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West Yorkshire PEEL 2016

Effectiveness

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

Last updated 02/03/2017
Good

West Yorkshire Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Our overall judgment this year is the same as last year, when we judged the force to be good in respect of effectiveness. The force has an effective approach to investigating crime and reducing re-offending, protecting those who are vulnerable from harm and supporting victims, and tackling serious and organised crime. However, improvements are needed in how the force prevents crime and tackles anti-social behaviour.

West Yorkshire Police’s overall effectiveness at keeping people safe and reducing crime has been assessed as good. However, improvements are needed in how the force prevents crime and tackles anti-social behaviour. The force has a good understanding of strategic threats but at a local level it lacks the means to understand its changing and emerging communities. The force accepts that its current practices around problem solving are poorly structured. This is an area for improvement which the force is seeking to address.

The force is good at providing an initial investigative response. The control room ensures evidence is collected and preserved effectively. Much progress had been made around the capacity and capability of the high-tech crime unit. The force has worked hard to improve the service it offers victims, in particular being compliant with the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. The importance that the force attaches to the code is evident from all the staff we spoke to during the inspection, along with robust monitoring arrangements.

The force has made good progress in protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims with an increase in staff dedicated to safeguarding vulnerable victims. Comprehensive training has been put in place across the force to improve knowledge, skills and awareness around vulnerability and investigatory practices. West Yorkshire Police has a good understanding of the nature and scale of vulnerability in its local area.

West Yorkshire Police is good at tackling serious and organised crime. It is improving its response to newer organised crime threats such as human trafficking, cyber-crime and child sexual exploitation.

The force has effective specialist capabilities and has good plans in place to mobilise in response to the threats set out in the Strategic Policing Requirement.

Questions for Effectiveness

1

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

West Yorkshire Police requires improvement in its approach to preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. The force has a good understanding of its strategic threats but at the local level could improvement its understanding of changing and emerging communities.

The force is committed to engagement with the public through neighbourhood policing, but this is inconsistent, leading to sporadic and patchy engagement. Where traditional methods to include the public in the setting of priorities have declined, the force has struggled to identify new inclusive approaches for all the communities it serves.

The force accepts that its current practices around problem solving are poorly structured with much confusion among staff about the problem-solving models they should adopt to ensure a methodical approach. The force is currently reviewing this approach and plans to launch a new model of problem solving to staff following our inspection.

Opportunities around the use of new powers to combat anti-social behaviour have not been fully realised. This is because staff have yet not been trained in the latest legislation.
The force lacks effective processes to record and spread good practice which presents a barrier to continuous service improvement.

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • The force should improve its approach to the management of staff abstractions within local policing teams to ensure that a consistent approach is taken across all five districts, and provide a comprehensive understanding of where and how frequently abstractions are occurring to ensure resources are targeted at areas most at risk.
  • The force should ensure that local policing teams routinely and effectively engage with local communities to understand their needs and priorities.
  • The force should adopt a structured and consistent problem solving process to enable it to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour more effectively.
  • The force should evaluate and share effective practice routinely, both internally and with partners, to continually improve its approach to the prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour.
  • The force should review its approach to community engagement and the setting of policing priorities at neighbourhood level to ensure a clear corporate approach is in place that sets out the minimum engagement level the public of West Yorkshire can expect.
  • The force should review its approach to the use of anti-social behaviour powers and ensure that all neighbourhood policing officers and staff are fully trained in anti-social behaviour legislation and are using available powers to combat anti-social behaviour when appropriate.
2

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

West Yorkshire Police has a good approach to investigating crime and managing offenders.

The force is good at providing an initial investigative response. The control room ensures evidence is collected and preserved effectively. However, the quality of some initial investigation is being sacrificed as a result of the quantity of incidents uniform officers have to attend. This has an impact on subsequent investigation with evidential opportunities missed. Handovers are often of a very poor quality with little investigation or supervision having taken place.

Much progress had been made around the capacity and capability of the high-tech crime unit with some exciting innovation and plans in place.

The force has worked hard to improve the service it offers victims, in particular being compliant with the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. The importance that the force attaches to the code was evident from all the staff spoken to during the inspection along with robust monitoring arrangements.

West Yorkshire Police is good at protecting the public from the most prolific, serious and dangerous offenders. Its integrated offender management scheme is well managed. Plans are in place to the management of registered sex offenders, and perpetrators of domestic abuse and organised crime.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should take steps to ensure that all available evidence is recorded at scenes of crime.
  • The force should improve the processes and supervision of handovers to ensure that all relevant information passed to investigators is complete and is of sufficient quality.
  • The force should ensure that there is regular and active supervision of investigations to improve quality and progress.
  • The force should ensure that those who are circulated as wanted on the police national computer, those who fail to appear on police bail, named and outstanding suspects and suspects identified through forensic evidence are swiftly located and arrested.
3

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

West Yorkshire Police is good at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims.

The force has made good progress since HMIC’s 2015 effectiveness (vulnerability) inspection with an increase in staff dedicated to safeguarding vulnerable victims. Comprehensive training has been put in place across the force to improve knowledge, skills and awareness around important vulnerability and investigatory practices.

West Yorkshire Police has a good understanding of the nature and scale of vulnerability in its local area. Policies are in place within the force that provide clear unambiguous guidance and direction around the processes for safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults, demonstrating that vulnerability is a priority of the force. Staff and officers display a comprehensive understanding of vulnerability. Staff are aware of their role around immediate safeguarding and flagging up referrals to other agencies.

Improvements are also clear in the force’s response to victims of domestic abuse, specifically in relation to its allocation of medium and standard cases for investigation. Training, changes to the assessment and further scrutiny are now in place to ensure that consistent standards are applied across the force.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should ensure that response officers become more proficient at completing risk assessments at initial response, and provide sufficient supervisory oversight across the five districts to prevent opportunities to safeguard vulnerable victims from being missed.
4

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

West Yorkshire Police is good at tackling serious and organised crime. It is improving its response to newer organised crime threats such as human trafficking, cyber-crime and child sexual exploitation.

The force combats serious and organised crime making best use of specialist capabilities available to it. The force targets the most harmful organised crime groups with a range of activity from prosecuting group members to making it harder for the group to operate or legitimise their gains.

The force could expand the level of data available from partners to help it understand better those communities most at risk from serious and organised crime. It shows a good appreciation of enforcement options available to not just the police but to other partner agencies.

It could improve how it assesses the impact of interventions that are not enforcement- based. This would help it to protect communities more effectively from the threat posed by serious and organised crime.

The force is very effective at providing preventative education to divert people away from this type of criminality. Overall, since HMIC’s 2015 effectiveness inspection, the force has shown a continuous and clear desire to improve how it fights organised crime.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should further develop its serious and organised crime local profile in conjunction with other interested parties to enhance its understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime and inform joint activity aimed at reducing this threat.
  • The force should improve its understanding, across the government’s national 4P framework, of the impact of its activity against serious and organised crime, and ensure that it learns from experience to maximise the force’s disruptive effect on this activity.
5

How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?

West Yorkshire Police has effective specialist capabilities and has good plans in place to mobilise in response to the threats set out in the Strategic Policing Requirement. The force regularly takes part in regional exercises to test these plans and makes amendments following the lessons learned from such tests. Over the past 12 months the force has taken part in more than 20 exercises.

The resources available to West Yorkshire Police, both locally and through the support of other forces, ensure that the force is well prepared to respond to a firearms attack. The force has recently reviewed its assessment of threat, risk and harm and this now explicitly includes the threats posed by marauding terrorist firearms attacks.

Ungraded