North Yorkshire 2018/19Read more about North Yorkshire
This is HMICFRS’s fifth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of North Yorkshire Police. PEEL is designed to give you information about how your local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year.
North Yorkshire Police was inspected in tranche two and we found:
the extent to which the force is effective at reducing crime and keeping people safe is good.
the extent to which the force operates efficiently and sustainably is good.
the extent to which the force treats the public and its workforce legitimately requires improvement.
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Phil Gormley, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
I am satisfied with most aspects of the performance of North Yorkshire Police, but the force needs to improve in its legitimacy to provide a consistently good service.
The force is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. It is good at investigating crime and has continued to improve how it identifies and protects vulnerable people. It now has better systems to identify and support vulnerable people and makes greater use of protective powers.
The force understands current demand well and seeks to use its resources efficiently. However, it needs to improve its understanding of future demand, so it can make good financial and workforce plans.
I am disappointed that it doesn’t yet have the systems it needs to reassure the public it uses powers such as stop and search legitimately. It also needs greater capacity and capability to root out corruption.
I commend the progress that North Yorkshire Police has made in some areas since last year. I will continue to monitor the force’s progress in areas where it still needs to improve.
How effectively does the force reduce crime and keep people safe?
North Yorkshire Police is good at looking after vulnerable people who are victims of crime. From the first contact with a victim, the force recognises when people need support and help. Those who handle calls in the control room can see the records and other information they need to judge how best to work with vulnerable victims. Officers were able to explain to inspectors how they assess risk. But the force should make sure that those risk judgments are properly recorded using the tools available. This would mean the force could be sure that it is offering a consistently good service to vulnerable victims. Officers and staff have recently been trained to recognise signs of vulnerability.
The control room also has good ways of quickly assessing people’s mental health needs at peak times, with plans to offer this service 24 hours a day every day. Street teams in some areas also have the skills to recognise people with mental ill health. However, officers and staff are concerned about the extra pressures resulting from some mental health suites closing.
In some places, daily meetings talk about the ‘most vulnerable, most demanding, most dangerous and most wanted’ people. The force should think about applying this way of working across North Yorkshire so that vulnerability is identified consistently.
The force has improved its data collection on domestic abuse since our last inspection in 2017. It has also introduced an additional post so that court applications in domestic abuse cases are improved and achieve positive results to protect vulnerable victims, with the vast majority of applications succeeding. This is a positive step. However, the force needs to understand why not all high-level domestic abuse cases are being properly referred for multi-agency support.
How efficiently does the force operate and how sustainable are its services to the public?
North Yorkshire Police understands the demands it faces well. Calls are being answered quickly in the control room and the force is tackling problems that the community is concerned about. For example, it has responded positively to worries that rural crime wasn’t being fully reported. As it plans for the future, the force should consider all options for providing services, so that its work is tailored to fit local needs.
Plans are in place for the force to work more closely with partner organisations. North Yorkshire Police already co-operates with other forces in the region. The Transform 2020 programme aims to see police working much closer with fire service colleagues. The force should understand the wider benefits that can result from change. It should be clear how the changes being made are making a difference to the public.
The force knows that new skills will be needed to meet future demand, so it is changing the way it recruits people. It is also investing in technology. Officers have mobile devices that allow them to work more effectively when they are away from the police station. We would like to see clear plans for developing the next generation of leaders.
How legitimately does the force treat the public and its workforce?
The force needs to improve its understanding of how fairly its officers treat the public. A complete picture is needed of how both use of force and stop and search powers are being used in the community. The force needs a better understanding of how officers are using force. Officers electronically record when force has been used, but their actions aren’t being reviewed often enough by supervisors.
It is a similar picture for stop and search powers. Training needs to be delivered consistently, and supervisors should fulfil their role so that the public can be confident about the way the force is operating.
It is positive that four external community review groups are being set up. However, it is too soon to know what influence these groups may have, as only one of them had met when we inspected the force and independent chairs hadn’t been appointed.
Ethics are important and well understood in the culture of working within the force. However, officers and staff should have the option of speaking to someone independent of their day-to-day work if they want to raise a concern about unethical behaviour.
The force needs to make sure that those tackling counter-corruption can monitor all computer data so that any potential problems are brought to light and investigated. More training is needed so that all officers and staff fully understand the issue of abuse of position for a sexual purpose.
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.
Joint targeted area inspection of the multi-agency response to sexual abuse in the family in York – published 9 November 2018