West Yorkshire PEEL 2015
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
West Yorkshire Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime.
The force works well to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour and on keeping people safe. In some aspects of protecting vulnerable people, and investigating crime and managing offenders, however, the force needs to make improvements. It is has good arrangements for tackling serious and organised crime, and effective arrangements are in place to ensure that the force can fulfil its national policing responsibilities. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so a year-on-year comparison is not possible.
West Yorkshire Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force focuses on preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. The police and crime commissioner and the chief constable are committed to maintaining neighbourhood policing to support their communities. Officers and staff across the force have a good understanding of crime prevention and reducing anti-social behaviour. The force has mature and well-developed partnership working arrangements. These arrangements support a problem-solving approach to both crime and anti-social behaviour, and are also in place for managing repeat and dangerous offenders.
The force has worked hard to improve the way in which it identifies and records crime from the calls it receives from the public. It is improving how it investigates crime. However, the way that the force allocates crimes is inconsistent and needs to improve. The force works well to identify and manage repeat and dangerous offenders and to stop them re-offending.
The force identifies vulnerability and risk at the earliest opportunity, assessing the risks to the community, and working hard to provide an appropriate response to support them. HMIC did however find inconsistencies as to who deals with domestic abuse. The force works well with partner agencies to provide support and safeguard those who have been victims of domestic abuse along with children and young people.
West Yorkshire Police is good at tackling serious and organised crime. The force understands the threat and risk this could pose to the community. It has the necessary arrangement in place to ensure that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities.
How effective is the force at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, and keeping people safe?
West Yorkshire Police is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. The force places a strong focus on these priorities. Officers and staff at all levels of the organisation have a good understanding of what this means for the way they work. The force works well with other organisations to support crime prevention and reduce anti-social behaviour.
The force has a commitment towards neighbourhood policing and has restructured its resources to maintain a dedicated neighbourhood policing team within each district. Operational activity clearly reflects the force priority towards crime reduction and prevention. The operational activity and the direction of resources to crime reduction and anti-social behaviour are well managed through the district and force daily tasking meetings.
The force works well with local communities and partners to understand community priorities and concerns. Its use of preventative policing and the development of an academic approach to evidence-based policing are achieving good results. Identifying good practice then capturing and communicating ‘what works’ could be better.
The public of West Yorkshire can feel confident that the force is working hard to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour and keep people safe.
Areas for improvement
- The force should adopt a structured and consistent problem-solving process to enable it to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour more effectively.
How effective is the force at investigating crime and managing offenders?
West Yorkshire Police requires improvement at investigating crime and managing offenders.
The crime allocation process across the districts is inconsistent, with several ways to decide which crimes should be investigated. The force is introducing desk-based crime investigation units to improve this. However, corporate direction and quality assurance mechanisms for the remit of the units is lacking.
HMIC found that, generally, investigations were of a good standard and well supervised; however, few frontline crimes had a structured investigation plan documented within the file.
The force does not have an up-to-date knowledge of the extent of detective training it has provided to officers working within detective posts across the force. This presents the possibility that staff are working within specialist roles having not received the relevant and required training for that role.
The force is in the process of restructuring and redefining its arrangements for integrated offender management, with an increased emphasis on vulnerability and risk.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that all those carrying out investigations are provided with appropriate training and support.
- The force should ensure that there is regular and active supervision of investigations to check quality and progress.
- The force should ensure that checks are routinely conducted to verify the identity, nationality and overseas convictions of arrested foreign nationals.
How effective is the force at protecting from harm those who are vulnerable, and supporting victims?
West Yorkshire Police has a clear focus on protecting those who are most vulnerable and supporting victims. However, there are several areas where improvement is needed to ensure the service is consistent across the force and that vulnerable people are kept safe. Given the scale of the challenge and the risk that is posed to some of the most vulnerable people overall, HMIC judges that the force requires improvement.
HMIC acknowledges that the force has committed significant effort and resource to offer a high-quality service to the public on dealing with vulnerability issues and supporting victims.
The force has strong and developing partnership arrangements for vulnerability and is working with other organisations in each of the five policing districts in a hub or multi-agency team.
The force has clear structures and processes to find missing and absent children, but there is an element of confusion around victims categorised as low risk. Across the force there remain some variances in who deals with victims of domestic abuse, depending on where the victims live. Not all victims in West Yorkshire are offered the opportunity to make a personal statement at the appropriate time.
The force has expanded its approach to investigating child sexual exploitation with its investment in dedicated resources and it is developing its understanding of historical incidents of child sexual exploitation.
Areas for improvement
- The force should improve its response to all incidents, including those relating to vulnerable people, by reviewing the process used to manage attendance at incidents over 24 hours old and take any action necessary.
- The force should improve its response to children who go missing, specifically in relation to staff understanding clearly their roles, responsibilities and the process to be adopted in cases assessed as low-risk or absent.
- The force should improve its response to victims of domestic abuse, specifically in relation to its allocation of medium and standard cases for investigation to ensure that consistent standards are applied across the force.
- The force should improve its compliance with the duties contained in the code of practice for victims of crime, specifically in relation to victim personal statements.
How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime, including its arrangement for fulfilling its national policing responsibilities?
West Yorkshire Police is good at tackling serious and organised crime (SOC). The force understands the threat and risk SOC could pose to the community.
The force has completed district organised crime profiles but is yet to complete the force-level organised crime profile. The force has effective working relationships with a number of partners. These are used to develop the knowledge of organised crime groups (OCGs) and undertake a range of operational activity and tactics to disrupt and dismantle these OCGs.
The force has well developed collaboration with the regional organised crime unit. The co-ordination structures allow for the prioritisation, appropriate tasking and management of resources to undertake operational activity against OCGs. Where necessary the force can refer activity to regional resources to target OCGs more intensely.
West Yorkshire Police has the necessary arrangement in place to ensure that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities. The force has a structure to identify knowledge gaps in technology and cyber-crime in policing and develop the force’s cyber investigative capability.
This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their effectiveness at tackling serious and organised crime, including a force’s arrangements for ensuring that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities, so no year-on-year comparison is possible.
Areas for improvement
- The force should produce a serious and organised crime local profile, which includes relevant data from partner agencies, and ensure that it has a local partnership structure in place with responsibility for tackling serious and organised crime.
- The force should improve the awareness of organised crime groups among neighbourhood teams to ensure that they can reliably identify these groups, collect intelligence and disrupt their activity.