Gwent 2017Read more about Gwent
This is HMICFRS’ fourth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Gwent Police. PEEL is designed to give the public information about how their local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year. The assessment is updated throughout the year with our inspection findings and reports.
The extent to which the force is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime is requires improvement.
The extent to which the force is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
The extent to which the force is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
Wendy Williams, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
Read my assessment of Gwent Police below.
I am satisfied with most aspects of Gwent Police’s performance in keeping people safe and reducing crime, but the force needs to make improvements in some areas to provide a consistently good service.
The force is good at identifying people who are vulnerable, but it needs to improve its approach to protecting victims of domestic abuse, and to serious and organised crime.
The force has maintained a good understanding of demand, but it needs to do more to develop sustainable financial plans to achieve future savings.
Overall Gwent Police needs to improve to regain the level of service it was providing previously, but I am confident the force will be able to do this and perform better in future.
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Gwent Police requires improvement in keeping people safe and reducing crime. Its effectiveness has deteriorated since 2016 in the important area of protecting vulnerable people (people who are vulnerable through their age, disability, or because they have been subjected to repeated offences, or are at high risk of abuse, for example).
The force has a good awareness of vulnerability throughout the force area and has improved the way it identifies vulnerable people when they first contact the force. A structured risk-assessment process is in place to ensure that vulnerable people get the most appropriate response. The force is making good progress in its approach to vulnerable people with mental health conditions.
However, Gwent Police needs to improve its response to victims of domestic abuse. Officers are good at making sure immediate safeguarding is carried out for victims and members of their household, but the force has reduced its use of arrest and other legal powers to protect and continue to safeguard victims. The force refers fewer domestic abuse cases to multi-agency risk assessment conferences than almost any other force in England and Wales. In addition, officers are not consistently using body-worn video cameras to record evidence at domestic abuse incidents.
Gwent Police has improved the way it tackles serious and organised crime. The force has developed its understanding of the threats posed. It maps organised crime groups promptly and disrupts their activity. However, frontline officers have only a limited understanding of the expansion into Gwent of drug-dealing networks from surrounding areas.
The force has a good working relationship with the regional organised crime unit but needs to improve the exchange of intelligence with partner agencies (such as local authorities, or health and education services) so it can understand threats better. It also needs to improve how it prevents serious and organised crime. The force has no specific initiatives to make young people aware of the risks posed by organised crime.
Gwent Police has the necessary arrangements in place to fulfil its national policing responsibilities, and to respond to an attack requiring an armed response.
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Gwent Police is judged to be good in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our overall judgment this year is the same as last year. The force has maintained a good understanding of demand; its use of resources to manage demand is assessed to be good; but its planning for future demand is judged to require improvement.
Gwent Police demonstrates a good understanding of the demand for its services and makes good use of technology to achieve this. The force understands how demand may be affected and demonstrates a good commitment to managing and prioritising its response to that demand. However, it does not have in place a plan to recover non-emergency abandoned calls and needs to do more to ensure it has a clear understanding of potential future demand for its services. The force encourages innovation and makes good use of technology to improve its services.
The force has a good understanding of the skills and capabilities it needs in its workforce now and in the future; however, this could be improved further with a better understanding of wider or ‘softer’ skills. The force manages its finances effectively and has the flexibility to meet any unforeseen demands for its services; however, it needs to do more to develop sustainable financial plans to guide future savings.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Gwent Police is judged to be good at how legitimately it keeps people safe and reduces crime. For the areas of legitimacy we looked at this year, our overall judgment is the same as last year. The force is judged to be requiring improvement at treating all of the people it serves with fairness and respect but judged as good at ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully and treating its workforce with fairness and respect.
The force prioritises the ethical behaviour of the workforce and supervisors play an active role in ensuring that standards are maintained. To reinforce this, the force has put a programme in place to simulate incidents that test the principals of ethical decision making. Known as ‘ethical dilemmas’, front line staff talk through hypothetical scenarios with supervisors to discuss how best to ensure that the force’s reputation is not undermined.
Leaders in Gwent Police have a limited understanding of the importance of treating all the people they serve with fairness and respect. This is reflected in a lack of understanding of skills of Gwent Police’s workforce and shortcomings in arrangements for external scrutiny. Its monitoring of the use of coercive powers is
too limited in scope to identify and respond effectively to individual and organisational concerns. These include uncertainty regarding the legal grounds necessary to stop and search members of the public.
The force provides information to the public about how to make a complaint, and is good at keeping complainants updated on the progress of their complaints. The force has effective knowledge and processes in place to identify, respond to and investigate allegations of discrimination.
Force leaders provide a range of channels to seek feedback and challenge from its workforce. The force takes action in response to issues raised, and informs the workforce accordingly. The force has a well-established and effective health and wellbeing strategy that is supported by a range of practical measures to promote physical and psychological wellbeing, and to take preventative and early action to address wellbeing concerns. The force has provided training for supervisors and has a well-understood policy for providing wellbeing support. It has seen reductions in short and medium-term sickness as a result. The force is beginning to improve how it manages and develops the individual performance of its officers and staff, but the process does not yet have credibility among much of the workforce. The force has an established process for identifying high-potential candidates, based on line manager support, application forms and interviews, and is in the early stages of identifying high-potential members of the workforce.
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.