West Yorkshire PEEL 2014
Does the force act with integrity and provide a service the public expects?
Chief officers have been robust on standards and integrity. There are effective monitoring systems in place but some improvement is needed on reporting gifts and hospitality. West Yorkshire Police has increased anti-corruption resources recently and is effective in analysing and responding to intelligence about corruption or unprofessional behaviour, but it needs to develop its proactive work.
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 that agrees 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 domestic abuse inspection found that call handlers and enquiry desk staff had received little training in how to understand and deal with domestic abuse incidents. Therefore, the force could not have confidence that domestic abuse victims were receiving a consistent quality of response at this first point of contact. The quality of completed risk assessments was patchy.
As a result of the crime data integrity inspection, HMIC is seriously 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. HMIC is also concerned with the accuracy of the decisions taken by the force when making no-crime decisions (cancelling a recorded crime) as too many of these are incorrect. The force needs to take action to improve, serve the victims of these crimes, and provide the public with confidence in the force’s crime data.
To what extent does the force ensure that the workforce acts with integrity?
Chief officer communications on integrity issues are robust, visible and recognised by staff. HMIC found that most staff knew that reported misconduct would be investigated rigorously but some are still uncertain of professional boundaries. HMIC found there is a pressing need for more effective dialogue with staff to ensure that there is a commonly shared understanding of ethics. West Yorkshire Police has carried out a staff survey and instigated a programme of local and individual ‘accountability meetings’.
New leaders have been appointed within the professional standards department which now includes a ‘compliance unit’. The anti-corruption unit has also been reinforced. HMIC found that the system used to record offers of gifts and hospitality is held on multiple registers by different departments although they can all be accessed from a central location. There is evidence that refused offers of gifts or hospitality are not being reported and recorded. The force has a comprehensive range of policies to guide behaviour together with auditing and analytical processes which are capable of identifying unprofessional use of police systems. HMIC found the force takes effective action to investigate and deal with misconduct by its 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 West Yorkshire Police show that:
Crime Survey for England and Wales (12 months to March 2013)
- 62 percent of adults surveyed think that the police do an excellent/good job, which is broadly in line with the figure across England and Wales of 61 percent.
- 59 percent of adults surveyed agree that the police deal with local concerns, which is broadly in line with the England and Wales proportion of 60 percent.
Victim Satisfaction Survey (12 months to June 2014)
- 88.4 percent (± 0.8 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 set a clear performance standard for response times and these have 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 improved for ‘priority’ calls.
The crime data integrity inspection found that chief officers had reinforced the victim-centred approach to crime-recording, and had invested in processes to monitor and manage victim care, including training for constables and frontline supervisors. However, West Yorkshire Police had some way to go before it could claim that crime was recorded consistently and accurately, thereby ensuring the right level of victim support.
The domestic abuse inspection found that call handlers and enquiry desk staff had received little training in how to understand and deal with domestic abuse incidents. The force could therefore not have confidence that domestic abuse victims were receiving a consistent quality of response at this first point of contact. Incidents were graded according to risk, but the force was not making efficient use of its resources and the victim may not get the quickest response possible. There were weaknesses in the levels of training provided to frontline staff and their supervisors. The quality of completed risk assessments was patchy. Although a formal risk assessment was required to be undertaken at the scene, the inspection found that this was often completed by the officers back at the station and may not have included all the necessary information.
To what extent are the data and information provided by the force of a high quality?
The crime data integrity inspection examined 260 incident records and found that 221 crimes should have been recorded. Of the 221 crimes that should have been recorded, 150 were. Of the 150, 11 were wrongly classified and five were recorded outside the 72-hour limit allowed under the Home Office Counting Rules (HOCR). Improvement in the accuracy and timeliness of crime-recording decisions from incident records was needed as a matter of urgency to ensure victims received the service they required, West Yorkshire Police had a full understanding of the crime in its communities and offenders were brought to justice.
The force had a centralised crime-recording facility involving members of staff at the customer contact centre who had a supplementary role in recording some crime reports. HMIC estimated that the force recorded approximately 13 percent of the total of its recorded crime through this facility where reports of crime were directly recorded from members of the public and did not require the creation of an incident record. HMIC’s inspection of this unit (a review of 33 calls from the public) found that of the 36 crimes that should have been recorded, 34 were. Of the 34, two were wrongly classified and one was recorded outside the 72-hour limit allowed under HOCR.
The inspection also examined 105 no-crime records and found 65 records to be compliant with HOCR and National Crime Recording Standard. As the no-crime records we reviewed were for offences of rape, robbery and violence, this high error rate was a matter of serious concern. Of the 35 rape no-crime records we examined, 23 met the requirements of HOCR. This was unacceptable.