South Wales PEEL 2016
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
South Wales Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force has an effective approach to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. It is also effective in the way it investigates crime and protects vulnerable people, particularly victims of domestic abuse. It is good at tackling serious and organised crime. It has the necessary arrangements in place to fulfil its national policing responsibilities and has assessed each of the threats in the Strategic Policing Requirement. Our overall judgment this year is the same as last year, when we judged the force to be good in respect of effectiveness.
South Wales Police has a dedicated local policing model and understands the threat or risk of harm within the communities it serves. The force uses a problem-solving model but the quality of its application is inconsistent. Neighbourhood officers can concentrate on their neighbourhood policing role and are not routinely taken away to cover reactive duties.
Neighbourhood staff have good local knowledge of their community and are aware of community concerns and intelligence about criminal activity. Neighbourhood teams engage well with their communities using a range of methods, and staff have a high level of understanding of local problems. South Wales Police has a good understanding of the nature and scale of vulnerability in its local area and describes vulnerability as being the ’priority of priorities’. The force is able to identify repeat and vulnerable victims when they first contact the force, and it uses a risk-assessment process to grade calls based upon the level of threat and risk of harm. The force is good at investigating crime and keeps the victim at the centre of investigations. It has effective arrangements in place to pursue outstanding offenders and to reduce re-offending. However, there are inconsistencies in the way it selects offenders for its integrated offender management scheme.
South Wales Police is good at tackling serious and organised crime. Organised crime groups are mapped and scored appropriately and consistently using the national assessment tool, with all mapping up to date.
How effective is the force at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe?
South Wales Police’s effectiveness in preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe is good. The force has a dedicated local policing model and engages well with its communities to understand the problems which are of the most concern to the people it serves. Neighbourhood staff are allowed to carry out their neighbourhood policing role and are not routinely taken away to cover other duties. Neighbourhood teams engage well with their communities using a range of methods. They have a good local knowledge of their community and are aware of community concerns and intelligence about criminal activity.
The force uses the SARA (scan, analyse, respond, assess) model as its formal approach to problem-solving, but the ways in which the staff use the model can be inconsistent. The force uses a wide range of tactics and interventions to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour, but because it does not evaluate its problem-solving activities, it cannot say how effective they are. It does not routinely make use of best practice. However, it hopes to resolve this with the introduction of its new crime prevention strategy.
Areas for improvement
- The force should improve the consistency of its problem-solving process to enable it to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour more effectively.
- The force should evaluate and share effective practice routinely, both internally and with partner organisations, so that it can continually improve its approach to the prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour.
How effective is the force at investigating crime and reducing re-offending?
South Wales Police is good at investigating crime and reducing re-offending. It is able to identify repeat and vulnerable victims when they first contact the force. Staff are trained to use the force’s risk-assessment process accurately. The grading of calls has improved and is now based upon the level of threat and risk of harm.
The force is good at allocating investigations to the right teams and good at investigating crime. The force has effective arrangements in place to pursue outstanding offenders and reduce re-offending. However, it has inconsistencies in the way it selects offenders for its integrated management programme. Officers are trained to investigate digital and cyber-crimes. The recovery of digital evidence across the force could improve.
South Wales Police is good at keeping the victim at the centre of its investigations. It has high levels of victim satisfaction. Supervision of initial investigations is good, but supervision of handovers and investigations could be better. The force is in the process of improving how it manages high-risk violent offenders and registered sex offenders. It is good at bringing offenders to justice and has a considerably higher charge rate than many other forces in England and Wales.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that there is regular and active supervision of investigations to improve quality and progress.
- 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.
How effective is the force at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims?
South Wales Police has a good understanding of the nature and scale of vulnerability in its local area. Vulnerability is its “priority of priorities”. The force has a child sexual exploitation problem profile that includes partnership data and provides a clear picture of the nature and scale of child sexual exploitation across the area. Its domestic abuse action plan clearly sets out how the force and partner organisations are tackling domestic abuse.
Officers and staff have a good understanding of how to identify and protect vulnerable people. The force’s training programme for staff addresses all areas of vulnerability. The force has made significant improvements in the way it deals with missing people. It has made clear efforts to understand the nature and scale of vulnerability of people who have problems with mental health.
The force is good at identifying vulnerable and repeat victims. It assesses the level of risk at the initial point of contact and when officers first attend incidents. When officers attend incidents, they clearly consider safeguarding the victim and family members, including the use of disclosure and protection orders. The force is good at investigating crime involving vulnerable victims and working with partner organisations to keep people safe.
Areas for improvement
- The force should improve its initial investigation of cases involving vulnerable victims by providing responding officers with access to photographic and/or video-recording equipment to show evidence of injuries and crime scenes.
How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime?
South Wales Police is good at tackling serious and organised crime. The force effectively assesses the threat and risk from serious and organised crime, and local policing teams are aware of the organised crime groups (OCGs) living in their area. OCGs are mapped and scored appropriately and consistently, using the national assessment tool, with all mapping up to date. All OCGs are assigned to a capable lead responsible officer, and structured and up to date management plans are in place for all mapped OCGs.
The force works effectively with partner organisations to support serious and organised crime investigations and provide resources for interventions towards vulnerable offenders. However, partnership data is not included in the serious and organised crime local profiles. Local officers are aware of the OCGs in their areas and are fully engaged in their disruption. The force uses the national disruption scale to assess the degree of OCG disruption and the impact of force activity on serious and organised crime. The force has several projects to raise awareness and deter young people from serious and organised crime. It has processes in place to update communities and assess the impact of police operations to tackle serious and organised crime.
Areas for improvement
- The force should further develop its serious and organised crime local profile in conjunction with partner organisations to enhance its understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime and inform joint activity aimed at reducing this threat.
- The force should improve the quality of its action plan that sets out the steps it will take to maximise the use of regional organised crime unit (ROCU) capabilities, minimise duplication at force level, and ensure that the use of shared ROCU resources is prioritised effectively between forces in the Southern Wales region.
How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?
South Wales Police has the necessary arrangements in place to fulfil its national policing responsibilities. The force has assessed each of the threats set out in the Strategic Policing Requirement and has been involved in a series of comprehensive exercises with partner organisations to test each of the threats.
The force is well prepared to respond to an attack requiring an armed response. It can provide a comprehensive response to the current firearms and terrorist threats facing the South Wales region.
The force has processes in place to assess the level of threat and risk to the force and the region accurately. It conducts regular reviews to update the threat and risk and adjusts the force/region’s response to address any changes. The force is involved in a continuing programme of operations and table-top exercises with partner agencies to test all aspects of identified threat and risk.
The force has appropriate and sufficient command structures in place with sufficient and appropriately trained authorised firearms officers to meet the identified threat and risk. It has plans in place for increasing its firearms capability as part of the national armed uplift programme and is making good progress towards this.