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The force says...

North Yorkshire is England’s largest policing land area, covering 8,320km2. Demographically it is predominantly White British (93%), with a population of approximately 809,000 people.

Whilst much of the area is rural, there are urban concentrations in York, Harrogate and Scarborough.  These have a vibrant night-time economy and present urban challenges.

Most of the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Parks come within the area.  These attract 16.5m tourism visitors a year, significantly swelling resident populations, and increasing policing demand. North Yorkshire also includes the British Army’s largest training establishment.

Recent crime trends show a reduction in acquisitive crime and an increase in crimes against the person. In response, in 2016, the Force invested £3m to improve protection for vulnerable people.

The Force also launched a Rural Task Force – the largest in the country – to address issues faced by rural communities.

With a road network of more than 6,000 miles (one of the country’s largest) and arterial routes traversing the region, cross-border crime is a significant factor, representing around 20 percent of reported crimes. The Force has invested heavily in automatic number plate recognition technology to disrupt this activity.

Neighbourhood Policing remains a core focus, and frontline officer/PCSO numbers are increasing. The Force is building specialist unit resilience (dog section, major investigations) through Evolve, a collaboration programme with Durham and Cleveland Police.

Disclaimer: the above statement has been prepared by North Yorkshire Police. The views and information in it are not necessarily those of HMICFRS.

HMIC says...

North Yorkshire Police provides policing services to the county of North Yorkshire. The police force area covers 3,208 square miles with approximately 55 miles of coastline in the north of England. Although there are some areas of deprivation, North Yorkshire is generally affluent. Around 0.8 million people live in a predominantly rural setting. Its distinct urban areas include the coastal towns of Scarborough and Whitby as well as the city of York. The resident population is increased by university students and the very large numbers who visit or travel through the county each year. The transport infrastructure includes major rail stations.

England and Wales is made up of over 181,000 small areas known as census output areas (OAs). These have been defined by the Office for National Statistics to group together people with similar characteristics and to include, on average, 125 households. The size of the geographical area covered by each OA varies according to the population density in different parts of the country. The largest OA in England and Wales covers 20,166 hectares, and the smallest less than 0.02 hectares. A football pitch is approximately 0.75 of a hectare.

There are 2,691 OAs in North Yorkshire with an average size of 309 hectares which is much bigger than the national average of 87 hectares. While the almost half (45 percent) of the OAs in North Yorkshire are relatively small at under 10 hectares, a sizeable proportion (28 percent) are extremely large in size (over 100 hectares) indicating rural nature of the area. The smallest OAs are concentrated in York and the numerous towns on North Yorkshire with the largest spread across the extensive more sparsely populated rural areas.

The advantage of analysis at output area level is that it supports a people-centred approach. Differences in the socio-economic characteristics of people who live in different OAs lead to different behaviours, including the use of public services. These differences are reflected in the information that is collected in large data sets such as the census, the Ordnance Survey (OS) point of interest data and other quasi-economic sources that have been used in this analysis.

HMIC has been working with the London School of Economics to use econometric techniques to statistically model and predict the level of reactive demands for police services in each OA in England and Wales. Using police incident data and several thousand characteristics (variables) drawn from the census data, OS point of interest data and other smaller data sets for each OA, it has been possible to predict the number of incidents for each OA and determine how challenging each OA is likely to be to police. We have also used the house prices from the Land Registry as a proxy indicator of wealth. North Yorkshire has a median house price, based on the OAs that have had a property transaction within the last 12 months, of £218,345 which is lower than the median of England and Wales (£230,358). North Yorkshire has 2.1 percent of its OAs within the lowest 10 percent of house prices nationally, while 16.9 percent of OAs are within the top 10 percent of house prices nationally (and 4.2 percent of OAs are within the top 1 percent). This suggests that there are large areas of affluence and high house prices, with a small proportion of lower value housing and deprivation.

The demands for police services are not the same in every area of England and Wales. Our analysis has revealed that the socio-demographic characteristics of an area influence the demands for police services in that area.

In every police force, there is a concentration of predicted demands in a small number of its OAs. Taking England and Wales as a whole the most challenging 1,811 (1 percent) of these account for 10.8 percent of all the predicted incidents. We have designated these areas of very high challenge and found that they are characterised by a high concentration of people living, working, socialising or travelling in the area. Features which both cause and/or indicated a concentration of people include the number of commercial premises, including licensed premises, fast food premises, public transport and social deprivation. In some areas, these features are in combination.

Some 0.9 percent of the very high challenge areas nationally are in North Yorkshire. The highest challenge one percent of OAs in the force account for 7.2 percent of North Yorkshire’s predicted incidents, these predicted demands are likely to occur in only 0.2 percent of the total area of the force.

Within North Yorkshire:

  • the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of incidents is lower than the national level of one percent;
  • the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of crime is broadly in line with the national level of one percent;
  • the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of anti-social behaviour is broadly in line with the national level of one percent;
  • the proportion of OAs that are very high challenge to police for the predicted level of emergency and priority calls for assistance at incidents is broadly in line with the national level of one percent; and
  • the proportion of OAs that are very high challenge to police for the predicted level of emergency and priority calls for assistance at crimes is broadly in line with the national level of one percent.

As an indication of the challenge for the police to reach citizens in all parts of North Yorkshire we calculated the average travel time and distance from the central point of the force area to the centre of each of the 2,691 OAs. These calculations of distance and time are based on using the road network under normal driving conditions and speeds, and indicate the size of the area and the quality of its road network.

North Yorkshire has 151 miles of motorways and trunk roads; the average travel distance of 24 miles (longest 76 miles and shortest 0.16 miles) and the average travel time of 45 minutes from the centre of the force to each OA are higher than the respective national averages of 17 miles and 30 minutes. This demonstrates the size and of North Yorkshire and the nature of its roads.

While the concentration of demands in a small number of locations (covering a very small area) may be helpful in focusing resources, it is not the totality of demand. The provision of services extends beyond those areas that are a very high challenge to police and includes the least challenging and most remote areas. The challenge of providing services throughout North Yorkshire is a function of many things including the size and topography of the area, the road network and how congested the roads are. These considerations influence how police resources are organised and managed – for example, where police officers are based and their working patterns.