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Gwent PEEL 2017

Effectiveness

How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 22/03/2018
Requires improvement

Gwent Police requires improvement in keeping people safe and reducing crime. Its effectiveness has deteriorated since 2016 in the important area of protecting vulnerable people (people who are vulnerable through their age, disability, or because they have been subjected to repeated offences, or are at high risk of abuse, for example).

Os hoffech chi ddarllen hwn trwy’r Gymraeg

The force has a good awareness of vulnerability throughout the force area and has improved the way it identifies vulnerable people when they first contact the force. A structured risk-assessment process is in place to ensure that vulnerable people get the most appropriate response. The force is making good progress in its approach to vulnerable people with mental health conditions.

However, Gwent Police needs to improve its response to victims of domestic abuse. Officers are good at making sure immediate safeguarding is carried out for victims and members of their household, but the force has reduced its use of arrest and other legal powers to protect and continue to safeguard victims. The force refers fewer domestic abuse cases to multi-agency risk assessment conferences than almost any other force in England and Wales. In addition, officers are not consistently using body-worn video cameras to record evidence at domestic abuse incidents.

Gwent Police has improved the way it tackles serious and organised crime. The force has developed its understanding of the threats posed. It maps organised crime groups promptly and disrupts their activity. However, frontline officers have only a limited understanding of the expansion into Gwent of drug-dealing networks from surrounding areas.

The force has a good working relationship with the regional organised crime unit but needs to improve the exchange of intelligence with partner agencies (such as local authorities, or health and education services) so it can understand threats better. It also needs to improve how it prevents serious and organised crime. The force has no specific initiatives to make young people aware of the risks posed by organised crime.

Gwent Police has the necessary arrangements in place to fulfil its national policing responsibilities, and to respond to an attack requiring an armed response.

Questions for Effectiveness

3

How effective is the force at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims?

Gwent Police requires improvement at protecting vulnerable people and supporting victims. Since our 2016 inspection, the force has improved its initial identification of vulnerable people.

The force now identifies vulnerability and assesses risk and needs effectively, with a planned and co-ordinated approach to vulnerability. It is trialling a new control room approach to triaging mental ill health cases and has provided mental health training to staff.

The force works with partner agencies to reduce its high use of custody as a place of safety for people with mental ill health.

However, the force supervises investigations involving vulnerable people inconsistently. It should:

  • address its low rate of arrests of domestic abuse suspects and its low use of legal powers to protect people;
  • ensure that all officers understand force policy on body-worn video and use it in all incidents of domestic abuse;
  • improve its management of the risks posed by the increasing number of registered sex offenders; and
  • ensure that all high-risk domestic abuse cases are referred to a multi-agency risk-assessment conference so victims receive the level of support they need.

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • The force should improve the quality of investigations involving vulnerable people by ensuring that they are subject to regular and active supervision.
  • The force should reduce the backlog of risk assessments for registered sex offenders to ensure the risks posed are managed effectively.
  • The force should improve its overall approach to safeguarding victims of domestic abuse by:
    • understanding and taking appropriate action to address the reasons for its low domestic abuse arrest rate and low use of domestic violence protection notices and domestic violence protection orders;
    • clarifying the policy for the deployment and use of body-worn video cameras by officers attending incidents of domestic abuse;
    • ensuring that all high-risk domestic abuse cases are referred to multi-agency risk-assessment conferences (MARACs) so victims receive the support they need; and
    • implementing a process to obtain feedback from victims of domestic abuse, including those victims who do not support police action.
4

How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime?

Gwent Police requires improvement at tackling serious and organised crime (SOC).

The force has a developing understanding of the threats posed by SOC. It acknowledges that it needs to exploit partner agency information to improve this understanding. It works well across county lines to support vulnerable children through the missing children hub.

The force has also:

  • improved its mapping of organised crime groups; and
  • developed initiatives to improve young people’s awareness of the risks of crime and relationships with the police (but these are not linked to organised crime prevention

The force does not record or identify all disruptions, or systematically review its SOC investigations. This was an area for improvement in 2016 which the force has not yet addressed.

The force needs to improve how it:

  • prevents, disrupts and investigates SOC;
  • understands the impact of its SOC activity;
  • understands the expansion of drug-dealing networks; and
  • ensures it learns from experience to maximise its disruption of SOC activity.

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • The force should develop its ability to gather and use intelligence from a range of sources, including partnership information, to improve its understanding of serious and organised crime.
  • The force should strengthen its response to drug-dealing networks that use ‘county lines’ to exploit local communities and inflict violence.
  • The force should improve its understanding of the impact of its activity on serious and organised crime through use of the 4Ps, and ensure that it learns from experience to maximise its disruptive effects.
5

How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?

National threats often require forces to work together, across force boundaries. These threats include terrorism, large-scale disorder and civil emergencies. We examined the capabilities in place to respond to these threats, in particular a firearms attack.

Most positively, the force:

  • has effective plans to build its capacity to respond to national threats;
  • tests its skills in training exercises; and
  • has developed a good understanding of the threat to the public from an armed attack.

Ungraded