North Yorkshire PEEL 2016
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
North Yorkshire Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Our overall judgment this year is the same as last year, when we judged the force to be good in respect of effectiveness.
The force works well with partners to tackle local problems and keep people safe. The quality of crime investigation is generally good, and the force has improved the support it provides to vulnerable victims. It works well with others to manage offenders, but the force needs to improve its approach to tackling serious and organised crime.
Overall, North Yorkshire Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force has a clear commitment to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, with a strong emphasis from the police and crime commissioner and the chief constable on protecting neighbourhood policing. The importance of preventing crime is well understood by officers and staff. The force works well with other organisations to understand and solve local problems, including intervening early to tackle local concerns and stop problems from getting worse.
Generally, the force carries out good quality investigations and makes sure that victims are safe. It works well to identify, investigate and bring to justice repeat and dangerous offenders and prevent them from re-offending.
The force has made some improvements since HMIC’s 2015 effectiveness inspection, and vulnerability is recognised as a priority across the force. The force puts significant effort and resources into offering a high quality service to the public, ensuring that it deals with vulnerable victims appropriately. It works well in identifying, at the earliest opportunity, people who might be vulnerable and assesses the risks which they face in order to provide the most appropriate response. The levels of support provided to victims of domestic abuse have improved. The force has a proactive approach to preventing further incidents while dealing robustly with perpetrators.
The force has made good progress in developing joint working arrangements with local partner organisations, although more work is needed to ensure that all relevant organisations are contributing. The force has adequate arrangements in place to ensure that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities. However, it needs to improve its understanding of the threat and risk posed by serious and organised crime to the communities of North Yorkshire and adopt a longer-term approach to dismantling organised crime groups which includes preventative measures as well as reactive investigation.
How effective is the force at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe?
North Yorkshire Police is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe.
The force has a strong commitment to providing a policing service that has the interests of local communities at the centre of its policing provision. Safer neighbourhood teams tailor their methods of communication to ensure that the views of local communities are recorded. The force uses social media as a means of reaching out to a wider audience and has developed a community messaging system which uses modern technology to simplify communications between the police and the public.
The force has a structured and collaborative approach to problem-solving which is established in most areas. Integrated working through community safety hubs has developed over many years to enhance multi-agency service provision. Investment in preventative policing continues and the force is well placed to continue taking a proactive approach to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour.
HMIC is satisfied that, following our 2015 effectiveness inspection, the neighbourhood policing ethos remains. However, it is apparent that preventative policing methods run the risk of becoming less effective as a result of staff being taken away from their roles to perform other duties.
How effective is the force at investigating crime and reducing re-offending?
North Yorkshire Police’s approach to investigating crime and managing offenders is assessed as being good overall.
The force allocates investigations to the appropriate department and officers possess the required level of skill. Processes within the control room enable the call-takers to assess areas of risk correctly. However, more could be done to gather information that would assist in the investigation process. Investigations into offences in which the victim was assessed as being vulnerable were completed to a high standard with good supervisory oversight, but this is not consistent for other crime types.
North Yorkshire Police has processes in place that help ensure that people who pose a risk to the public are actively managed. The multi-agency public protection arrangement (MAPPA) process is used to manage people who pose the greatest risk. The types of offenders managed by the integrated offender management unit have been extended to include domestic abuse perpetrators, violent offenders, registered sex offenders and members of organised crime groups.
Following HMIC’s 2015 effectiveness inspection, we wanted North Yorkshire Police to improve its compliance with the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime, specifically in relation to victim personal statements. In this inspection, we found good progress had been made.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that all evidence is retrieved at the first opportunity in order to maximise the likelihood of investigations being concluded successfully.
- The force should ensure that there is regular and active supervision of investigations to improve quality and progress.
- The force should ensure that those who are circulated as wanted on the police national computer, those who fail to appear on police bail, named and outstanding suspects and suspects identified through forensic evidence are swiftly located and arrested.
How effective is the force at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims?
North Yorkshire Police is good at protecting vulnerable people from harm, and supporting victims.
The force is able to identify vulnerability at first point of contact and provide initial safeguarding actions. The THRIVE risk assessment tool was understood across the organisation and officers were found to have a good understanding of their responsibility to support vulnerable people.
The force is good at providing follow-up support and works closely with partner agencies through well-established arrangements. There has been an investment in mental health training and the placing of a mental health practitioner within the control room has greatly enhanced the level of support available.
Investigators were found to be adequately trained and completed investigations which featured vulnerability were completed to a high standard. Supervisors play an active role in monitoring these investigations.
The force plays a leading role in the multi-agency risk assessment conference (MARAC) process. However, the continuing rise in the number of cases will test the resilience of the organisation.
Inspectors found a number of limitations in the force’s ability effectively to manage incidents classed as stalking and harassment. The force had previously completed a review of their procedures and plans are being made to improve the situation.
Areas for improvement
- The force still needs to improve its initial investigation of cases involving victims of domestic abuse by ensuring that responding officers have access to photographic and/or video-recording equipment to show evidence of injuries and crime scenes.
- The force should ensure that officers and staff use the appropriate category to classify missing persons in cases involving children.
How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime?
North Yorkshire Police needs to improve the way it tackles serious and organised crime.
The force has an adequate understanding of the threats posed by serious and organised crime and is taking active steps to enhance its knowledge of emerging crime types. The first serious and organised crime local profile was produced at the start of 2016 and reflects the national and regional threats. However more could be done to enhance the local element, which would benefit from the inclusion of partnership data.
The force has well established mapping processes which follow national guidelines. There were some good examples of local officers playing an active part in intelligence-gathering and disrupting crime groups within their local area. However, this was not reflected across the whole of the organisation.
The force has the capability to deal with the organised crime groups that create the greatest threat and additional support is provided by the regional organised crime unit. However, further progress could be made in the lifetime offender management of people who sit at the head of organised crime groups.
Some good partnership work draws individuals away from crime and this is achieved through both the Troubled Families programme and integrated offender management.
Areas for improvement
- In conjunction with partner organisations, the force should further develop its serious and organised crime local profile to enhance its understanding of the threat and to inform joint activity aimed at reducing this threat.
- The force should ensure that lead responsible officers maintain up-to-date management plans for all active organised crime groups as part of a long-term, multi-agency approach to dismantling these groups. Lead responsible officers should adopt a balanced approach across the ‘four Ps’ framework, and they should have a consistently good knowledge of available tactics.
- The force should enhance its approach to the ‘lifetime management’ of organised criminals to minimise the risk they pose to local communities.
How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?
North Yorkshire Police has effective specialist capabilities and has good plans in place to mobilise in response to the threats set out in the Strategic Policing Requirement. The force regularly takes part in regional exercises to test these plans and makes amendments following the lessons learned from such tests. Over the past twelve months the force has taken part in multiple regional and national exercises.
The resources available to North Yorkshire Police, both locally through the alliance with Yorkshire and Humberside Police forces and through the regional service level agreement, help the force to prepare for an attack which requires an armed response. The force recently reviewed its assessment of threat, risk and harm and this now includes the threats posed by marauding armed terrorists.