West Yorkshire PEEL 2018
How effectively does the force reduce crime and keep people safe?
West Yorkshire Police is good at reducing crime and keeping people safe.
The force provides a good service to victims of crime. It has processes in place and good supervision to keep victims up-to-date on the progress of investigations.
However, investigation quality requires improvement. A shortfall in detective capacity and capability is reducing the effectiveness of investigations, particularly those involving specialist safeguarding.
West Yorkshire Police is good at protecting vulnerable people.
The force’s policies provide unambiguous direction for safeguarding children, young people and adults. It shows a good understanding of the nature and scale of vulnerability due to mental health. It works closely with partner organisations and is good at sharing information when vulnerability has been identified.
The force is outstanding in its use of tools, data and information to identify complex threats and risk, prioritise activity and project demand for its services over the next four years.
It pays great attention to its victim satisfaction rates for domestic abuse, which show the force achieving an overall satisfaction rate of 84.4 percent in the 12 months to April 2018/19.
In 2017 we judged West Yorkshire Police as good at preventing and tackling anti-social behaviour. In 2016, we judged it as good at tackling serious and organised crime.
How effective is the force at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe?
This question was not subject to detailed inspection in 2018/19, and our judgment from the 2017 effectiveness inspection has been carried over.
How effective is the force at investigating crime and reducing re-offending?
Detective capability and capacity is a risk for West Yorkshire Police. Not enough officers are trained and have the experience to manage high-risk investigations, particularly those involving specialist safeguarding. This has a negative effect on investigation quality and puts pressure on supervisors.
The force is working hard to recruit, retain and train officers to fill the gap. Initiatives include new career pathways and ‘we are all investigators’ training.
The force has invested in activities to improve statement quality, handovers between teams and processing times for digital evidence. However, more progress is needed before they make a positive effect on the effectiveness of investigations.
File and investigation quality may be a cause of the force’s high number of unassigned outcomes and outcome 15 (where there are evidential difficulties with the crime, but the suspect has been identified and the victim supports action).
West Yorkshire Police has one of the highest telephone resolution rates in England and Wales. It provides a good service to resolve non-emergency incidents that leads to satisfactory outcomes for victims.
The force’s ‘wanted persons’ mobile device application is good. It circulates up-to-date information on suspects to help officers focus on those causing most harm. The force works well with immigration services.
It has a new bail policy, which has not yet been implemented. (At the time of the inspection it didn’t have a standard policy or guidelines in place.)
A new governance structure (that is, a regular meeting schedule) aims to improve performance and put outcomes for victims at the front of the decision-making process.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that supervisors are equipped with the necessary skills needed for effective supervision of investigations and that there is sufficient capacity within the sergeant rank for intrusive supervision to take place.
- The force should ensure that all evidence is retrieved at the first opportunity and initial statements are completed to a high quality to maximise the likelihood of investigations being conducted successfully.
- The force should improve its ability to retrieve digital evidence from mobile phones, computers and other electronic devices quickly enough to ensure that investigations are not delayed.
- The force should take steps to understand its investigation outcome data and to ensure that it is pursing justice on behalf of victims of crime.
Cause of concern
The capacity and capability for West Yorkshire Police to effectively deal with investigations involving vulnerability is a cause of concern.
- The force should review its capacity and capability across the five district safeguarding units and ensure that workloads are manageable and aligned to demand and risk. It should also ensure that adequate welfare and support is available for the officers and staff working within them.
- The force should ensure that officers and staff have appropriate professional skills and experience to investigate complex cases involving vulnerable victims and that these are supervised effectively.
How effective is the force at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims?
‘Protecting the vulnerable’ is one of the force’s five priorities. It has a clear definition of vulnerability that officers and staff understand well.
The force uses assessment tools and data from partners, including health services, local authorities and probation, to understand:
- the nature and scale of vulnerability it faces;
- which threats pose the greatest risk; and
- complex crime demand.
Its four-year projection will influence training, workforce and intelligence planning.
The force’s initial response to incidents involving vulnerable people is good. Call handlers can promptly identify vulnerability and give appropriate advice on keeping safe and preserving evidence.
The force has a definition and policy to help officers and staff recognise mental ill health. It runs successful forums, trials and evaluations (at district level) to provide a more effective service to people with mental health conditions.
West Yorkshire Police works well with neighbourhood teams to safeguard vulnerable victims. It also makes use of alternative legislation and powers when it cannot prosecute. For example, domestic violence prevention orders.
The force pays great attention to victim satisfaction rates for domestic abuse. It has a clear policy for Clare’s Law and uses it to protect victims.
It has a good approach to the multi-agency risk assessment conference (MARAC), with established systems and processes for working with partners.Detailed findings for question 3
How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime?
This question was not subject to detailed inspection in 2018/19, and our judgment from the 2016 effectiveness inspection has been carried over.
How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?
We have previously inspected how well forces provide armed policing. This formed part of our 2016 and 2017 effectiveness inspections. Subsequent terrorist attacks in the UK and Europe have meant that the police service maintains a focus on armed capability in England and Wales.
It is not just terrorist attacks that place operational demands on armed officers. The threat can include the activity of organised crime groups or armed street gangs and all other crime involving guns. The Code of Practice on the Police Use of Firearms and Less Lethal Weapons (PDF document) makes forces responsible for implementing national standards of armed policing. The code stipulates that a chief officer be designated to oversee these standards. This requires the chief officer to set out the firearms threat in an armed policing strategic threat and risk assessment (APSTRA). The chief officer must also set out clear rationales for the number of armed officers (armed capacity) and the level to which they are trained (armed capability).Detailed findings for question 5