North Yorkshire 2014Read more about North Yorkshire 2014
This is the first PEEL Assessment of North Yorkshire Police. In making this assessment I have used my professional judgment to consider the evidence available from inspections undertaken in the past 12 months.
The available evidence indicates that:
in terms of its effectiveness, in general, the force is good at reducing crime and preventing offending, and is good at tackling anti-social behaviour. However, it requires improvement in the way it investigates offending;
the efficiency with which the force carries out its responsibilities is good; and
the force is acting to achieve fairness and legitimacy in most of the practices that were examined this year.
Michael Cunningham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
In making this first PEEL Assessment of North Yorkshire I have taken into account the challenges to policing the area.
The policing area consists of the North Yorkshire County and the unitary authority City of York council areas. Much of the county falls within the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors national parks. The isolation and poor access to transport and services in some areas adds to the vulnerability of the ageing population. The county attracts large numbers of seasonal visitors and transient workers to the region and, while tourism boosts the rural economy, it also contributes to demand in relation to road safety, vehicle crime, burglary and anti-social behaviour. North Yorkshire does contain some urban concentrations with a vibrant night-time economy, where the pattern of demand, types of offences, and partnership structures are significantly different from the rest of the county.
The force area houses key strategic military installations such as the largest garrison in Europe at Catterick and RAF Menwith Hills and Fylingdales.
In July, along with colleagues in West and South Yorkshire, an excellent policing operation was put in place for the Tour de France Grande Depart. This was a significant policing event for the force.
I have been impressed by the force’s assessments of the demands it faces. It has used these to distribute resources and reshape the way it provides policing, with neighbourhood policing remaining the foundation of the force’s policing style.
Neighbourhood policing and anti-social behaviour are central priorities for the force. I was impressed by the force’s strong focus on engagement with communities and the neighbourhood policing teams’ understanding of community concerns and issues. The good use the force makes of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) to support victims of domestic abuse in the community.
I was also impressed by the governance arrangements in relation to corruption, which are excellent.
I do have concerns about the force’s integrated offender management approach, which is disjointed with an inconsistent approach being taken across the force with a lack of understanding of the approach among staff and officers. In addition, although the force has invested in building its investigatory capacity, there is more the force could do to improve supervision and file build quality.
The force continues to explore collaborative arrangements with other police forces.
I have concerns about the force’s approach to crime-recording, which is not as accurate as it should be.
Our intention is to examine leadership specifically as part of future PEEL Assessments, once criteria have been established. This will allow us to take account of the College of Policing review of leadership that is currently underway.
As set out above, the force has formed a good understanding of the demand it faces, and has used this understanding effectively. In common with other forces, there is a need to further understand the changing demands for police services.
I am interested to see how the force responds to the areas HMIC has identified for improvement over the next 12 months. I will be particularly interested to see the following developments:
- final implementation of the new operating model;
- the rollout of mobile technology to staff;
- collaboration with neighbouring police forces; and
- changes in operational performance, with the victim at the centre and a clear emphasis on crime prevention, reduction and investigation.
How well the force tackles crime
North Yorkshire Police is good at reducing crime and preventing offending. The force requires improvement in investigating offending. It is good at tackling anti-social behaviour.
North Yorkshire’s crime rate is lower than the average for England and Wales. The police work well with partners to prevent crime and reduce reoffending.
Neighbourhood policing and anti-social behaviour are central priorities for the force. There is a strong focus on engagement with communities and the neighbourhood policing teams have a good understanding of community concerns and issues.
HMIC found that there is a strong focus on victims and vulnerability.
Victim satisfaction with policing service is higher in North Yorkshire than the average for England and Wales.
Further insights on effectiveness
The domestic abuse inspection found that, although there were effective working practices on domestic abuse, there were still opportunities for further development. The force’s initial response to domestic abuse was effective, but after this there was an inconsistent approach to risk assessment, which meant that some victims may not have received the future support and access to services they needed. The crime inspection found evidence that North Yorkshire had made good progress to improve their response to domestic abuse.
The crime inspection found that the force approach to the management of organised crime groups could be improved. A monthly assessment of all organised crime groups was linked into the assignment of tasks and coordination process. However, HMIC found limited evidence of neighbourhood teams understanding organised crime group activity in their area and the risks they created.
How well the force delivers value for money
As a low-cost force, North Yorkshire Police has made good progress in reducing costs still further while retaining its commitment to neighbourhood policing.
North Yorkshire is on track to meet its financial challenge over the spending review period and in the year ahead, 2015/16. Importantly, the force has started to develop its plans for achieving savings beyond 2016. It has a level of reserves to support investment in its infrastructure and to provide some financial security through this period.
The force has carried out extensive assessments of the demands it faces. It has used these to distribute resources and reshape the way it provides policing, with neighbourhood policing remaining the foundation of the force’s policing style.
HMIC’s assessment is that the force is achieving the required savings today, while investing and developing an affordable way to provide policing in the future.
Does the force act with integrity and provide a service the public expects?
North Yorkshire Police has benefited from the force command team’s unequivocal commitment to developing a culture of professionalism and an expectation that staff will do the right thing for the right reasons. The chief officers wish to make the Code of Ethics an intrinsic part of the force’s service to the public of North Yorkshire. Governance arrangements in the force are strong and the professional standards department has long-standing and experienced staff who are trusted by members of the force. However, although officers and staff in police standards integrity unit are both professional and capable, the unit does not have the capacity to be proactive.
Further insights on legitimacy
The Crime Survey for England and Wales (12 months to March 2013) found that the proportion of respondents who think that the force does an excellent/good job was broadly in line with the figure across England and Wales. The same survey over the same period also found that the proportion who agree that the force deals with local concerns was broadly in line with the figure for England and Wales. The force’s own victim satisfaction survey (12 months to June 2014) found that the proportion of victims that were satisfied with their experience was greater than the figure across England and Wales.
The crime data integrity inspection found that most frontline members of staff, including call-takers, understood the victim-centred approach and were polite, professional and helpful. The domestic abuse inspection found that call-handlers received specific training on domestic abuse and there were good systems in place to identify repeat victims and information was passed to the officer attending. The system for identifying vulnerability was weaker, however the force planned to address this with the introduction of a new risk assessment process.
As a result of the crime data integrity inspection, HMIC is concerned that a notable proportion of reports of crime are not being recorded, and this means that victims of crime are not receiving the service they should when they first report a crime.
The force’s approach to no-criming (cancelling a recorded crime) is a matter of concern.