Dyfed-Powys 2014Read more about Dyfed-Powys 2014
This is the first PEEL Assessment of Dyfed-Powys 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, good at investigating offending and good at tackling anti-social behaviour. I have some specific concerns about its approach to domestic abuse;
the efficiency with which the force carries out its responsibilities is good; and
the force is acting to achieve fairness and legitimacy in some of the practices that were examined this year.
In making this first PEEL Assessment of Dyfed-Powys Police I have taken into account the challenges of policing such a large area of Wales.
Dyfed-Powys is geographically the largest police force in England and Wales and is responsible for policing over half the land mass of Wales. The geography of the force area presents challenges, with many remote rural communities along with a number of relatively small centres of population. A vibrant tourist industry draws large numbers of visitors to the coastline in the summer months. The area is a popular retirement destination.
I have been impressed by the way the force has continued to make good progress in managing the reduction to budgets and is planning to provide its officers with improved mobile technology to enable them to work more efficiently. Despite making cuts, the force still sends an officer to every crime.
The all-Wales counter-terrorism unit, known as WECTU, and the serious and organised crime collaboration, known as Tarian, were mature and effective arrangements.
The force has also worked effectively to cut crime, although I do have concerns about the rate of anti-social behaviour which is higher than across England and Wales as a whole. Nevertheless, there is a commitment at all levels of the force to understanding local concerns and to tackling them. Investigations are generally well supervised.
However, I have serious concerns about the force’s approach to crime-recording, which is not as accurate as it should be.
The domestic abuse inspection found that the force could not be confident that it was consistently identifying victims and accurately assessing the risk they faced at the first point of contact.
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.
In common with other forces, there is a need to develop a better understanding of the changing demands for police services.
I am particularly interested to see how the force responds to the areas HMIC has identified for improvement over the next 12 months.
How well the force tackles crime
Dyfed-Powys Police is good at reducing crime and preventing offending. The force is good at investigating offending. It is good at tackling anti-social behaviour.
HMIC found that Dyfed-Powys Police works effectively to cut crime. Crime levels in the area are below those across England and Wales as a whole, and they have fallen at a similar rate to the national picture over the last four years. However, the anti-social behaviour rate is higher in Dyfed-Powys than England and Wales as a whole.
Tackling anti-social behaviour is a clear priority and there is a commitment at all levels of the force to understanding local concerns and tackling anti-social behaviour. The force works well with local partners to cut crime and anti-social behaviour, and to provide support to victims.
Further insights on effectiveness
The domestic abuse inspection found that the public could have confidence that Dyfed-Powys was committed to providing a good response and taking robust action with regard to perpetrators. However, the inspection found that there were a number of different routes through which a domestic abuse incident may be dealt with by the police, which caused confusion and resulted in a lack of clarity as to who was responsible for managing the risk, safety planning, victim contact and supervision.
The crime inspection found that while the force had specialist assets to tackle organised crime groups, all staff understood that they have a role to play in this by submitting intelligence and working with partners to protect the community.
How well the force delivers value for money
Dyfed-Powys Police will meet the challenge of the spending review and is now preparing for further austerity in the future.
Dyfed-Powys Police has continued to make good progress in managing the reduction to budgets while maintaining a good level of service to the public. The force is on track to meet the spending review challenge through identified savings. It has made changes to the way it manages policing, and has plans in place to improve further the productivity of business support functions to help the policing operation run more effectively. It is also planning to provide its officers with improved mobile technology to enable them to work more efficiently.
The force has benefited from facing a smaller financial challenge than other forces in England and Wales and, with the agreement of the PCC, is using its reserves in 2015/16 to smooth the transition to a new structure.
The force is looking beyond 2016 where the financial position becomes more challenging.
Work is progressing to develop savings plans; the restructure of business support functions and technology are key elements to ensuring a sustainable provision of policing in the future.
Dyfed-Powys is aware of the long-term financial challenges, but benefits from a low demand on resources, support from the PCC to invest reserves and a strong focus on keeping communities safe.
Does the force act with integrity and provide a service the public expects?
There is clear leadership from the chief constable on the importance of values, ethics and personal behaviour, and HMIC found good examples of individuals challenging and reporting unethical and unprofessional behaviour by colleagues. The force has an established professional standards department, including an anti-corruption unit. These are, however, insufficiently resourced resulting in the force being unable to investigate misconduct and corruption in a timely fashion. The force has made limited progress since the last HMIC inspection.
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 which agrees that the force deals with local concerns was greater than the figure for England and Wales. The force’s own victim satisfaction survey (12 months to June 2014) found that the proportion of victims who were satisfied with their experience was broadly in line with the figure across England and Wales.
The crime data integrity inspection found that call-handlers were polite, helpful and professional. The inspection on domestic abuse found that, while the force was committed to identifying victims of domestic abuse, there were weaknesses in the processes in place, particularly in assessment of risk, and identification of repeat and vulnerable victims. The inspection found that the force could not be confident that it was consistently identifying victims and accurately assessing the risk they faced at the first point of contact.
As a result of the crime data inspection, HMIC is seriously concerned that a notable proportion of reports of crime are not being recorded by the force. This means that victims of crime are not receiving the service they should when they first report a crime.
However, HMIC is impressed with the accuracy of the decisions taken by the force when making no-crime decisions (cancelling a recorded crime), nearly all of which are correct.