More about this area
The force says...
South Wales Police provides a policing service to 1.3 million people covering 42% of Wales’ population with around 49% of the total crime in Wales. During 2015/16 the Force received a total of 1,053,095 calls and recorded 98,318 crimes, making it the 7th busiest force (outside of London) in England and Wales in terms of crimes per 1,000 population. In the 12 months to December 2016 the Force has seen 33,745 arrests, 339,294 incidents, 181,266 emergency and 449,980 non-emergency calls.
The Force is developing ever closer partnerships to protect vulnerable people through multi-agency hubs. The Force has also introduced a tri-service centre with two Fire and Rescue Services and the Wales Ambulance Service Trust. The Force works with other forces and partners to deliver services collaboratively to the communities of South Wales.
Policing in South Wales is delivered by 2,956 officers, 1,873 staff and 406 PCSOs, with a budget of £259 million.
The force area includes 64 of the 100 most deprived communities in Wales and is a diverse region featuring rural, coastal and urban policing challenges including the two most populated cities in Wales, Swansea and the capital city, Cardiff, which attracts over 18 million visitors per year and is home to over 94,000 students.
Policing a capital city brings its own demands and the presence of the Welsh Government requires a dedicated policing unit. Despite the increased demand the Force does not receive capital city status funding.
South Wales Police is the strategic force in Wales delivering not only a local service but also providing support for major national events outside the Force area. The Force polices approximately 600 events each year including national and international sporting events, royal visits and demonstrations while policing the night-time economies in Cardiff and Swansea. In May 2017 Cardiff will host the UEFA Champions League Final.
Disclaimer: the above statement has been prepared by South Wales Police. The views and information in it are not necessarily those of HMICFRS.
South Wales Police provides policing services to the areas of West, South and Mid-Glamorgan. The police force area covers 803 square miles with approximately 150 miles of coastline in the south of Wales. Although there are some more affluent areas, South Wales has a high level of poverty. Around 1.3 million people mainly live in the urban centres which include the cities of Cardiff and Swansea as well as smaller towns. The resident population is increased by university students and the large numbers who visit, socialise in, commute into, or travel through the area each year. The transport infrastructure includes major rail stations, air and sea ports.
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 4,170 OAs in South Wales with an average size of 50 hectares which is smaller than the national average of 87 hectares. While the majority (62 percent) of OAs in South Wales are relatively small at under 10 hectares, a small proportion (eight percent) are extremely large in size (over 100 hectares) indicating the mixture of urban and rural localities. The smallest OAs are concentrated in Cardiff and Swansea with the largest spread across the 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. South Wales has a median house price, based on the OAs that have had a property transaction within the last 12 months, of £135,333 which is lower than the median of England and Wales (£230,358). South Wales has 26.4 percent of its OAs within the lowest 10 percent of house prices nationally, while 5.6 percent of OAs are within the top 10 percent of house prices nationally (and 1.2 percent of OAs are within the top 1 percent). This suggests that there are large areas of lower value housing and deprivation, with a smaller proportion of acute affluence and high house prices.
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 1.3 percent of the very high challenge areas nationally are in South Wales. The highest-challenge one percent of OAs in the force account for 7.4 percent of South Wales’s predicted incidents, these predicted demands are likely to occur in only 1.2 percent of the total area of the force.
Within South Wales:
- 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 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 anti-social behaviour is lower than 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 South Wales we calculated the average travel time and distance from the central point of the force area to the centre of each of the 4,170 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.
South Wales has 115 miles of motorways and trunk roads; the average travel distance of 20 miles (longest 45 miles and shortest 0.8 miles) and the average travel time of 37 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, variety and complexity of South Wales.
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 South Wales 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.