South Wales PEEL 2014
Does the force act with integrity and provide a service the public expects?
Chief officers demonstrate their commitment to integrity, and set high standards of behaviour that are clearly understood by staff. People feel confident to report misconduct and unprofessional behaviour, and HMIC has seen good evidence of the active investigation of misconduct and corruption. With a capable and well-resourced professional standards department and anti-corruption unit, South Wales Police is well placed to minimise any risks it faces from corruption, although further work in some areas is required.
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 less than the figure for 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 less 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 greater than the figure across England and Wales.
The crime data integrity inspection found that operators answering calls from the public were invariably polite, helpful and professional. The domestic abuse inspection found there was a policy of taking positive action to safeguard the victim at every stage in the police response, including dealing with the initial call. The force had good systems within its public service centre to identify domestic abuse incidents and victims who had previously reported domestic abuse.
The force has good crime-recording procedures in place when receiving reports of crime, meaning that victims of crime receive the service they should when they first report a crime. HMIC is also 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. This means the public can have confidence in the way the force records crime.
To what extent does the force ensure that the workforce acts with integrity?
The chief officer team creates a climate of ethical behaviour and encourages others to challenge unprofessional behaviour, leading by example. Officers and staff are aware of the boundaries of professional behaviour, and more serious unprofessional behaviour is investigated by the professional standards department.
The force has utilised a variety of media to raise awareness of integrity issues for staff. In addition, some training on ethical behaviour and integrity has been provided, but the force needs to ensure that all staff have access to it and then develop a plan to ensure staff understand and adhere to the Code of Ethics. Good governance arrangements are in place to monitor integrity-related issues, but timeliness of investigations has been poor and the force needs to develop audit processes for decisions made at misconduct hearings and meetings.
The central register of gifts and hospitality is well used and includes offers to staff that are declined. The force business interest policy is clear and well documented. All requests for authorisation of a business interest are recorded in a central register but auditing processes could be improved. There are confidential mechanisms and a clear policy to support staff reporting wrongdoing. HMIC found that the professional standards department plays an important role in creating a supportive environment for those reporting. The professional standards department and the anti-corruption unit are both well resourced, but the force could do more to improve the vetting of staff.
What are the public perceptions of the force?
HMIC considers that there are two sources of data that give an insight into the public’s perceptions of their police force: the Crime Survey for England and Wales, and the Victim Satisfaction Survey.
The data for South Wales Police show that:
Crime Survey for England and Wales (12 months to March 2013)
- 56 percent of adults surveyed think that the police do an excellent/good job, which is less than the figure across England and Wales of 61 percent.
- 55 percent of adults surveyed agree that the police deal with local concerns, which is less than the England and Wales proportion of 60 percent.
Victim Satisfaction Survey (12 months to June 2014)
- 89.1 percent (± 0.9 percent) of victims were satisfied with their experience, which is greater than the figure across England and Wales of 85.0 percent (± 0.2 percent).
To what extent does the force respond to calls for service appropriately?
The value for money inspection found South Wales Police had set a clear performance standard for response times and this had remained the same since 2010. The inspection found that during this time the proportion of calls attended within these standards for ’emergency’ calls had declined, but had increased for ‘priority’ calls.
The crime data integrity inspection found that operators answering the calls from the public were invariably polite, helpful and professional. A supervisor in the public service centre had a responsibility for checking the quality of the interaction on the telephone; advice and guidance were given when necessary.
The domestic abuse inspection found domestic abuse was a priority for the force and there was a policy of taking positive action to safeguard the victim at every stage in the police response, including dealing with the initial call. Staff were competent and trained to question callers to understand the likely risk to the victim or anyone else who may be present. The force had good systems within its public service centre, where most domestic abuse incidents were received, to identify domestic abuse incidents and those victims who had previously reported domestic abuse. Staff could access the force intelligence systems to provide as full a picture as possible to send the right level of police response and prepare the attending officer for the situation they were likely to find themselves managing. The police attended all reported incidents of domestic abuse and the operators usually sent a uniformed officer immediately as an emergency, or within an hour, dependent on the circumstances reported.
To what extent are the data and information provided by the force of a high quality?
The crime data integrity inspection examined 178 incident records and found that 164 crimes should have been recorded. Of the 164 crimes that should have been recorded, 158 were. Of the 158, just two were wrongly classified and 18 were recorded outside the 72-hour limit allowed under the Home Office Counting Rules (HOCR). This was a good result and demonstrated effectiveness in the approach adopted by the force to secure the integrity of crime data, although during the period of this audit (November 2012 to October 2013) the timeliness of crime-recording was of concern.
The inspection also examined 44 no-crime records and found 43 records to be compliant with HOCR and the National Crime Recording Standard. The quality of the no-crime decisions for rape, violence and robbery was of a high standard and checks of these decisions were undertaken by the force. Since the introduction of the criming at source approach, there had been a dramatic rise in the number of no-crime decisions. Force data for July 2013 revealed that there were 156 no-crime decisions compared with 758 in July 2014, representing a 386 percent increase. While an increase in no-crimes could be anticipated from the new approach to crime-recording, the extent of the increase appeared excessive.