Dyfed-Powys PEEL 2016
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Dyfed-Powys Police requires improvement in its effectiveness at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force prevents crime and tackles anti-social behaviour effectively, and it responds well to serious and organised crime. However, investigation standards need to improve, and there are weaknesses in the support and safeguarding provided to vulnerable people. The force has the necessary arrangements in place to ensure that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities. Our overall judgment this year is the same as last year, when we judged the force to require improvement in respect of effectiveness.
Overall, the effectiveness of Dyfed-Powys Police at keeping people safe and reducing crime requires improvement. This is principally because of a weakness in the way that the force investigates crime and keeps victims safe.
The force has a good approach to preventing crime and has devoted sufficient resources to policing its communities well. It has a good understanding of the threats which are facing its local communities through its work within its communities and its work with other public service organisations.
Dyfed-Powys Police requires improvement at investigating crime and reducing re-offending. The initial investigation of crime is good at the first point of contact, and the use of a risk-based assessment method by call handlers is a welcome improvement. However, the crime allocation policy is based on the type of crime rather than the threat, harm and risk involved. This means that the force is not taking a victim-focused approach to the allocation of all crime.
Dyfed-Powys Police requires improvement at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and at supporting victims. Some investigations are still being allocated to officers and staff who do not have the necessary skills to deal with complex and high-risk investigations. This means that vulnerable victims are not receiving the right level of safeguarding and support.
The force is good at tackling serious and organised crime. It works with other public services to develop a sound understanding of serious threats. It is good at deterring people from becoming involved in serious and organised crime, and actively manages criminals to prevent them re-offending.
The force has the necessary arrangements in place to ensure that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities. It has assessed the threat of an attack which might require an armed response and has adequate arrangements in place for reviewing its firearms capability.
How effective is the force at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe?
Dyfed-Powys Police is good at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping most people safe. It has a good understanding of the threats which face its local communities, and uses both traditional and modern methods to communicate with local people. As a result members of the community have a say in setting neighbourhood-level policing priorities. Intelligence is used well to ensure that the force’s understanding of threats to the community is up-to-date.
The force has invested heavily in dedicated police officers to work within its communities. These officers endeavour to communicate with all members of the public, including people who might not trust the police. These officers understand their roles and responsibilities and the need to talk to vulnerable people in the community.
The force uses a range of effective tactics and interventions to prevent crime and reduce anti-social behaviour. This is both at a senior management level, working with other public service organisations, and at a local level, with proactive intervention schemes.
Dyfed-Powys Police recognises that it needs to improve the way it solves problems, and is in the process of setting up its own ‘what works’ database.
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.
- The force should evaluate and share effective practice routinely, both internally and with partners, to continually improve its approach to the prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour.
How effective is the force at investigating crime and reducing re-offending?
Dyfed-Powys Police’s approach to investigating crime and reducing re-offending requires improvement. The force is good at providing an initial investigative response at the first point of contact, following the introduction of a structured approach to assessing vulnerability within the force control centre. This is welcome progress since HMIC’s 2015 effectiveness inspection.
The force identifies and prioritises crime scenes, and gathers forensic evidence where it exists. It also has adequate intelligence and forensic capabilities to support investigators and has sufficient capacity to manage digital device examination in support of investigations.
The majority of investigations are allocated to appropriately skilled officers and staff. However, on some occasions officers without the necessary skills and experience are allocated to high risk and complex cases. When this occurs some vulnerable victims might not receive the level of safeguarding they need.
The force’s integrated offender management scheme is well managed, but at present has a narrow focus on offenders who commit many offences rather than those offenders who cause the most harm. The management of registered sex offenders needs to improve. In addition, the quality of protection orders also needs to improve, in order to withstand external scrutiny by the courts.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that all crimes are allocated promptly to investigators with the appropriate skills, accreditation and support to investigate them to a good standard.
- The force should consider widening its approach to integrated offender management to maximise its impact on reducing threat, harm and risk. There should be clear measures of success which enable the force to evaluate how effectively it is protecting the public from prolific and harmful offenders.
- The force should ensure that the risks posed by registered sex offenders are managed effectively.
How effective is the force at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims?
Overall Dyfed-Powys Police requires improvement at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm and supporting victims.
The force identifies vulnerable and repeat victims at the first point of contact, and is good at assessing the risks involved and allocating the correct response. Vulnerable victims are now receiving a better level of service when they first come into contact with the police.
The force is good at understanding the nature and scale of vulnerability in its communities, and has acted to ensure that frontline officers and staff understand how to identify vulnerable people. However, the quality of the handover of cases was found to be variable and there is a lack of supervisory oversight by which threat, harm and risk is assessed. The way the force investigates stalking and harassment cases could be better.
HMIC found that some specialist investigations are still being allocated to officers who do not have the necessary training or experience to deal with complex investigations, including some cases involving serious sexual offences and high risk domestic abuse. As a result, not all vulnerable victims receive the appropriate level of safeguarding throughout the investigation.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that response officers become more proficient in completing risk assessments at initial response and there is sufficient supervisory oversight to ensure opportunities to safeguard vulnerable victims are not missed.
- The force should improve the quality of investigations involving vulnerable people, ensuring that the workloads of specialist investigators are manageable at all times and that such investigations are subject to regular and active supervision.
- The force should review its process for sharing information with schools in relation to children affected by domestic abuse incidents to ensure information is shared as quickly and effectively as possible.
How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime?
Overall Dyfed-Powys Police is good at tackling serious and organised crime. The force has a number of serious and organised crime local profiles, compiled using a range of intelligence sources and information from other public services, to increase its understanding of serious and organised crime. It has a sound understanding of the threats facing its communities.
The force prioritises activity aimed at tackling serious and organised crime using impartial analysis and recognised methods of recording. It works well with other forces, with regional support, and with other public services. It could make better use of the Government Agency Information Network referral process.
The force assigns officers to govern the management of organised crime groups (OCGs) and has a partnership board structure in place to oversee actions arising from the local profiles. The force is aware of national disruption policy but could not demonstrate that its processes are followed at all stages of investigating an OCG.
The force has a number of effective projects in place to deter people from becoming involved in serious and organised crime and it actively manages serious and organised criminals to prevent them from re-offending. It engages regularly with the public about serious and organised crime.
Areas for improvement
- The force should further develop its serious and organised crime local profile in conjunction with partner organisations to enhance its understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime and inform joint activity aimed at reducing this threat.
- The force should improve its understanding, across the government’s national 4P framework, of the impact of its activity against serious and organised crime, and ensure that it learns from experience to maximise the force’s disruptive effect on this activity.
How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?
Dyfed-Powys Police has the necessary arrangements in place to ensure that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities. It has appropriate plans to mobilise in response to the threats set out in the Strategic Policing Requirement. HMIC found that the force tests these plans regularly and makes improvements following any lessons learned.
The force is well prepared for an attack which requires an armed response. It has reviewed its assessment of threat, risk and harm and this now explicitly includes the threats posed by marauding firearms terrorists. In light of this threat, Dyfed-Powys Police plans to increase its firearms capacity and capability, both as part of a national programme to increase the capability and capacity of trained firearms officers, and as part of the joint firearms collaborative arrangements with South Wales Police and Gwent Police forces. Dyfed-Powys Police is making progress towards the implementation of these plans.