Gwent 2016Read more about Gwent
This is HMIC’s third PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Gwent Police. PEEL is designed to give the public information about how their local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year. The assessment is updated throughout the year with our inspection findings and reports.
The extent to which the force is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
The extent to which the force is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
The extent to which the force is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
Wendy Williams, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
I am very pleased with the overall performance of Gwent Police.
Gwent Police is good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour. The force engages effectively with the people of Gwent to identify the issues that are of concern to them. It works well with partner organisations, and uses a structured approach to problem-solving.
I am pleased by the high standard of the force’s crime investigations. The initial stages of investigations, including the early phase of gathering evidence, are conducted well. Crimes are allocated to investigators with the appropriate skills and experience, but the force needs to improve how investigations are then supervised. Gwent Police has an effective integrated offender management scheme, and it works well with partner organisations to reduce the risk posed by dangerous and sexual offenders.
Gwent Police protects vulnerable people well, particularly victims of domestic abuse. The force has good local knowledge of the nature and scale of vulnerability, but its information systems do not automatically identify vulnerable and repeat victims. Its response to missing children is good, with effective processes to identify and tackle child sexual exploitation. The force does, however, need to improve the consistency of the risk assessment process carried out by call handlers.
Gwent Police has a limited understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime. I am reassured that it is working with partner organisations to address this.
Gwent Police has a very good understanding of the current and future demands for its services, including so-called hidden demands such as internet crime. The force has worked with partner organisations to understand their individual and collective responsibilities, and to improve the routing of requests for services to the most appropriate organisation.
The force also has a good understanding of the skills and knowledge of its workforce, which it uses to inform the allocation of its resources. The force invests well, and reviews thoroughly the benefits of the changes that it makes.
Gwent Police has strong financial plans that are built on sound assumptions and it understands the possible gaps in its future funding. I am reassured by the force’s detailed understanding of its future financial position which, with its understanding of the likely demands for its services, has informed its comprehensive investment plans. These plans include further investment in digital technology.
I am pleased to see that the force uses a range of innovative approaches to seek feedback from the people of Gwent. It is good at using this feedback to improve its practices, and places a particular emphasis on building public trust and confidence.
I am satisfied that the force consistently maintains ethical and lawful behaviour in its workforce, and that its anti-corruption unit is effective in identifying threats to the integrity of the organisation, including predatory sexual behaviour. However, the force needs to address the backlogs in vetting its workforce to the appropriate level.
I am pleased that Gwent Police supports the well-being of its workforce through a range of practical measures. The force regularly seeks the views of its workforce and is good at acting on their suggestions.
In summary, the force provides a good level of service to the people of Gwent. I am pleased that it has maintained its performance since my previous assessment.
Gwent Police provides policing services to the county of Gwent. Gwent has a high level of poverty, although there are some more affluent areas. The force area is home to around 0.6 million people, who mainly live in the city of Newport, and the towns of Ebbw Vale, Monmouth and Cwmbran. The resident population is increased by university students and the large numbers who visit or travel through the county each year. The transport infrastructure includes 112 miles of motorway and trunk roads, and a sea port.
The proportion of areas in Gwent that are predicted (on the basis of detailed economic and demographic analysis) to present a very high challenge to the police is very low compared to the national average. The most challenging areas are generally characterised by a high concentration of people living, working, socialising, or travelling in the area.
Features which both cause and/or indicate a concentration of people include the number of commercial premises, including licensed premises and fast-food premises, public transport, and social deprivation. In some areas, these features are combined.
Gwent Police collaborates with South Wales Police, including a shared mobile data platform and scientific investigation unit, shared strategic command cover and legal services, as well as collaboratively procured technology systems.
The force works as part of the all-Wales counter terrorism unit and the force has a joint firearms team with South Wales Police and Dyfed-Powys Police.
The Welsh Policing Estates collaboration is drawing up options for a joint estates service for policing in Wales, to reduce costs, enhance resilience and make service improvements.
Looking ahead to 2017
In the year ahead, I will be interested to see how the force responds to this assessment and to the areas for improvement that HMIC identified last year.
I will be particularly interested to see:
- how the force improves its understanding of, and response to, the threat from serious and organised crime; and
- how the force improves the consistency call handlers in assessing risk.
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Gwent Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Our overall judgment is the same as last year, when we judged the force to be good. The force has an effective approach to reducing crime and anti-social behaviour. It is good at investigating crime and protecting vulnerable people, particularly victims of domestic abuse. The force has the necessary arrangements in place to ensure it can respond to national threats. However, the way it tackles serious and organised crime requires improvement.
Gwent Police’s overall effectiveness at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good. The way the force is organised helps it to engage effectively with its communities and to identify and tackle neighbourhood problems. It works effectively with partner organisations (such as local authorities, or health and education services) to develop solutions that protect communities, prevent or reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and keep people safe.
The force is generally effective in the way it gathers evidence at the first point of contact However the way it uses its risk assessment process is inconsistent.The force continues to place the victim at the centre of any crime investigation.
The force ensures that intelligence professionals provide appropriate support to investigations. It has effective digital forensic support and makes good use of new technology to prevent and reduce crime. But initial supervision of crime investigations is not effective.
The force has a good integrated offender management structure, which is aiming to include serious violence and domestic abuse offenders. Domestic abuse is still a clear priority for the force and it has made good progress against its domestic abuse action plan.
While Gwent Police works hard to understand the nature and scale of vulnerability at a local level, it does not have an automatic system to identify vulnerable and repeat victims. Its response to missing children is good and processes are in place to identify and tackle child sexual exploitation.
The force has a limited understanding of the threat posed to its communities by serious and organised crime but is working with partner organisations to address this.
The force has appropriate arrangements in place to manage its national responsibilities under Strategic Policing Requirement. It has a good understanding of the current firearms and terrorist threats facing the Southern Wales region.
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Gwent Police has a good understanding of demand for its services gained through regular reviews of all the demand it faces and use of data on internal, hidden and proactive demand. It is beginning to use its data to understand trends and to send officers in advance to meet anticipated demand.
The force has a clear resourcing model, which has been developed using demand modelling to determine the most effective use of its resources and is matched against current finances and the expectations of money available from the government in the future.
The force has an outstanding and comprehensive investment strategy that details viable plans for investment in information and communications technology (ICT), including digitisation to improve the efficiency of its service.
The force can demonstrate that it has a credible financial plan that is built on sound assumptions for the medium-term future of the force. It has robust financial plans in place to keep its finances balanced over the four-year period to 2020/21.
Gwent Police has been assessed as good in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
Gwent Police has a good understanding of its demand in all areas. Demand is at the centre of the force’s understanding of how it operates, how it plans and how it deploys. Senior officers understand their demand data and the effect that the different types of demand (e.g. internal, hidden, proactive) have on the force, its partners and the public.
The force is beginning to use its data to understand trends and to send officers in advance to meet anticipated demand. It works well with partners at a senior level to ensure collective responsibility for demand and that misdirected demand is understood and avoided.
The force uses its resources effectively to manage current demand and uses its strong understanding of demand to allocate resources. It has systems in place to understand its workforce gaps and capabilities, which means that it can match operational skills in real time to demand and allows longer-term planning and deployment of resources.
Gwent Police has developed strong collaborations with other forces, the public sector and industry to deal with demand more efficiently. It is planning actively for demand in the future and takes account of public satisfaction in these plans. It also has processes in place to ensure that it reviews the impact of change on service provision.
By 2020/21, Gwent Police faces a potential budget shortfall, detailed in the force’s medium-term financial plan, of £9.5m, which the force anticipates will be covered by efficiency savings from its change programme. It has investment plans that should achieve greater efficiency and service improvement.
It will need to continue focusing on value for money throughout the medium term to sustain and improve operational effectiveness.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Gwent Police has been assessed as good in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our findings this year are consistent with last year’s findings, in which we judged the force to be good in respect of legitimacy.
The force has clear values which are understood by the workforce and it seeks feedback from the public as to how they are treated. Gwent Police insists its workforce acts with integrity and it is good at identifying corruption risks. The force seeks the views of its staff and it has well-established health and wellbeing procedures.
Gwent Police has a clear and well-articulated ‘vision and values’, and the Code of Ethics is familiar to staff across the organisation. It promotes the Code of Ethics by using ethical dilemmas to prompt discussion and debate.
The force is good at acting on learning. It has a management board to identify and manage learning from a range of sources. Governance of processes and information relating to internal and public legitimacy is good, and the force has clear plans in place to ensure its approach to legitimacy is properly coordinated.
The force identifies threats to the organisation effectively; for example, Operation Erasure identifies staff members who may be a risk through predatory sexual behaviour.
The force has a well-established and effective health and wellbeing strategy, which is supported by a range of practical measures to promote health and wellbeing. The workforce recognises its value. Additionally, the force respects the views of its staff and acts appropriately and legitimately to deal with concerns or issues raised by the workforce. The force actively encourages innovation. Staff contributions to organisational improvement, through the staff suggestion scheme, are welcomed and assessed and progress made on them in a way that is appreciated positively by the workforce.
How well has the force performed in our other inspections?
In addition to the three core PEEL pillars, HMICFRS carries out inspections of a wide range of policing activity throughout the year. Some of these are conducted alongside the PEEL inspections; others are joint inspections.
Findings from these inspections are published separately to the main PEEL reports, but are taken into account when producing the rounded assessment of each force's performance.
Police leadership is crucial in enabling a force to be effective, efficient and legitimate. This inspection focused on how a force understands, develops and displays leadership through its organisational development.
The chief officer team for Gwent Police has set out its expectations of leaders at all ranks and grades and these expectations are clear and well understood by the workforce. Gwent Police has some understanding of its leadership at different ranks, grades, roles and teams across the force. It can identify and respond to gaps in leadership capability, but this would be improved if it had better quality information about leadership capability. The force reacts quickly and effectively when it has identified leadership problems, with small local management teams taking responsibility for decision-making. While the force provides leadership training to newly promoted sergeants, inspectors and chief inspectors, the force does not formally assess its leadership training programmes for their value. The force does not have a talent management programme to which staff can apply, but potential senior leaders are identified through managerial recommendation and are then supported well to achieve their leadership potential.
Gwent Police recognises the value of new ideas from across the police service and beyond. It works well with other police forces in Wales and has looked at top performing forces nationally to understand better how it can improve its own performance. The force has a strong culture of innovation and works with commercial partners to obtain expertise when improving its own processes and improving its understanding of public demand for its services. The force also successfully encourages its workforce to contribute new ideas about how to improve services. However, it could do more to publicise good ideas, approaches and practices to its staff through the force intranet. The force works well to improve diversity in leadership teams in relation to protected characteristics, but it has yet to understand diversity in broader terms. This includes understanding that diversity of background and skills are an important part of producing leadership teams that are ready for the challenges of a changing policing environment.
This section sets out the reports published by HMIC this year that help to better understand the performance of Gwent Police.