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North Wales 2017

Read more about North Wales 2017

This is HMICFRS’ fourth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of North Wales 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 requires improvement.

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

Contact Wendy Williams

HMI's observations

Read my assessment of North Wales Police below, or watch the video.

I am satisfied with most aspects of North Wales Police’s performance in keeping people safe and reducing crime, but the force needs to make improvements in some areas to provide a consistently good service.

The force generally conducts thorough investigations and has made good progress in the way it protects vulnerable people. While it has taken positive steps to improve its crime recording since our 2014 inspection , it still needs to do more.

The force has a good understanding of demand and has made savings, but it does not use its resources to best effect and it needs to be more ambitious in its plans for the future.

Leaders demonstrate a clear expectation that its workforce will treat people fairly, but they need to improve external scrutiny to bring about the changes communities want.

The force has a strong ethical culture and is committed to the wellbeing of its workforce. However, it needs to do more to identify and develop the most talented officers and staff. The overall standard of North Wales Police’s performance has improved since last year and the force has made some good progress, but there is more to do.


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

Last updated 22/03/2018

North Wales Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime, and it has maintained a stable level of performance since our 2016 effectiveness inspection.

Os hoffech chi ddarllen hwn trwy’r Gymraeg

The force’s initial investigative response is effective. It conducts thorough telephone investigations and investigates cases of fraud well. Most high-risk and complex cases are dealt with by specialist investigators. The force generally conducts thorough investigations, leading to satisfactory outcomes for victims. There is regular supervision and monitoring of cases. The force’s investigative capacity is sufficient to cope with demand, and it is good at keeping victims updated throughout the investigation. However, not all investigators receive regular continuing professional development.

North Wales Police makes reasonable use of a variety of approaches to offender management and achieves reductions in re-offending. However, it is not always good at taking effective action to locate outstanding offenders. HMICFRS also found the force does not always contact Immigration Enforcement to verify the identity and nationality of arrested foreign nationals.

The force has a clear definition of what vulnerability is, and officers and staff understand how to protect people who are vulnerable. It demonstrates a good understanding of the nature and scale of vulnerability, developed in conjunction with partner organisations (such as local authorities, or health and education services) and should develop this joint understanding in respect of hidden demand. The force identifies vulnerable and repeat victims and assesses the risk to victims well. Good quality assurance processes ensure that handovers are effective, and that all immediate safeguarding actions are undertaken.

The force investigates offences involving vulnerable victims to an good standard and it has sufficient capacity to ensure that specialist investigations are allocated to suitably skilled investigators. Cases are supervised closely, to identify risk and vulnerability, and it has adequate safeguarding arrangements in place for the most vulnerable people. However, the force needs to ensure that all high-risk domestic abuse cases are referred to multi-agency risk assessment conferences so that all victims receive the support they need. The force is sufficiently prepared to manage the risk posed by dangerous and sexual offenders.

North Wales Police has the necessary arrangements in place to fulfil its national policing responsibilities.

View the five questions for effectiveness


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

Last updated 09/11/2017
Requires improvement

North Wales Police is judged to require improvement in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our overall judgment is not consistent with last year, when the force was assessed to be good for efficiency overall. The force has maintained a good understanding of current demand; its use of resources to manage demand is judged to require improvement; and it is judged to require improvement for its planning for future demand.

Os hoffech chi ddarllen hwn trwy’r Gymraeg

North Wales Police needs to improve its overall efficiency in keeping people safe and reducing crime, although there are some aspects of these duties that it manages well. The force is good at understanding the demand for its services and has well-established processes and systems for monitoring and understanding current demand. The force uses this understanding to deploy people and resources where they are needed most. This includes understanding demand that might otherwise go unreported.

The force’s leaders are becoming better at promoting innovative thinking to reduce demand, although big projects – such as those involving mobile technology – need to be implemented more quickly. North Wales Police requires improvement in the extent to which it uses its resources well. The force has not undertaken a skills audit of all its workforce that would improve its understanding of capacity and capability. This means it cannot use this understanding to help inform its recruitment, selection and promotion processes in order to identify the best people for the job, or to develop people in their roles. This applies to the force’s leaders too. There are processes to prioritise policing activity in response to changing public expectations, but leaders do not always use a clear rationale to reorganise the workforce to meet this demand.

North Wales Police requires improvement in the way it plans for the future. Leaders are beginning to undertake analysis of some roles to gain a clearer picture of how demand is changing, including likely future demand for its services, and the force is developing a long-term force plan which will draw all this work together. This plan will include making better use of technology, reducing partner resources and taking into consideration the views of local communities. However, at present the force does not have a single vision of the future to bring all this activity together, thereby enabling it to meet future demand. The force’s plans for the future are realistic but are not transformative. Evidence of dynamic innovation within the organisation is limited in comparison with other forces. However, the force is good at continuing to make savings, which means that it is able to invest well in infrastructure to make additional savings in the future.

View the three questions for efficiency


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

Last updated 12/12/2017

North Wales Police is judged to be good at how legitimately it keeps people safe and reduces crime. For the areas of legitimacy we looked at this year our overall judgment is more positive than last year, when we judged the force to be requiring improvement. The force is judged to be good at how well it ensures its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully and at treating its workforce with fairness and respect. It is judged to be requiring improvement in some aspects of the way in which it treats all of the people it serves with fairness and respect.

Os hoffech chi ddarllen hwn trwy’r Gymraeg

North Wales Police is judged to be good overall in respect of how legitimate the force is at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Previously, the force has acted when notified of areas for improvement, and its leaders have demonstrated a real commitment to ensuring the workforce understands the importance of treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. This includes how well it communicates with people and how fairly it uses coercive powers. However, the force requires improvement in some aspects of the way that it understands the extent to which its workforce treats members of the public with fairness and respect. It needs to do more to ensure its external scrutiny is effective in bringing about changes wanted by the communities it serves, including the way that it monitors and scrutinises the use of stop and search powers, to ensure these are used fairly.

North Wales Police has a good ethical culture. This is demonstrated by senior leaders, and officers and staff throughout the organisation, who take an ethical approach to decision making. Members of the public are able to complain easily when they feel that they have not received the service they expect from officers and staff in North Wales Police. Furthermore, the force is good at providing its workforce with the skills needed to identify, respond to and investigate discrimination. Leaders are fully committed to promoting the wellbeing of the workforce; a healthy lifestyle is encouraged and support is provided to those who need it. There are structures in place which allow the workforce to contribute new ideas, challenge leaders and receive feedback. However, the force needs to do more to encourage black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) representation within its workforce. It also needs to ensure the new appraisal process is understood by everyone, with a greater emphasis on individual development and organisational learning, and that it is valued and trusted by the workforce.

View the three questions for legitimacy

Other inspections

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.

Last updated 10/04/2018
View other reports

Key facts

Force Area

2375 square miles


0.69m people 3% local 10 yr change


76% frontline 78% national level
3.8 per 1000 population 3.6 national level
2% change in local workforce since 2010 15% national change since 2010

Victim-based crimes

0.05 per person 0.06 national level
Local 5 year trend National 5 year trend (no change)


58p per person per day local 55p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

  • A large and diverse geographic area, mainly rural with an extensive coastline which attracts tourists resulting in extra demand on public services.
  • North Wales is economically and culturally diverse; a third of the population is bilingual. Strategic road networks links the area to the North West.

Police and crime plan priorities

A PCP sets out the police and crime commissioner’s (PCC’s) priorities for policing and the resources the PCC has allocated to the chief constable for achieving these priorities.