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South Yorkshire PEEL 2016

Effectiveness

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.

Questions for Effectiveness

1

How effective is the force at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe?

South Yorkshire Police requires improvement in the way it prevents crime, tackles anti-social behaviour and keeps people safe.

The force 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 neighbourhood policing function of problem-solving in the local community is completed in the main by police and community support officers, without the support of warranted police officers. While the force has a range of tactics to seek the views of the community, these are inconsistent across the force area.

The force does undertake some problem-solving projects and works with partner organisations to deal with local concerns. The force does not effectively review the way in which it reduces crime and anti-social behaviour to identify what works and to share good practice across the force.

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • The force should work with local people and partner organisations to improve its understanding of local communities, including those which find it harder to communicate with the police, such as migrant communities or elderly people.
  • The force should ensure that local policing teams routinely engage with local communities and undertake structured problem-solving work alongside partner organisations in order to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour.
  • The force should evaluate and share effective practice routinely, both internally and with partner organisations, continually to improve its approach to the prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour.
2

How effective is the force at investigating crime and reducing re-offending?

South Yorkshire Police requires improvement in how it investigates crime and reduces re-offending.

The force allocates its investigations in the main to the right people with the training and accreditation for the investigation of those offences. It has trained and accredited investigators available at all times to manage criminal investigations. HMIC found that the force conducted effective investigations in most of cases reviewed. However, the recording of supervision on investigation files was inconsistent, as was the quality of investigation plans to support and direct officers involved in investigating offences. The force has significant backlogs for the examination of digital media recovered as part of an investigation. Although the force has a process to prioritise this workload based on the risk to victims and the public, the delays in the examination of digital devices might compromise the timeliness and quality of investigations.

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 the policing areas are inconsistent.

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • The force should ensure that all investigations are completed to a consistently good standard, and in a timely manner.
  • The force should ensure that there is regular and active supervision of investigations to improve quality and progress.
  • The force should improve its ability to retrieve digital evidence from mobile phones, computers and other electronic devices quickly enough to ensure that investigations are not delayed.
3

How effective is the force at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims?

South Yorkshire Police has maintained and improved performance in some areas since HMIC’s 2015 effectiveness (vulnerability) inspection. However, areas remain which cause HMIC concern and the force still requires improvement.

The force has improved its knowledge and understanding of vulnerability and 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 be safeguarding vulnerable victims effectively. The vulnerable adult unit has high levels of workload of very high-risk domestic abuse and serious sexual offences. This means that the timeliness and quality of service to victims of crime could be compromised.

The force continues to take positive action at the scene of domestic abuse, maintaining its levels of arrest and charge outcomes. However, it could support more victims through the use of ancillary orders, such as domestic violence protection orders and the domestic violence disclosure scheme to protect and safeguard victims.

The force has started to work with its partner organisations to share information and work together to keep people safe. However, HMIC found that some areas of the force are not working efficiently and this needs to improve.

Requires improvement

Cause of concern

South Yorkshire Police is failing to safeguard vulnerable victims fully, but particularly victims of domestic abuse at initial response and during the subsequent investigation. The force routinely fails to provide adequate domestic abuse safeguarding referrals, and poor quality information is being recorded from crime scenes. The threshold the force has for the allocation of specialist detectives to work on high-risk investigations is very high and the level of workload is also high within that team, which means the timeliness of investigations and safeguarding may be compromised.

Recommendations

To address this cause of concern, HMIC recommends that the force takes immediate steps to ensure that:

  • Response officers become more proficient in completing domestic abuse, stalking and harrassment risk assessments at initial response and that there is sufficient supervision to ensure that opportunities to safeguard vulnerable victims are not missed.
  • The force improves its investigation of cases involving vulnerable victims, particularly domestic abuse cases, by ensuring that officers and staff with the appropriate professional skills and experience investigate cases, and complex cases in particular, and have the capacity to provide the continuing safeguarding required, and that these investigations are supervised effectively and are recorded appropriately on force systems.

Areas for improvement

  • The force should review its process for submitting child protection and vulnerable adult referrals to the multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) to minimise the bureaucracy of multiple submissions and ensure that partner organisations receive the right information in a timely way so that victims can be better supported.
  • The force should reassure itself that referrals of children at risk of harm are being made in non-domestic abuse cases.
  • The force should review its use of Domestic Violence Protection Orders, Domestic Violence Protection Notices and Clare’s Law to ensure that it is making the best use of these powers to safeguard victims of domestic abuse.
4

How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime?

South Yorkshire Police is good at tackling serious and organised crime. This is consistent with the findings in HMIC’s 2015 effectiveness report. 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 serious and organised crime resources to gather and share information to support its activities and keep the community safe.

The force has good processes in place to gather intelligence and map organised crime groups. It also has robust management and governance processes to prioritise and tackle organised crime effectively. The force has trained lead responsible officers assigned to each organised crime group, who develop plans to tackle and disrupt their activities.

The force has good measures in place to deter people from becoming involved in organised crime. It identifies people who are at risk and acts, with professional support, to move them away from a serious and organised crime lifestyle. The force has effective ways to communicate with the community. This communication raises awareness, gathers information about organised crime, and updates the community on the work and disruption activity South Yorkshire Police has taken against organised crime groups.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should further develop its serious and organised crime local profile in conjunction with partner organisations to enhance its understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime, and seek to develop police and partner organisation joint activity aimed at reducing this threat.
5

How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?

South Yorkshire Police has good plans to mobilise in response to the threats set out in the Strategic Policing Requirement (SPR). The force undertook a strategic assessment in July 2016, as part of the four-force collaboration between Humberside, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire police forces. The force regularly tests these plans and works with other forces and local partner organisations. The tests are reviewed and the SPR action plan group considers the lessons learned so that improvements can be made.

The force is well prepared to respond to an attack requiring an armed response. It is a member of the Yorkshire and Humber Armed Policing Collaboration, in which the four regional forces work to joint policies and standard operating procedures. The force has recently reviewed its assessment of threat, risk and harm in line with national guidance, including the potential threats posed by a marauding terrorist firearms attack. As a result, the force plans to increase the number of armed officers as part of the national uplift. The recruitment of additional firearms officers is continuing and the force anticipates that it will be fully resourced by the end of March 2017.

Ungraded