, and has the necessary arrangements to fulfil national policing requirements.

South Yorkshire Police has an understanding of the communities it serves and the threats they face. However, the changes the force has made to the way it provides neighbourhood policing have weakened its ability to be effective in tackling those threats.

The force allocates its investigations in general to the right people, who have the training and accreditation for those offences. However, the recording of managerial supervision on investigation files is inconsistent, as is the quality of investigation plans to support and direct the officers involved in investigating offences. The force has significant backlogs for the examination of digital media recovered as part of an investigation.

South Yorkshire Police has effective processes in place to manage the threat and harm from those offenders who pose a risk to the community. The force has processes in place to manage repeat offenders, but approaches across its policing areas are inconsistent.

The force has improved its knowledge and understanding of vulnerability and has improved the way it responds to incidents involving vulnerable victims. However, it routinely fails to complete quality risk-assessments for victims of domestic abuse, which means that the force might not safeguard vulnerable victims effectively.

The force has a comprehensive understanding of the risks posed by serious and organised crime in South Yorkshire. It has positive working relationships with local authorities and with regional resources to gather and share information to support its activities and keep the community safe.

The force has good measures in place to deter people from becoming involved in organised crime. It takes action to move people who are at risk away from serious and organised crime.

South Yorkshire Police has good plans to mobilise in response to the threats set out in the Strategic Policing Requirement. It is well prepared to respond to an attack requiring an armed response.

View the five questions for effectiveness


How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 03/11/2016
Requires improvement

South Yorkshire Police has been assessed as requires improvement in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.

South Yorkshire Police has limited understanding of current and future demand and workforce capability. This is affecting adversely the quality of services it currently provides. The force has recognised this and, with peer and partner support, it is looking to develop its current and future plans to better meet the needs of the public.

South Yorkshire Police has a good understanding of reactive demand based on recorded incidents and crime. It has a limited understanding of current preventative and future demand. This is a deterioration in the force’s position since our last efficiency inspection in 2015.

The force implemented a new operating model at a time when it did not properly understand its workforce capability and capacity. The force has resourced its highest priorities but has not been able to provide the full range of services envisaged by the operating model, including resilient call handling and 24-hour community policing. The force does not have an up-to-date workforce plan which aligns established posts with the operating model. The staffing levels within the contact management centre mean that the force cannot consistently answer non-emergency calls from the public. The demands on local policing team officers mean that community engagement and preventative policing is diminishing.

The force has a medium-term financial plan based on sound assumptions. It has recognised the need to improve its understanding of current and future demand and workforce requirements. It is working with peer support to address these gaps and develop its future plans.

View the three questions for efficiency


How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 08/12/2016
Requires improvement

South Yorkshire Police requires improvement in the way it interacts with the communities it serves and its workforce. Enabling fair treatment is a stated priority for the force, but recent changes in the way it operates have had an adverse effect on how it understands and is able to respond to its communities and the morale of its workforce.

The force has a good understanding of threats to its integrity. Most of the systems to ensure integrity in the workforce are good, and it communicates with the public well about misconduct hearings and their outcomes.

South Yorkshire Police’s stated priority is to treat everyone it serves fairness and respect. Despite this it could do more to reassure itself it is obtaining feedback from all the communities it serves.

The recent change in the force’s operating model has led to a reduction in involvement with many communities. We found good examples of specific engagement, and the force also has a substantial and active social media following. It does not, however, collate or analyse feedback to develop a complete picture. South Yorkshire Police ensures that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. It has a good understanding of most of the risks to the integrity of the organisation, informed by well-managed intelligence from a wide range of sources, and in the main has good systems in place to secure the integrity of the organisation.

The force communicates effectively with the public; it advertises misconduct hearings and publishes the results on the internet. Although it shares the results of misconduct hearings with the workforce, not all officers and staff were aware of the cases or what had been learned from them.

The force should treat its workforce with greater fairness and respect. It uses a range of methods to assess how members of the workforce feel they are treated, but not frequently and consistently enough for a full understanding. The force has made some changes in response to feedback, increasing measures to support wellbeing and introducing a new electronic individual performance assessment process (PDR), but the workforce does not see how these changes relate to its feedback. The new electronic PDR is a forward-looking tool for development and wellbeing, but at this early stage we cannot say that it ensures consistent and fair assessment and development for the workforce.

Low morale is a problem throughout the force. The command team recognises this and is working to alleviate the pressures on leave and rest days.

View the three 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.


Last updated 08/12/2016

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 Yorkshire Police has faced a number of significant challenges over the last year. These include the outcome of the Hillsborough inquests in April 2016; calls for a public inquiry into the police response to the miners’ strike in Orgreave in 1984; and the requirement to implement the recommendations from the 2014 independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham. This inspection examines leadership at every level within the force and does not comment on the individual performance of senior leaders. However, we note that the force has seen a significant number of changes to its senior leadership team over the last year.

South Yorkshire Police has struggled to build or maintain an understanding of the leadership capability within its workforce. The force has developed a set of leadership principles for police officers, and HMIC found evidence that senior officers clearly understand what is expected of them. However, we found that knowledge of these principles among the wider workforce is limited, and the force has not yet produced similar standards for police staff.

The force’s ‘Leading Together’ strategy does provide a plan for leadership development, but to date there has been limited evaluation of the effectiveness of activities the force has undertaken as part of the strategy. The force does not have a systematic approach to identifying and developing potential future leaders through a talent management programme. Although senior officers are aware of leadership support available to them, more junior members of the workforce that HMIC spoke to were either not aware of such opportunities or felt unable to take them because they could not find adequate cover to allow them to be released from their duties.

View the three questions for leadership

Other reports

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


1.37m people 7% local 10 yr change


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)


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

Points of context provided by the force

Find out more about the area policed by this force.

Police and crime plan priorities

The police and crime plan, as well as other information about the PCC, can be found on their website.